Part two of a two-part series that covers the steps to take now and in the near future to secure a thriving practice.
With the arrival of the novel coronavirus, telehealth technology has become a necessity. But this necessity has kickstarted a massive trend to come: Long after the national health emergency ends, virtual care will become a preferred mode of care to patients and their doctors.
Before deciding on the right telehealth technology, private practices have many considerations to take into account — to survive as a business in the near term, and thrive in the future.
The in-office, personal relationship between healthcare providers and patients has always been at the center of care. That human interaction will never go away, nor should it. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has forced practices to adjust that connection, using telehealth to maintain both the continuity of care and the trusted doctor-patient relationship. Telehealth is a rapid response to this modern crisis, but it will have lasting impact, with a variety of healthcare benefits.
Here are some basics that must be included in a telehealth platform for immediate success during the national emergency and growth on the long road ahead.
Why this is important: Patients have a better experience if they don’t have to wade through in-office paperwork forms, and instead can submit their information online, before their visit. This also streamlines the intake process for your office staff; they can avoid re-entering information multiple times and pertinent details are automatically shared with you.
Why this is important: It’s critical to have HD video quality — optimized for picture quality, not frame rate — to accurately diagnose your patients, have clear access to non-verbal cues, and benefit from the face-to-face interaction that fosters communication and trust.
Once you have a telehealth solution in place to serve the needs of your patients and practice, now and after the COVID-19 crisis, the most important next step is to let current and prospective patients know you offer telehealth services with the following:
After the national emergency is lifted, there will be some adjustments to the legal, regulatory, and insurance requirements — but a notable portion of previously in-person visits will likely be replaced by telehealth care.
Practices that integrate telehealth into their business are best positioned for survival now and success later, even while recognizing that technology won’t ever completely replace the need for in-office care. The human connection, and the trust you’ve built with patients, will remain.
All signals point to a continued evolution of technology, regulation, and insurance requirements to make telehealth a greater presence in daily healthcare delivery.
“With hospitals and clinics investing time, resources and money into building out their telemedicine services, they’ll likely want to continue to capitalize on them after the pandemic lapses. Patients who enjoy using telemedicine might also be confused when the option is taken away.” – Modern Healthcare, April 3, 2020
“Just as Amazon redefined the shopping experience and Uber changed our thinking about hailing a ride, telehealth will alter and enhance care delivery. Once patients feel the benefits of convenience and comfort, many will choose it every time they can.” – Luke Kervin, Founder & Co-CEO, PatientPop
“The new measures facilitate radical changes in the way medicine is delivered… this is an unprecedented move that should have happened years ago… Now, the way healthcare is delivered will change significantly; and with it, the business of medicine.” – Tim Peck, emergency physician, director of health, IDEO
Our nation’s IT infrastructure, consumer wearables, and other technologies are expected to soon further supplement the virtual visit. Telehealth platforms and tools will evolve, as we’re only now seeing a small portion of what’s possible in terms of healthcare delivery and connectivity.
Here are some expected developments for your practice to watch and consider as a complement to, or key component of, telehealth over time:
Telehealth is now urgently important and, because of that, the trend toward virtual care has arrived. To be prepared, consider the choices you make now.
Quick fixes may be useful in the interim, but aren’t likely to help your practice after the national emergency has lifted. In fact, they could jeopardize your HIPAA compliance and cause inefficiencies at your practice when more of your patients ask for telehealth options.
You will be best positioned for success with a telehealth care solution that integrates into the way you promote and manage your practice.
Learn more about PatientPop Telehealth by visiting patientpop.com/telehealth.
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