The COVID-19 pandemic has caused explosive growth in the adoption of Telehealth technology across the world. Telehealth claim lines increased nearly 3,000% between September 2019 and September 2020, as medical practices and hospitals in COVID-19 hotspots were forced to shut clinic doors and address care continuity through remote operations.
The demand for Telehealth is expected to continue in 2021, and grow exponentially as more patients get comfortable with virtual care encounters. Most physician practices today face challenges due to regulations, declining reimbursement and increasing patient needs. Ensuring that the office is running at peak efficiency, while still providing the best in patient care, is critical for success.
Although most practices have considered Telehealth and many attempted to modernize through the adoption of EHR and practice management systems, there are still far too many providers out there that continue to struggle with old processes, procedures and technology. This article goes over how to ensure the successful implementation of Telehealth and get the most out of digital health technology in the market today.
Here are some best practices for ensuring Telehealth implementation is creating a positive experience at your practice.
Get the Basics Right
When implementing a Telehealth solution, it is imperative to operate with a clearly defined eligibility criteria. Steps need to be taken to ensure all departments are onboard and on the same page. It helps to provide training documentation and checklists that can be easily followed when talking about Telehealth or attending to patients using Telehealth. In order to understand the outcomes and challenges that spring up, it is beneficial to closely observe the reaction and consumption of Telehealth solutions by clinicians and patients in the first 100 days. Which is why it is important to choose the right implementation partner who can be agile and accommodate customizations and integrations as per your infrastructure and specific needs.
Quality of Experience
The success or failure of a Telehealth solution is heavily dependent on ease of use for Physicians and patients’ willingness to use it. Telehealth solutions that are able to closely mimic in-person visits typically have higher adoption rates and better quality of service ratings. Patients should be able to book appointments or meet a physician with very few clicks. A cloud solution that is capable of anywhere-anytime-any device communication can be invaluable for healthcare providers.
For Telehealth solutions to provide a seamless experience for patients and subsequently providers, it is crucial to be able to easily schedule appointments and update care information provided during their visit. Integration with EHR software enables providers to spend more time on patient care instead of having to switch between multiple solutions and processes all the time to keep details up to date, which is tedious and creates more potential for human errors.
Something that’s often overlooked in all this talk of technology, is the importance of training providers and other care staff on Telehealth etiquette. It is a good practice for providers to review the patient’s chart in advance. Doing so will minimize the need to have to look up information during the encounter, which can break the perceived connection and continuity. Providers should be instructed to minimize background noise and turn off other applications and notifications on their phone and computer when catering to patients virtually. It is important to dress professionally and give patients undivided attention in order to ensure they feel like are receiving the same level of care digitally, which they otherwise would in-person.
When promoting the usage of Telehealth, along with communicating the benefits like accessibility and cost effectiveness, providers need to stress that they are committed to it. Patients need to be shown that there will be no compromise in their care via Telehealth. All care providers in the hospital must understand and be able to advocate its value where it is appropriate.
Initiate Virtual Visits After In-Patient Discharge
A rather easy way to improve adoption of Telehealth is by scheduling a Telehealth visit after patients are discharged from in-person care. This practice typically will have the least resistance from patients and also ensure that the patients are able to transition safely back home after being discharged. It has the dual benefit of increasing patient satisfaction while decreasing re-admissions.
Let Workflows Do the Heavy Lifting
Ensure your implementation is designed to be scalable and sustainable. The automation should reduce as much manual work as possible, allowing doctors to concentrate on patients. It is crucial to have strong integration capability with your existing software, including EHR integration, for establishing efficient automated workflows. Doctors, nurses and other clinicians are busy throughout the day, and for them to fit Telehealth appointments into their traditional workflow, should not mean loss of productivity or convenience. CIOs must consider easy to use, train and highly intuitive and customizable solutions for delivering the best patient care.
A good Telehealth solution is able to ensure that the patients receive all the technical support, appointment pre-screening and reminder communications without a team member needing to consciously execute each and every message.
Adding Intuitive Telehealth Implementation to Your Practice
Despite the tremendous benefits Telehealth has to offer, implementing it can also be daunting considering the scale, sustainability and continuous compliance. While it is doable with the right amount of resources invested, having the right Telehealth partner who able to able to do the heavy lifting, simplifies the process significantly.
Kanini Telehealth is a cross-platform, HIPAA & COPPA compliant solution that supports personal clinics, multi-specialty hospitals, and offsite doctors consultations. Explore providing smart care delivery with Kanini.
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