In this digital era, and as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, telehealth has evolved from a trend into a necessity. Although some people can visit a doctor locally without inconvenience, many people can’t travel due to their illness or for other practical reasons. Telehealth provides a lifeline for those who are unable to visit a doctor in-person.
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth provides and manages medical services through electronic information and digital technology such as mobile phones, tablets, or computers. If a patient requires a doctor’s visit, they can schedule an appointment and have a chat, video call, or phone call with their doctor who will listen to their health issues and address them. This isn’t only restricted to immediate appointments. It can also include daily reminders, advice, and monitoring of vitals.
The Many Benefits of Telehealth
There is a multitude of benefits to switching to telehealth, including the following:
- Reduced Costs for Medical Providers- When patients require proactive treatments, medical providers attend to clinical visits and consultation services as well- which educate the patient on their overall condition and treatment. With telehealth, patients can report their problems from the comfort of their homes while remote team members can act as coaches to guide them.
- Broadened Accessibility to Procure More Patients- An article published in Human Resources for Health, predicted that there would be a global demand for 80 million health care professionals. Since there is always a shortage of healthcare providers, telehealth can bridge the gap between patients and physicians through their network. By leveraging remote technology, the patient and physician can be anywhere in the world and still provide a diagnosis and education.
- The Elimination of the Waiting Room- “Time is of the essence,” as they say. Patients usually despise waiting around to see their doctor, and with telehealth, they won’t have to. Physicians can schedule appointments for specific times according to the preferences of the patients.
- Bypassing Transportation Time and Costs- Seeing a doctor on a patient’s mobile phone or laptop is a great way to save on commuting costs, parking costs, and transportation. Patients don’t have to worry about rushing to get to the clinic on time or rushing back to their workplace because they can see their physician in the comfort of their home.
Tips on Transitioning to Telehealth
When adopting telehealth for the first time or when expanding your clinic’s telehealth capabilities, take the time to implement the software and hardware correctly and to onboard staff effectively. The following tips should help you make this transition:
1. Choose the Right Platform- Before purchasing telehealth software, be sure to research your software options thoroughly. Look for a platform that is reliable, affordable, and easy to use. One popular telehealth provider is OTTO Health. Conducting virtual visits with OTTO Health is simple for both doctors and patients. This single platform enables video consultations, remote image viewing, and prescription renewal.
2. Gather all Necessary Equipment- Before you sign up for business, make sure to set up and test out all the accessories that you will require. It includes webcams, Wi-Fi, and sound accessories that need to be perfect for your appointments and virtual visits.
3. Train and Inform Your Staff- Telehealth software only improves healthcare if medical staff members know how to operate it and troubleshoot with patients. Be sure t run comprehensive training sessions before launching telehealth services. You may even want to consider bringing on an onboarding consultant to make this process run smoothly.
4. Understand the Rules and Regulations for Practicing Telemedicine- Before investing in a telehealth platform, make sure you and your staff understand the legal rules and ramifications of offering virtual visits. For example, review the regulations for protecting patient information. Also, be sure to discuss with patients how insurance policies process telehealth visits.
The Transition Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult
Although the entire process may seem complicated, it doesn’t have to be. Once you choose a platform or software to get you started, get yourself and your staff familiar with it so that you don’t waste any time asking questions about how to use the software. The only other necessities are Wi-Fi and technical equipment. Once clients or patients connect with you and everything is set up, you’re all ready to start practicing your profession, and one step closer to success.