Telehealth services saw an explosion of growth over the past year amid the pandemic. It is important to remember though, that telehealth is still relatively new and there is much to do to reach full potential. Over the past year, telemedicine has become an indispensable tool for healthcare and will likely continue to grow in the future. There are a few steps every healthcare provider can take to ensure their telehealth services are being used to the fullest potential. Providers would like to improve the care they deliver through telehealth, and patients want to ensure they receive the complete and quality services they are seeking.
One of the biggest steps that should be taken to improve telehealth services includes the mechanisms used to gather information from the patient before the actual encounter with the clinician. If your telehealth services are beginning with a video with the patient, then you are skipping the most important aspects and opportunities behind telemedicine. One of the primary reasons for healthcare providers to engage in telehealth services is to improve their services, providing quality services at the lowest cost and reach as many patients as possible.
To improve workflow, data should be collected from the patient prior to their encounter with their clinician. Telehealth applications that incorporate workflow solutions and artificial intelligence that can interpret patient responses to questions ensures that a lot of the groundwork has been completed prior to the encounter. This ensures that the clinician joins the engagement much more informed and prepared, making the clinical interaction more efficient and focused. It is essential that healthcare companies explore these abundant emerging solutions in depth, as some features may not fit their needs, such as inability to interface with the EMR.
While many services are provided through these recommended telehealth solutions, there will always remain the human interaction component, the most important component to patients. Most patients will never trust just plugging their symptoms into a computer and receiving a diagnosis and treatment without ever speaking to a doctor and voicing their concerns. They trust their doctors, not their computers.
Another telehealth opportunity has become apparent during the pandemic. Hospital and nursing home patients are experiencing something new, isolation from family and friends. Providers are also experiencing challenges in reaching all the patients that need their services. One solution is designing these hospital and nursing home rooms to provide telehealth services, with all the infrastructure, cameras, speakers, and monitors needed for practitioners to provide patient care. This would reduce the need for patient transportation and allow doctors to see more patients. Patients could also approve family members and caregivers to link into the consultations, ensuring all parties involved in the patient’s care are able to communicate and stay informed. An added benefit would be access for family and friends to virtually visit those patients in quarantine.
Providers should also educate their patients to come to telehealth appointments prepared, just as they would in-person appointments. Communicate the following advice to your patients. Write down questions and concerns so nothing is forgotten. Create symptom tracking logs leading up to appointments. Prior to the visit ensure that your technology is set-up, software downloaded, and audio and video tested. Complete online questionnaires ahead of time so the doctor can be prepared. Choose a quiet, well-lit location with no distractions. Log-on early to be prepared as soon as the doctor is available. Have a list of medications or pill bottles ready for easy referral. Take notes during the encounter so you are sure to absorb everything covered. Bringing along a family member or caregiver to the visit can also be helpful in many ways, including holding the camera for hard to view areas of the body. There is also a need to educate patients on when a telehealth appointment may not be appropriate, and an in-person appointment may be needed.
Improving patient experience is one of the major drives in healthcare services. Telehealth services offer many opportunities for improving patient experience. Using these tips to improve your telehealth services will ultimately improve patient experience. Provide quality healthcare, reach more patients, and lower your costs by enhancing your telehealth services. The healthcare solutions experts at Genesis Medical Management provide innovative, personalized healthcare solutions.
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