Telehealth, already on the rise, experienced exponential growth with the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020. Now, as the pandemic continues to recede, telehealth has proven that it’s here to stay. We’ve compiled 10 best practices to help your business integrate telehealth in a permanent way.
10 Best Practices for Telehealth
- Adapt your bedside manner to a virtual setting. The experience through telehealth should be as similar to an in-person visit as possible. Listen to your patients, ask questions, and make observations. If you have a history with the patient, refer to that history. Dress the same for virtual visits as you would an in-person visit, even if you’re working from home, and make sure you have good lighting and sound quality. All of this helps to build and maintain trust with your patients.
- Pay attention to the patient’s surroundings. Telehealth affords providers the unique opportunity to see a patient’s home life. This can allow for a better understanding of the factors impacting a patient’s health. It can also provide an opportunity to get a clear picture of the patient’s mental health and overall well-being by seeing them in their normal environment.
- Utilize digital tools. Without the benefit of formal lab work and an on-site vitals check, portable medical devices such as glucose monitors, blood pressure cuffs, and pulse oximeters can help to fill in the gap for these metrics. Just make sure you vet any devices you’re using to check for accuracy.
- Stay mindful of health regulations. Be aware of any limitations on where your patients can be when you treat them virtually, as well as requirements for length of visit. You’ll need to be in compliance with these pieces in order to receive reimbursement.
- Be resourceful during the examination. For all the benefits of telehealth, it does have its limitations, namely the inability to use the tools you would typically use in person. Try to think of creative ways to make assessments based on items the patient should have access to at home.
- Encrypt employee hard drives. With some providers continuing to work remotely at least part-time, the risk of data to fall into the wrong hands due to loss or theft of equipment is greater. Combat that risk with thorough data encryption.
- Utilize two-factor authentication. It’s imperative to ensure that only the individuals who should be on a telehealth session are. Using two-factor authentication so that patients and providers are sent one-time access codes to enter is a great way to confirm identities.
- Make sure telehealth is an integrated part of your workflow. Telehealth visits should fit seamlessly into your schedule, conducted just as efficiently as in-person visits. The goal is for providers to be able to move through their schedule smoothly, seeing both in-person and virtual patients.
- Have a clear process for pre- and post-visit communication. Create a clear workflow for how patients will be checked in and out and how co-pays will be collected. Also, make sure the process for scheduling follow-ups and managing referrals is clearly understood amongst practice staff.
- Use a robust and secure telehealth platform. Choose a telehealth platform that will be user-friendly, integrated with your EHR, secure, and allow you to provide the highest possible level of virtual care.
Telehealth isn’t going anywhere, so it’s time to make sure your practice is able to maintain this program for the long-term. Each of these best practices will help, but perhaps the most important factor in how successful your telehealth program will be is the solution you choose. That’s why Henry Schein SolutionsHub is proud to offer Medpod, a revolutionary telediagnostics platform that optimizes care delivery wherever your patients are. Click the link below to learn more about Medpod and to learn how you can get started.