Following the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, the usage of telehealth systems grew tremendously. The medical community was forced to provide health care online through videoconferencing platforms like Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams. Telehealth allows for 24/7 patient care and opens up a whole new window of flexibility for practices and patients alike.
What are the Benefits of Telemedicine?
As the world opens up again, telehealth still has its advantages to make the lives of patients and physicians easier and more cost-effective.
Telehealth is convenient for both the patients and physicians because you can do it right from your smartphone, tablet, or computer and from anywhere with access to wifi or data. There is no travel time to appointments and patient wait time is little to none. Many times patients find themselves in a waiting room for up to an hour for their appointment, but telemedicine allows for a much shorter wait time and allows patients to do it in the comforts of their home, work, or on the road.
Telehealth improves patient care by making it possible for doctors and their staff to easily and quickly communicate with their patients before and after their appointments. There is no more wait time on hold when patients call in with questions. And there is no need to take down messages and return calls. It’s done with a few clicks. Telehealth also eliminates unnecessary contact with doctors and patients who are sick, which has proven especially important during the uncertain days of the recent pandemic. Telemedicine appointments protect all physicians, staff, and patients and stop the spread of illness that could otherwise happen in the office.
Telehealth provides extra support for your practice. Working alongside a telehealth system is a 24/7 answering service to provide extra staff to speak with your patients, direct calls, and facilitate scheduling. All of these perks make physicians’ and medical professionals’ lives easier by allowing them to get more done by doing less of the mundane. This support also provides more flexibility for doctors and support staff who can now work from anywhere, even from home.
Adding telehealth is an economically smart decision. It increases revenue by extending office hours and the geographic range that can be served while decreasing costs for healthcare providers. It also provides a safety net for your practice. The Covid-19 pandemic forced many practices to cancel patient in-office appointments which meant a loss of revenue and a decrease in patient satisfaction, leading patients to go to more advanced practices that could serve them virtually. Having a telehealth system in place now will ensure that an office can stay open and running in the event of a similar emergency.
Related article: Advantages of Telemedicine for Physician Practices.
The Importance of Choosing the Right Telehealth Provider
Finding the right telehealth provider is essential to the success of your medical practice. The provider you chose is an extension of you and your staff – answering calls, scheduling patients, triaging, and directing calls on behalf of your physicians. When choosing your provider, it is crucial to make sure it is the correct fit.
What to Look for When Selecting a Provider
When selecting a telemedicine provider for your medical practice, it is important to confirm that the provider you choose perfectly aligns with the face and needs of your business. This includes user-friendliness, integration options, and security and compliance. The provider you chose will be an extension of your practice and you want to be sure it is the best option to support and grow your practice.
It is essential that the telehealth provider you choose is user-friendly for not only your medical staff but also for your clients of all ages and all technical ability. This means that you should choose a provider with an interface that is simple and easy to navigate, especially for patients over the age of 60 who may not have much knowledge when it comes to technology. The design should not only be easy to navigate, but also provide access to tech support staff available to help them 24/7 if they need it. You also want to consider the fact that your patients will be using a wide range of devices to connect to the telehealth system and your provider must equally support all in a technology-friendly way.
When choosing a telemedicine platform for your practice, looking into integration options should be a priority. Integration allow you to communicate better with the help of healthcare teams. By integrating you are making it easy to exchange information securely between platforms and creating constant communication.
Integrating your platforms together has its advantages. A lot of times companies will have both a telehealth system and an EHR software set up which makes it difficult to transfer information between the two. By integrating your platforms you are not only saving time but keeping all of your information and records in one place making it easier for you and your practice.
Related article: EMR Systems Integration Challenges for Medical Practices.
Security & Compliance
When it comes to security and compliance in telehealth providers, they must be compliant with HIPAA restrictions and follow the rules that they provide. HIPAA recently changed its regulations to allow more flexibility when it comes to remote and video healthcare.
Data and security and patient privacy are top concerns when it comes to health care online. When switching to a telehealth platform you may need to update risk analysis plans to include cyber risks that stem from using telemedicine. Some cybersecurity risks include hackers and the risk of data or medical information getting out if not properly protected. The right telehealth partner will understand and mitigate these challenges so you don’t have to put your practice at risk.
Related article: 8 Tips for Medical Practices Transitioning to Telehealth.
How PatientCalls Supports Healthcare Practitioners Using Telehealth
PatientCalls is a HIPAA-compliant answering service that offers both in-person and remote help for your physicians and medical practice. We ensure the best of the best, keeping the communication between doctors, staff, and patients organized 24/7.