Digital health technology enables physicians to offer better patient care that extends beyond the clinical encounter, an approach that is much less costly for healthcare systems. At present, doctors can get in touch with patients from anywhere via electronic communications to enhance clinical health, reaching people in underserved areas. It’s possible owing to telemedicine, sometimes called telehealth, which usually employs a desktop computer with a special video card that can store data securely. As healthcare providers evaluate their practices this year, they should consider offering a few hours of virtual care every day.
Telemedicine solutions come in all shapes and sizes, allowing doctors to cover a broad range of health services. You can use telehealth to engage and educate patients about prophylaxis or monitor their recovery after hospital discharge. It can be an incredibly powerful way to make healthcare more accessible, especially in remote parts of the world. Your chosen solution should deliver medical care with no loss in quality, so find one that fits your needs and helps you reach your objectives. Here are some critical aspects to consider in your research efforts:
Make Sure End Users (Patients) Can Adapt to The New Technology
Most importantly, a telemedicine solution should offer an unparalleled user experience, meaning that patients should be able to adapt to the technology without much difficulty. A product of this kind offers a less expensive alternative to in-office visits, but it should have an easy learning curve, so look into other healthcare institutions’ feedback. A telemedicine solution should be effortless to install, easy to use and update, and get the job done. If you want to diagnose, treat, and oversee patients’ care virtually, opt for a web-based telemedicine service because patients, particularly those of old age, dislike having to download apps.
Even if the transition is rough at first, end-users will eventually get used to telehealth visits, but try to make patients feel more confident about virtual appointments. Survey individuals before launching your telemedicine service to figure out how tech-savvy your patients are. By asking the right question, you’ll obtain great insights into how people view technology, which in turn allows you to figure out ways to teach them. Train your staff on using telemedicine equipment so they can lend a helping hand to patients who require assistance. It can be easy to get distracted during a consultation, so be mindful of your visits by clearing your desktop of any distractions.
Look For a Solution That Includes Must-Have Features
For achieving better success and effective patient engagement, see to it that your telemedicine solution includes the following features:
- Video consultation/exam. The interaction between you and patients is conducted over a synchronous video call, which is secured to HIPAA standards. You should be able to bring in multiple parties on an as-needed basis, such as the patient’s family member or a specialty doctor. In some cases, a downloadable app is available, offering the same features as the desktop software.
- Annotation tools. Annotation helps perform quality controls, bringing attention to areas of prime interest. It helps save time, make informed decisions, and enhance patient outcomes, to name but a few. Some telemedicine solutions offer annotation tools that come in handy for explaining diagnoses or conditions. Simply put, you can present your thoughts clearly.
- Data import/export. The system should allow you to choose what and how much data gets imported. Imported data shouldn’t occupy too much space on the consultation screen, which implies that data entries should be appropriately coded. Equally, the data captured during remote visits and exams should be exported to your electronic medical record system.
Take into account how well a solution meets your needs. In other words, make a list of desirable features and find software that satisfies all your needs.
Search For a Partner, Not A Vendor
A vendor provides a purely transactional service with no proactive idea generation, while a partner immerses themselves into your culture and commits to an ongoing relationship. Your telehealth partner’s vision matters because it influences everything about how they design, execute, and, above all, deliver the product, so choose someone who shares your goals. You shouldn’t be pulling in different directions. Centers that offer healthcare services work toward the same outcomes, but they’re likely to compete using different strategies, which is why it’s important for the telemedicine solution provider to understand your priorities, not to mention your strengths and weaknesses, to deliver a satisfactory solution.
Any telemedicine solution that can be implemented without much difficulty is a sure bet. At times, issues can arise that require the assistance of dedicated specialists, so strong technical support is of the essence. The experts should be readily available to troubleshoot issues faced by you or your patients. It’s important to take your time and do your due diligence when searching for a telehealth partner, making sure they’re certified and audited. Consult a trusted advisor as you conduct your investigations. An exceptional candidate will be eager to answer your questions and find a solution that works for you.
An ever-increasing number of healthcare providers are offering to see patients by smartphones and computers, even those who don’t consider themselves tech-savvy. Once regarded as a novel way to connect with patients, telemedicine is now an essential tool (not a replacement of the doctor’s touch). Even if telehealth is advancing at a rapid pace, work remains to be done as far as bringing it into broader use is concerned. To effectively implement a telemedicine program and fulfill your intended mission, you should evaluate equipment readiness. There are unique security risks, meaning you can be vulnerable to outside threats, so teach staff the safest ways to use their account.
Finally, yet importantly, even if a custom solution is more expensive than a SaaS platform, it’s something worth investing your time and money in, as you can deliver a personalized experience to your patients. You can use the solution without wasting time trying to figure out how certain features work, not to mention you enjoy constant technical support.