Patients now more than ever rely on telehealth to reach out to their practices for medical care. This need has developed a necessity for doctors and staff to make telemedicine work more than ever before. An important part of making telehealth work is making sure that it is properly implemented into your practice’s operating procedures.
It is important to understand the safety of patients in the time of a public health crisis will depend on rapid adoption of telehealth services. Telemedicine is a great method with which you can work together to ensure healthy patients during the pandemic and beyond. For those patients who are considered high-risk, telehealth can be helpful during flu season as well. Using these services can also lead to improved patient outcomes, especially after-hours or when serving rural communities.
The ease of use of telehealth platforms today helps both the doctors, staff, and patients to better communicate. This allows for easier further deployment as a primary method of communicating with patients. The tips below will help during this very difficult time for everyone in our country and world.
Telehealth as a Communication Technology
Being confident with video chat technology available for telehealth when face-to-face is not an option, or when it’s easier for the patient, starts with the medical staff in doctor’s offices and hospitals. Being able to quickly deploy or enhance a current setup during this time will help you see more patients, resulting in potentially stronger results in treating illnesses or chronic conditions.
Video chat allows for safe, effective screening of symptoms for illnesses without a visit to a physician office. Beyond coronavirus, practices can work on several different cases via telemedicine to ensure that patients are not subjected to those around who may be infected and therefore reduce the risk of spread.
Hardware and Software Requirements for Telemedicine Visits
When using telehealth services, you will need a supported web browser such as Google Chrome. In addition, you will need a webcam and a microphone. These are often built into laptops but may be needed if you are offering your telehealth visit via a desktop computer.
For even more efficiency and confidence, it is recommended to use a second monitor to be able to access other software in real time while you are with your patient. Having this second screen creates a more effective visit and allows the team to maximize time with patients.
Even more important than the technology your practice uses is that used by your patients. Ensure that they are using compatible technology so that their patient experience is as you would desire.
Make Sure Your Patients Know You Offer Video Chat
Did you know that many patients do not know that their primary care office offers telemedicine visits? There are a number of ways practices can communicate that they offer this great technology.
- Creating a banner or pop-up on your website
- Post on social media
- Send an e-mail to your patient database
- Send a text message to your patient database
- Place a sign on your office door
Electronic communication and signage will provide ample communication to patients for their adoption and acceptance of telehealth options.
Creating Appointments for Video Chat Visits
If integrated with your current platform, the creation of appointments is as simple as using your current scheduler. Given that you may extend your hours for telemedicine visits, ensure that your schedule is modified for these visits to be input and marked accordingly. While there will certainly be a rising number of “normal business hours” telehealth visits during this time, there is opportunity to serve your patients after hours. This technology allows the doctor to perform these video chats outside of the office.
The Evolution of Use Cases for Telehealth Platforms
While a one on one visit between the doctor and patient is certainly a primary use for telehealth video chat platforms, there are other areas where these are positively impactful. From reaching patients in rural areas to being available at hours more convenient for patient visits, telemedicine bridges many barriers that would otherwise be left uncovered.
Outside of patient interactions, telemedicine and video chat allows more efficient and effective collaboration between clinicians who are not in the same office or area. This provides opportunity for a stronger patient through a more comprehensive treatment plan.
Working Together During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Telehealth is one of many ways we are working together towards healthier patients during this public health emergency. We must all continue to work on communicating a positive message that encourages everyone to take care of themselves and everyone around them during this time. The team at eMDs is here for you, your staff, and your patients to work together.