In the first part of this blog post we talked about all the areas where telehealth care is expanding, and the first steps to launch a telehealth platform in your own practice. In this part of the blog post we’re going to cover how you can optimize your telehealth so it provides the access and convenience your patients want, and the streamlined operations you and your staff need.
Integrate Your Telehealth Platform
If you have an EHR, online scheduling, a patient portal, or other things you are already using, one of the easiest ways to optimize your telehealth system is to make sure it’s integrated with these other technologies. This has several benefits, including:
- Ease of use for patients, who are already using the other systems (like your patient portal) and can get telehealth care in the same place
- Full integration with your electronic health record so there’s no need to build a brand new API to connect two systems
- Ease of use and workflow consistency for your staff who are also familiar with existing technology, and don’t have to learn another program, login to another system, or jump back and forth between systems while they’re trying to provide exceptional care
- Integration with billing to easily bill payers once the visit is complete
Create Clear & Concise Patient Instructions
Don’t assume that your patients know how to use your platform or have used telehealth before. Create simple, clear instructions for patients to follow for:
- Logging into the platform the first time
- Navigating to the correct place for the virtual visit
- Finding a place to conduct the visit that adequately protects their privacy
- Addressing any technical needs that are required for a visit, such as the need for high-speed internet, and a device with a front-facing camera
Create Consistent Workflows
One of the hardest things for many clinics when they first implement telehealth is that there are no standardized workflows, so there is the potential for things to fall through the cracks or for someone to miss an important part of patient care. This is bad for your practice, but also potentially dangerous for your patients and clients.
Customize workflows according to the type of care or type of appointment. Keep these virtual workflows as close to your in-office workflows as possible to help staff learn it quickly. For example, if your MAs room patients, reconcile medication lists, and gather vitals, assign the task of a pre-visit evaluation to the MAs to contact the patient a couple days before the visit and get this information. That’s much easier than asking a provider to do these things, especially if he or she has never used that part of the EHR before and may struggle to find the tools within the platform.
Ask for Patient Feedback
One of the best ways to optimize your telehealth platform over time is to ask your patients about their experience. Gathering patient feedback can help you identify things that are clunky or difficult on the patient’s end, as well as what features patients would like to have access to in the future.
When you’re ready to start offering patients better access to care through telehealth, call us to talk about the products available from AdvancedMD.