COVID-19 Practice Pulse

 

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Real insights from real U.S. physician practices. We keep a finger on the pulse to keep you informed and help you plan your next move – check back often for the latest insights.

In this edition of Practice Pulse, we surveyed physicians to find out how they are preparing for patient care after the pandemic. As day-to-day activities normalize and the public emerges from sheltering-in-place, what will practices do to ensure patient and staff safety and what tools will they implement to operate in the new post-COVID “normal?”

Describe your use of telehealth services prior, during, and after COVID-19

We asked physicians how often they used telehealth services before and during the pandemic – and to predict their usage after the crisis is over – to understand how the outbreak has driven telehealth adoption and if that adoption will stick.

Very few physicians reported frequent or occasional telehealth use prior to COVID-19, and as expected, usage rose exponentially during the outbreak. But will those who adopted telehealth services during COVID-19 continue to use them in a post-pandemic world? Survey says, mostly yes.

63% of practices intend to use telehealth either frequently, somewhat frequently, or occasionally, after the pandemic.

Telehealth Adoption At A Glance

BEFORE COVID-19

11%

of practices reported frequent to occasional telehealth use.
Source: COVID-19 Outlook Survey

DURING COVID-19

93%

of practices reported frequent to occasional telehealth use.
Source: COVID-19 Outlook Survey

AFTER COVID-19

63%

of practices predict frequent to occasional Telehealth use in the future.
Source: COVID-19 Outlook Survey

Physician Perspective

“Our practice has gone 100% virtual via telehealth and its been especially helpful during this pandemic.”

Dr. Owens, Psychiatrist
Psychiatry of Atlanta
Atlanta, GA
22 years in practice

“Telehealth has been convenient for elderly patients with the assistance of an aide at home to help with neurological exams.”

Dr. Babkes, Neurologist
Neuro Care Center
Ellicott City, MD
39 years in practice

“Having Telehealth integrated with my EHR has been working well for me. My patients love it.”

Dr Smitha Manoj, Internist
Caring Doctors Medical Center
Metuchen, NJ
19 years in practice

When do you foresee your practice’s physical location re-opening?

In mid May, we asked physicians when they expect to re-open their offices. 43% never closed their physical practice, and 52% plan to re-open within the next six months. No practices in our survey reported permanent closure due to COVID-19; however, one practice did say that it will not re-open its physical location because it has converted to telehealth service only.

Open for business (never closed)

43%

Opening within 1 month

30%

Opening within 3 months

17%

Opening within 6 months

5%

Opening within 1 year

2%

Converted to telehealth only

1%

Source: COVID-19 Outlook Survey
*One respondent may be in danger of permanent closure

COVID-19 Outlook Survey Insights

We surveyed dozens of MTBC + CareCloud customers across the country to understand how they’re responding to the COVID-19 crisis.[3]

Practice Role

  • Physician
  • Practice/Office Mgr
  • Administrative
  • Executive
  • Other

Practice Size

  • 1-3 Physicians
  • 4-10 Physicians
  • 11-24 Physicians
  • 25-75 Physicians
  • 75+ Physicians

What measures have you taken (or are you planning on taking) in response to COVID-19?

Converted to full/partial Telemedicine based practice

61%

Called patients to reschedule appointments to a later date

53%

Restricted office to a limited # of patients at a time

45%

COVID-19 screening during intake

40%

COVID-19 screening prior to setting appointment

40%

Reduced # of appointments in a day

40%

Restricted office to a limited # of patients at a time

45%

Reduced # of appointments in a day

40%

What changes do you foresee implementing in your post-quarantine operations?

We asked physicians to identify which measures they intend to implement as part of their post-quarantine operations.

Over 60% of responding physicians identified “increased telehealth,” “added safety measures for staff,” and “increased facility sanitation,” as must-have implementations. More than 20% of practices will implement measures to reduce contact and limit waiting room congestion, including “contactless patient intake,” “staggered scheduling,” “limited in-person office visits,” and “removal of high-touch items.”

Insights:

21% will implement contactless patient intake solutions
17% will implement additional sources of revenue
5% will not be implementing any changes

Added safety measures for staff

63%

Increased facility sanitation

63%

Increased telehealth availability

62%

Limit number of in-person visits at a time/in a day

57%

Making personal hygiene and sanitation products available throughout the practice

47%

Staggered scheduling

43%

Removal of high-touch items in waiting rooms

38%

Mass communication tools for patients (email, SMS)

27%

What has been your practice’s most significant takeaway from the COVID-19 crisis?

We allowed respondents to tell us, in their own words, what they learned from COVID-19. Here is a sampling of what they had to say:

Summary

Considering that none of our surveyed practices had to close permanently and that over half of participating physicians will re-open within six months, the resilience and adaptability of these practices should be celebrated. As lockdowns begin to ease and patients make their way back into physician offices, we expect to see a continued reliance on telehealth services. In fact, out of those surveyed, 63% plan to use telehealth post-quarantine, and 61% agree that the availability of telehealth is a must-have service for their patients.

Telehealth services and contactless intake solutions, as well as thoughtful scheduling and staffing, will play significant roles in the months to come. With more than half of surveyed practices planning to re-open within the next six months, physicians will be seeking the resources and equipment necessary to ensure operational efficiency and safe patient care.

Download the Full COVID-19 Outlook Survey Report

We surveyed dozens of practice leaders and physicians to understand the challenges medical practices are facing.

Download Report Now

MTBC + CareCloud COVID-19 Advisory Team


Shruti Patel
President, Telehealth


Daniel Masvidal
VP Client Success


Mike Cuesta
Chief Marketing Officer

We’re Here to Help

MTBC + CareCloud continue to deploy efforts and resources to assist medical practices as they adapt to the rapidly changing healthcare industry. We’re focused on supporting practices through a variety of insights, solutions & resources.

[1] This scheduling data represent appointment details from over 1,000 CareCloud customers and includes users leveraging third-party applications to support telehealth.

[2] Our data reflects a spike in cancellations between March 1 and April 27, with a subsequent reduction in cancellations and an estimated 20% – 30% reduction in in-person appointments.

[3] Data from the CareCloud Practice Impact Survey, which collected data from over 230 practice leaders and physicians during the week of March 23, 2020.