Morale Improved for 86% of Medical Practices That Went Hybrid
Most medical practices using a hybrid or remote working model began doing so during the pandemic (83%)*, but have no plans to stop anytime soon. They’ve discovered a great thing that increases revenue, productivity, and employee morale, and 67% plan to allow employees to work remotely indefinitely.
For small, independent practices that want to learn how to make hybrid or remote work more permanent, we surveyed 150 healthcare providers using these models to find out how it’s affecting employees and to learn about the logistics of setting up a hybrid medical practice.*
Here’s what we found:
Among practices using hybrid or fully remote work models, 56% saw increased productivity, 39% saw increased revenue, and 61% were able to see an increased number of patients.
89% of practices say employees feel positively about working remotely some or all of the time, and 86% of practices that offer flexible work hours due to a hybrid or remote work environment say employee morale has improved.
51% of practices spent less than $5,000 setting up their hybrid or remote practice. The most common related purchases are telemedicine software (77%) and teleconferencing hardware (74%).
The benefits of hybrid medical practices
The logistics of arranging a hybrid work environment for a healthcare facility can be tricky. In fact, without the pandemic forcing so many offices to try this new model out, we may never have learned how valuable this working model can be.
But now that so many businesses have been remote or hybrid for so long, we have plenty of data to show the benefits of these business models.
On the surface, it may seem counterintuitive for healthcare organizations to allow employees to work remotely when you consider how important a physical exam is for most providers. However, telemedicine tools have developed to support remote medical employees, and the benefits of this approach are compelling.
Hybrid work improves finances through boosted productivity and more patients
According to our survey, employee productivity increased for more than half of practices after they implemented a hybrid or remote working model.
The extra output of employees in these situations enabled 61% of practices to increase their patient load, and only three percent saw a decrease in the number of patients they were able to treat after implementing a hybrid or remote working model.
Finally—and most importantly—transitioning to a hybrid or remote working model allowed 39% of medical practices to increase their revenue.
It’s also worth noting that revenue stayed the same for over half of practices. So while they did not see a financial gain, they also didn’t lose any revenue after switching to a remote work situation. And they were able to enjoy the other benefits of remote work, many of which notably impact employees.
Hybrid medical offices have happier employees
While nine percent of employees feel neutral about transitioning to a hybrid working environment, an astounding 89% feel positively about being able to work from home at least some of the time.
Among practices that are able to provide flexible work schedules for employees using hybrid models, 86% say it improved morale.
This is a huge consideration as healthcare orgs deal with record-high turnover rates  and struggle to retain qualified talent. By allowing employees some control over their own schedules—and some flexible hours within those schedules—employers can make major headway in improving the working experience of their staff and keeping them happy.
Practical considerations of setting up a hybrid medical office
For many practices, the transition to hybrid or remote work was incredibly fast due to the pandemic. A lot of providers were forced to make quick software purchases to deploy telemedicine as soon as possible, and that didn't allow the opportunity to shop around and find the best option.
Now that we know how beneficial long-term remote work is for medical practices and employees, it’s worth taking the time to assess your telemedicine setup and compare options to make sure you’re using the best possible system.
What tools should you buy?
A good place to start is by determining which auxiliary tools you should purchase to support your remote medical services.
A telemedicine platform was the top purchase for most practices when transitioning to remote work, but it was closely followed by HIPAA-compliant video conferencing hardware such as laptops, tablets, or phones.
The rest of the tools purchased ranked fairly close together, but it’s interesting to note that patient portals were a popular choice for practices as they transitioned to hybrid work. Being able to stay in regular communication with patients is even more important with remote medical services, so it makes sense that this software was a priority.
Other tools such as security software and modems or routers to provide faster internet access are valuable, but it’s likely plenty of practices already had adequate hardware before moving to remote work.
Finally, remote patient monitoring tools aren’t going to be useful for every specialist or general practitioner, so that explains the low ranking in our survey. While not every practice will find them useful, there are certain specialties—such as endocrinologists who prescribe medical wearable devices—that can’t function without them.
Who will work remotely?
There are, of course, some roles that are naturally more adaptable to fully remote work than others, but you may be surprised by the positions that can be enabled to work remotely some of the time.
Sixty-nine percent of surveyed practices allow their physicians or licensed providers to work remotely some or all of the time, and at least a third let nurses do the same.
We also asked survey participants to estimate the amount of time employees spend working in the office vs remotely in a given 40-hour work week. On average, employees spend 26 hours working in the office and 14 hours working remotely.
How much will you spend on setup?
Finally, we wanted to understand the cost of initial setups for hybrid medical situations, so we asked survey respondents how much they spent to get their remote offices off the ground.
While most practices spent over $3,000 for initial setup, it’s important to recognize the relationship between the size of practice and cost. For example, 50% of practices with five or fewer licensed providers on staff spent less than $3,000.
While this should be useful to estimate what you can expect to spend, it’s important to remember that every practice is unique, and there are plenty of telemedicine platforms designed to fit a variety of budgets.
To sum up: If your practice isn't already hybrid, it should be
Hybrid or remote work environments are incredibly valuable for medical practices in measurable ways, related to both the financial and employee aspects of a business:
Boosted employee morale
By leveraging the advantages of both in-person and remote work, hybrid medical practices can deliver high-quality care to their patients while also promoting the wellbeing of their employees.
The best way to start accessing these benefits for your own practice is to assess and invest in any software or hardware that you’ll need to support a remote workforce. Download our guide on how to optimize your medical tech stack to get started.
*Software Advice's 2023 Remote Medical Work Survey was conducted in January 2023 among 150 doctors and/or practice owners in the U.S. to learn more about the benefits of implementing a hybrid or remote working situation for their employees. Respondents were screened for their roles within the practice as well as their experience with a hybrid or remote work environment.