Mobile Health In Phoenix
Many people think mobile health and telehealth is just about convenience. We’ve found that it means a lot more than that to our patients. Perhaps the most important ingredient in the doctor and patient relationship is trust. When I take time to have a virtual visit with a patient, they know that my goal is to help them be well and not just collect another copay. Also, because I make myself available for these kinds of visits, my patients are not forced to go to an urgent care or call a telehealth service and deal with a doctor that they don’t know. This could mean the difference in whether or not someone follows through with important health recommendations.
Why Not Do Telehealth?
Before I started my current practice, virtual visits and mobile health visits were not just hard but impossible to make available to everyone in the system that I was working in. Most doctors have no ability to make these things available because insurance-based medicine does not provide enough compensation to make it possible. Before I got into practice, I thought doctors just needed to forego some of their high income to make themselves more available to patients. The reality is that spending a little extra time with one or two patients in a day might decrease your income by a third because most of your day is spent just trying to cover the overhead of an insurance-based medical practice.
How do you make it work?
I get lots of questions about how we can make these services affordable to the average person. The simple answer is that you have to forget about dealing with insurance companies. Once you cut out the middleman in primary care, you find that it is not too expensive for the average person. The next big discovery for us was that if we made it a monthly membership, our incentive was to take care of the patient however they needed to be taken care of without worrying about how to get enough copays.
When Does it Make Sense?
Every case is different. If someone has a question about the medication I already gave them, there shouldn’t be any reason to bring them back in just to ask that question. Unfortunately, in the insurance-based world, the doctor’s office relies on the copays for office visits. If they spent half their time answering questions by email or phone, they would literally go out of business, all of them. The same would apply to home visits. I do home visits on occasions when a person does not leave the home easily and when I know the patient well.
If you are already a patient, don’t be afraid to ask if something can be handled over the phone or otherwise. We will help identify when it’s more important to be seen in the office.