Specialty Virtual Care Networks: Why You Should Join

Virtual care networks for primary and urgent care telemedicine visits are now commonplace. The top three networks have built out their panels of physicians and report having over 10,000 physicians providing care on their platforms. As you can imagine, as many practices shuttered their doors at the height of the pandemic, physicians flocked to these networks and to subscription-based SaaS (software-as-a service) platforms that don’t require a big up-front investment in technology and resources to implement virtual visits into their own practices.  What about networks for specialists? Such as cardiologists, nephrologists and pulmonologists who manage patients with chronic conditions such congestive heart failure, kidney disease, diabetes, COPD, etc.? 

As the healthcare landscape changes, as it has in the last year or so, virtual specialty care networks are emerging.  

Here are 5 ways joining a virtual care network can benefit patients and you. 

  1. Access to Much Needed Specialty Care: These networks can be used to reach patients in rural areas who otherwise wouldn’t be able to receive this much needed care. Or they would have to travel long distances with extended wait times to schedule an appointment with a specialist. In addition, combining virtual visits with remote patient monitoring (RPM) can improve the patient’s overall quality of health.
  1. Income & Overhead Expense: Providing virtual consultations with the right virtual care network will allow you to increase your income in a predictable way without adding any additional expenses. This is true whether you perform these services within the construct of your current practice or professional corporation or if you do so as an independent contractor.  
  1. Technology & MedicoLegal Ramifications: Many health systems have virtual care networks that may or may not include specialty care offerings, but you can widen the scope of your clinical activities by aligning with a virtual care network. As mentioned earlier, the technology is in place at no cost to you and many platforms have been designed with your specialty in mind. From a medico-legal perspective, many of these enterprises have created state-specific professional corporations much the same as is utilized in your current practice with all of the safeguards in place to protect you. Read our blog “Friendly PC Models for Telehealth Companies” for more information.
  1. Ability to Conduct Patient Visits in an Efficient Manner: It’s no secret that physicians continually strive to see patients in as an efficient manner as possible. This can sometimes be a challenge in many brick and mortar practices due to interruptions, problems with EMR systems, less than optimal clinical workflows, etc. These virtual care networks are by nature technology-driven, so the work flows and efficiencies are at the forefront and not an afterthought.    
  1.   Scheduling & Maximizing Your Time: Virtual visits are either synchronous or asynchronous. Asynchronous visits or store and forward can be performed at the physician’s convenience with an expectation of a 24-hour turn around. Synchronous or live visits (either phone or video) can be on an on-demand or a scheduled basis. Synchronous, tele-specialty consultations are typically scheduled, whereby you provide a window of your daytime availability and you are scheduled for patient visits much the same as in a brick and mortar practice.  While many of these patient visits are on an outpatient basis or direct to consumer(patient) there are also opportunities available for conducting visits with inpatients who are hospitalized with the local physician requesting a specialty consult. These are conducted on both an urgent and non-urgent basis with the majority being in the latter category. These can be performed on an on-demand basis with a response time requirement of one (1), eight (8), or the next day. 

To learn more about joining a specialty virtual care network and other opportunities in your specialty, contact Med-Link for a confidential career strategy session.