In part one of this post, we covered some important preparation before a telemedicine visit, as well as some dos and don’ts for your virtual visits with patients. In the second part of the post, we’ll cover some other considerations for clinicians who are relatively new to telemedicine or just started using it as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, laying the groundwork for successful visits in the future.
3: Address Privacy Concerns
One of the biggest concerns for both patients and providers is privacy. When you are meeting with a patient virtually, you won’t be able to control the patient’s location and setting, but you can make sure your clinic is set up properly. All the HIPAA requirements still apply to telemedicine, so make sure you’re not inadvertently violating them.
- Set up a place for telemedicine visits that is private and secure so you can control access before, during, and after a virtual visit.
- If there are others in the room that are not visible on camera, make sure you tell the patient who is there and why.
- Use a platform and software that is secure and encrypted to prevent hacking. CMS relaxed some of its rules around telemedicine software when COVID-19 hit to allow clinics to quickly get online with virtual visits, but some of these platforms (Zoom, FaceTime, Google Meet) are known to have serious security vulnerabilities. If you’ve been using them, consider switching to a more secure platform as quickly as possible.
4: Create Workflows
Your clinic workflows will need to be adjusted to accommodate virtual visits. It’s important to create a written workflow to ensure you don’t miss any steps and everyone is aware of his or her responsibilities and timelines for getting things done. Don’t assume all your normal clinic workflows can easily translate to telemedicine. Some can, but others will require significant changes to accommodate new technology and timelines.
One of the best things you can do before launching your telemedicine visits is to videotape yourself on a session (or a practice session) to see how you come across. Identify any tendencies or mannerisms that might be distracting or cause the patient to feel like you’re not paying close attention and correct those. If you’ve already started doing telemedicine and you haven’t taped yourself yet, do it on your next visit (make sure the patient is aware you are taping, or just set up a mock visit) and observe yourself on video.
You can also do a run-through of telemedicine visit workflow with staff in advance, so everyone is comfortable with the format and understands their assignments and responsibilities.
Find the Right Telemed Software
A final and perhaps the most critical, piece of the telemedicine puzzle is to find the right technology for you and your patients. AdvancedMD offers telemedicine software that is simple and intuitive and can easily integrate with your practice management software. Find out more by scheduling a demo today. Plus you can download our eBook to get more tips on how to implement technology in a post-COVID world.