In addition, video visits are usually restricted to follow-up or acute conditions that tend to have lower visit times; nevertheless, there are several other factors to explain why this time reduction may be occurring. Due to the convenience of video visits, patients will miss fewer appointments and are more likely to show up for their visits on time. Missed visits cause lost income and productivity for physicians and the practice, and late arrivals may cause physicians to run behind, thus delaying other patient visits.
The average time a physician spends with a patient in America is 17.4 minutes. While many physicians feel pressure to increasingly reduce visit times, they are also challenged to balance patient satisfaction and quality of care with a sense of urgency to move patients through the process faster. Telemedicine is helping physicians with this challenge, to become more time efficient without sacrificing quality of care or patient satisfaction.
On average, telemedicine physicians are seeing a reduction on visit times by about 20%, with the average visit time in one study being as low as 12 minutes. While this may not seem like a significant improvement, upon further exploration, the implications are far more reaching. Let’s assume under the current model an efficient physician can process 28 patients a day, which represents four patients an hour for seven hours.
Another reason physicians see time savings is the focus on information exchange that occurs during video visits. Telemedicine visits tend to be much more focused than in-person visits, as the spectrum of care physicians can provide is limited to what they can only do remotely. Telemedicine visits are often focused around screening or maintenance of the patient, allowing the physician to focus on next steps rather than troubleshooting solutions during a visit.