There were an average of 344 patients a day in hospitals across England with flu in December 2022 – more than 10 times the number at the beginning of December 2021.
And the United Kingdom isn’t alone. In Canada, clinicians expect at least a 20% increase in adult admissions compared to the typical flu season. And in San Diego, early flu season has forced local emergency departments to erect tents outside their normal emergency department buildings to handle an increase in respiratory illness.
Luckily, virtual appointment solutions can help to reduce wait times and improve patient experiences at your healthcare facility. Combined with queue management systems, this can efficiently control and ensure a smooth patient flow throughout your hospital, no matter what flu season throws at you.
How does a virtual consultation work?
A virtual consultation consists of a remote video conversation between a patient and a healthcare practitioner. It allows patients to receive care without having to go to their doctor's office and provides access to healthcare professionals from all over the world from the comfort of their own home.
The when, where, and how of care delivery are all that change with virtual appointments – not the level of expertise of the practitioner or the quality of care.
The role of virtual consultations
Virtual consultations – also known as telemedicine – can help reduce the pressure on hospitals during flu season by giving patients remote access to expert medical advice.
For instance, our Assistant Anywhere system is designed to add virtual consultations to your existing patient flow – providing both convenience and a better patient experience for those seeking relief from their flu-related illnesses.
Plus, telemedicine services like ours empower hospitals to manage patient flows more efficiently. Giving patients the option to connect with doctors online will reduce overcrowding in waiting rooms, improving the experience for those who are there for a physical appointment.
In short, integrating virtual consultations into your patient flow can help increase patient satisfaction and reduce overcrowding in hospital waiting rooms – all while providing better patient experiences during peak times like flu season.
5 advantages virtual consultations can bring to your hospital this flu season
Here’s how online appointments can help you navigate this flu season without compromising on the patient experience:
Reduce wait times
Virtual consultations are a great way to reduce patient wait times, decrease overcrowding, and give people faster access to healthcare. It allows doctors to diagnose and treat common illnesses like the flu in virtual consultations, providing patients with fast relief from their symptoms.
With virtual consultations, patients can contact a doctor quickly and remotely without having to leave their homes or wait for an appointment at a hospital or clinic. This makes it easier than ever for them to receive treatment when they need it most.
Meanwhile, queue management systems provide patients who choose to attend physical appointments with helpful information such as estimated wait times, queue lengths, and more – empowering them with real-time data that allows them to make informed decisions about their healthcare needs.
Control infectious illnesses
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, flu, and other infectious diseases, doctors can use telehealth appointments to prescreen patients for possible infectious diseases. It also saves sick people from having to come into the office when they barely have the energy to get off the couch.
In addition to patient screening, virtual consultations provide a way to coordinate patient flow throughout your facility, which is especially important during peak times like flu season. With virtual appointment solutions, you can reduce patient wait times and improve patient experiences by giving them access to their healthcare provider quickly and conveniently.
smart software that counts with a powerful API which makes it easy to plug powerful appointment scheduling systems straight into existing mobile apps, web pages, and internal applications.
Better assessmentsVirtual consultations give specialty practitioners an advantage because they can assess and treat patients in their home environment, providing a more accurate diagnosis. For example, allergists may be able to identify clues in the patient’s surroundings that cause allergies.
Neurologists and physical and occupational therapists can also observe patients from afar and assess their ability to navigate around the house and care for themselves without being physically present.
Additionally, telehealth appointments allow mental health professionals to provide assessments and counseling remotely. All of this makes virtual consultations an invaluable tool for assessing patient needs during flu season.
Patient comfort and convenience
Virtual consultations are ideal for patient care during flu season because it provides comfort and convenience. Patients can see their doctor from wherever they’re most comfortable – and won’t have to worry about exposure to germs in a crowded waiting room. Plus, virtual patient visits are often more convenient than in-person appointments since they can fit into any schedule.
Keep faraway family in the loop
Finally, virtual consultations can improve patient care by allowing family members to join virtual patient visits.
When consulting with your doctor, it’s always good to have a family member who can help you provide information, ask questions, and take note of your doctor’s answers. If that person lives out of town, or even across the country, virtual consultations can loop your family member in on the virtual visit if you authorize it. This way, no one has to miss out on important medical decisions during flu season – or any other time of year for that matter.
The final word
Integrating virtual patient solutions into your hospital operations can help improve patient flow and provide better patient experiences by streamlining the patient journey from start to finish. By reducing overcrowding, improving patient satisfaction, and giving people faster access to care with virtual consultations, you can make a real difference for your patients this flu season.
At ACF, we strive to provide you with all the tools you need to improve patient experiences during peak times like flu season. Our comprehensive suite of patient flow solutions can help streamline your operations and reduce operating costs while improving patient satisfaction.
Book a demo with our team today to see how our solutions can help you better navigate this flu season.