In April 2020, we asked a question: would our new users still be employing our telemedicine platform after the pandemic ended? This was after our company, which had been around since 2014, had increased its user base by nearly 1000% over the span of just one month. So, hoping to discover whether we’d found lasting success or just a temporary boost, we decided to poll our new users, “Will you continue using doxy.me after the pandemic ends?” At the time, only 10% of healthcare providers responded they intended to stick with the service post-Covid-19.
However, when all of those users were still using doxy.me in October, we decided to ask them again; this time 90% of respondents claimed they would continue using telemedicine after the pandemic.
So, I wanted to know what happened. What did health care providers learn about telemedicine in those months that forced them to change their minds? In order to find out, I sat down with therapist and author of the book “The Hijacked Brain,” Nathalie Concepcion. With her help, I discovered the four biggest reasons telemedicine isn’t going anywhere in 2021.
Nathalie gave up her office when she transitioned to online, choosing to work from home and saving on rent costs. “When the pandemic hit, with everything that happened, keeping my office just wasn’t an option.” Taking your practice completely online is only becoming more possible for health care providers as advances in technology are made. It may not be possible for everybody to take their practice online, but one thing is clear to me; the cost of a telehealth platform (especially one with a free version like doxy.me) will always be more affordable than the rent.
Health and Safety
Nathalie believes she can protect the health of her patients by keeping her practice online. She learned her lesson from Covid, and plans to keep her patients safe from all contagious sicknesses going forward. “Me getting sick is one thing… To have any idea that the person in there now could leave something in my office that could make the next person sick… the domino effect is a gamble that I’m not willing to take.” Even with a possible end to the pandemic in sight, we’ve all been alerted to the dangers of asymptomatic carriers, and it’s no longer a risk that all health care providers need to take.
Nathalie spoke on the convenience of not having to drive to work while managing to keep her appointment numbers high. “My private office was only about a four minute drive from my home, but there’s still something really interesting about not having to get into a car… so now, when there was a storm, we didn’t need to cancel because nobody had to get on the road.” And, storms aside, there are other challenges to driving to the doctor’s office for an appointment. Some people need to travel long distances to see their providers, especially in rural areas—telemedicine overcomes this barrier for both patient and provider.
“Once you get that you can do what you did in person online, there’s a certain freedom that I don’t know that I’m ready to give up.” We hear that, Nathalie. How many people who have been working from home for months will be ready to return to the office? I know I won’t. However, for Nathalie, who intends to keep her practice 100% online, there’s more than just freedom behind her decision. “The fact that I can go spend a month with my grandson and continue working… It’s all I could ever ask for. That alone makes me want to keep my practice completely online.”
Talking with Nathalie was eye-opening for me. It’s easy to forget that we’re all humans, and as humans we want what’s best for us and those close to us. Nathalie made it clear that it’s people at the heart of her decision to keep her practice online. As everybody charges forward into 2021, perhaps it’s time to reflect on whether taking your practice online is the right choice for you.