5 Things to Look for When Choosing a Telehealth Platform in 2020
Finding the Right Telehealth Partner for Your Practice
Telehealth has grown rapidly over the last few years. According to the American Hospital Association, 76% of U.S. hospitals now use some form of virtual care to connect with patients and consulting practitioners at a distance using live audio and video, in addition to other technology. Telehealth can help expand access to care, improve patient outcomes, reduce costs, and give providers deeper insight into their overall practice.
As a care provider or facility administrator, if you’re considering implementing a telehealth platform in 2020, you might be feeling slightly overwhelmed. There are dozens of telehealth partners for you to choose from, and some can help extend the reach of your practice, while others may end up limiting it. Keep reading to learn more about how to choose the right partner for your organization or practice.
Telehealth should make your life easier as a care provider. That means accessing all your information using the same interface. Managing multiple tabs, programs, and applications simultaneously can delay routine processes. When you use multiple programs and applications, it becomes that much easier to lose track of appointments, patient information, and other vital care information.
With the right telehealth platform, you should be able to access everything using the same interface, including your schedule, patient information, electronic health records, live video and audio to connect with patients in real-time, data analytics as well as a list of in-network providers and referral information. You’ll be able to meet the needs of your patients using the same system, which will improve efficiency and the overall quality of care your patients receive.
Implementing a telehealth system requires buy-in from both your colleagues and patients. All parties should feel comfortable using this technology, including your most vulnerable patients, such as the elderly, low-income households, and those suffering from a chronic illness.
To ensure successful adoption look for a telehealth program that’s intuitive and easy to use. Ask some of your patients to sample this technology to make sure they feel confident accessing the services they need. Your colleagues should also spend time using this program. There’s always a learning curve when adopting a new system, but, with a little bit of practice, your colleagues should be able to complete routine processes faster than they could previously. That includes updating patient information, scheduling appointments, administering care, and monitoring the health of their patients.
Specialty Care Solution
Your patients may need access to specialty care services occasionally and your telehealth platform should reflect that. One out of every three patients is sent to a specialist each year. However, many patients outright lack access to these services. Low-income patients and those living in rural areas tend to lack access to specialty care providers. Virtualizing specialty care can help these providers take on more patients by reducing the distances between them and their patients.
Whether you’re running a primary care practice or a large hospital, look for a telehealth platform that caters to specialty care providers. You can refer your patients to specialty providers using the same system to improve the continuity of care.
Configuration and Customization
Every healthcare facility is different, so instead of adopting a one-size-fits-all telehealth solution, look for those that can be configured specifically for your practice. You and your colleagues may have your own way of completing routine processes and you should be able to customize your telehealth platform as you see fit. Specialty care systems should be customizable, so specialty providers can connect with their patients in a way that makes sense for their practice.
Your patients may have their unique preferences as well. Some may prefer to consult their care provider over the phone, while others may prefer using live video and audio or text messages. Implementing a customizable program helps you meet the needs of everyone using this program.
One of the best reasons to invest in a telehealth program is the data analytics feature. You can glean new insights into your practice by recording and logging every patient interaction. As you collect more data, you can start improving your practice using this new information. For example, if some of your patients report having trouble accessing their information or face long wait times, you can start addressing these issues head-on.
Data analytics helps you better monitor your practice and the experiences of your patients. Without this information, you may feel like you’re operating in the dark, especially as you confront the challenges of switching to a new system.
With so many telehealth programs to consider, finding the right one for your practice requires plenty of forethought and research. Use these tips to make the most of this transition and to help you take on the next generation of healthcare.
Visit InTouchHealth.com to learn more about how our fully integrated enterprise virtual care platform can streamline any and all of your virtual care needs.