how to determine the roi of your telemedicine efforts

lauren duren, client accounting services & healthcare director


The health care system has experienced unprecedented stress due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Health experts have had to adapt to newer practices, such as telemedicine, to continue delivering safe healthcare services during this time.

With the help of this technology, health experts can evaluate, diagnose, and treat their patients at a distance. Though telemedicine has been around for a while, it has evolved more rapidly during the COVID-19 period than ever before.

However, like any other medical strategy, telemedicine requires regular analysis to know its effectiveness. Here is a guide to help you determine the return on investment (ROI) of your telemedicine efforts.


Importance of Successful ROI Evaluation in Telemedicine

Measuring ROI is essential, whether from direct savings, realized revenue, or long-term revenue generation. Before discussing the benefits, it is important to first understand the meaning of telemedicine.

Telemedicine (used interchangeably with telehealth) uses digital communication tools, such as mobile phones and computers to access health services remotely. In short, telehealth care allows doctors to do the following:

  • Talk to patients live online (video and chat)
  • Monitor patient health virtually
  • Make virtual appointments
  • Prescribe medication

When examining the effectiveness of your telehealth services, it’s important to understand its use during the pre-encounter, encounter, and post-encounter phase with every patient. Understanding each phase will give you a clearer picture of the capabilities needed to perform the various activities involved with telehealth services across the patient care continuum.

Evaluating your processes offers numerous benefits, many leading to business growth when evaluated correctly. For example, evaluating ROI can help you know when to hire a new employee, when to market your business, when to add new technologies to your health facility, etc.


Methods to Increase Your ROI for Telemedicine

Here are several methods to help you increase the ROI of your telehealth program.

1. Leverage Online Patient Intake

To implement a successful telehealth program, investing in technology to improve the functionality of your online services is critical. For instance, investing up front to ensure your app or website allows symptom checking, pre-registration, patient financing, and visit scheduling are vital functions that will be important when it comes to bringing in more patients online.

To increase your virtual patients’ intake, the online process should make it easier to register and schedule appointments. It’s best to make these processes as simple as possible, which is achievable with an up-front technology investment.

You can then monitor and evaluate the adoption rate of patients opting for virtual care and compare that to the costs you incur from utilizing the digital platform. This will help you determine if your telehealth offering is worth the investment.

2. Use Telehealth to Recoup Post-Surgical Care

If your group performs surgeries, you can also follow up with patients online. In fact, this often increases a patient’s adherence to the surgery’s after-care plan when you introduce the virtual feature. Although the after-care visits may not be eligible for additional payments, they can increase the exposure of your website (telehealth program) and increase the volume of your telehealth visits.

3. Automate Care Plans to Reduce Expenses, Improve Quality

You can significantly reduce the cost of operations and improve the quality of your services by automating the care plans. You can utilize automation for both pre-and post-care services. For example, automatically schedule follow-up visits or send automated emails with patient care information before or after a virtual session. Automation can reduce your overall costs and boost your ROI in the long run.

4. Reduce Staffing Costs

How much do you spend on recruiting and retaining your staff? You can potentially lower these costs by implementing telehealth in your practice, especially for health experts in remote or rural areas who use expensive staffing resources and staffing agency lines or when specialty services are needed but difficult to recruit full-time providers.

You can embrace the idea of virtual care to recruit and retain providers by deploying telemedicine.  By using monitors/tablets or video carts, you can track the progress of your patients, making it possible for you to provide the services when an in-person basis is not possible.


How to Measure Telehealth ROI

Maybe you have added a telehealth program in your practice, and patients seem to be embracing it. But, are you doing enough to get the maximum return? Here’s how you can evaluate and measure your ROI:

1. Establish goals

What do you want to achieve over a certain period? Set a dollar or percentage threshold, or KPI/metric you want to achieve.

2. Measure “hard” costs and “soft” costs

Hard costs include the cost of supplies, utilities, and medical waste. Soft costs include the cost of employee labor (i.e., salaries, and the cost of equipment wear and tear). You should always keep these expenses in mind and consider when determining the total cost of initial investment.

3. Review your benefits

They can include a high patient retention rate, high patient volume, cost savings, increased revenue, employee retention, and so on.

4. Calculate

Subtract the expenses from the benefits to see your ROI and know whether you met your goals.


Telehealth Is Here to Stay

Telehealth has many benefits to both patients and health care providers. Medical groups can utilize telehealth to increase patient intake and satisfaction and reduce costs and labor. Contact us if you have any questions or would like to learn more about our healthcare accounting services.





Lauren Duren is a Client Accounting Services & Healthcare Director at Lutz. She began her career in 2012. She provides consulting and outsourced accounting services to corporations, partnerships, and independent medical and dental practices.

  • Healthcare Accounting Consulting
  • Outsourced Accounting
  • Tax
  • Financial Reporting, Budgeting & Forecasting
  • Provider Compensation Plans
  • Benchmarking and Statistical Analysis
  • Management Analysis
  • Strategic Planning
  • Independent Medical and Dental Practices
  • Healthcare Industry
  • QuickBooks
  • Payroll Compliance
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Member
  • Nebraska Society of Certified Public Accountants, Member
  • National Medical Group Management Association, Member
  • Nebraska Medical Group Management Association, Member
  • Certified Public Accountant
  • MBA, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE
  • BSBA in Accounting, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE
  • Lutz Gives Back, Volunteer


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