How to Get (and Give) the Most Out of Telehealth Delivery.
So far, the 21st Century has seen some phenomenal improvements in modern healthcare, with both quality of care and access to services improving by leaps and bounds. As one of the most remarkable new advances, telehealth is primed to set a new standard for healthcare. As our industry universally moves towards a streamlined, tech-integrated approach, here’s what you need to know:
1. Telehealth is not a one-size-fits-all solution.
Customization and personalization are standards that every patient expects from providers, and providers should demand those same standards from their vendors and industry partners. Each patient, clinician, and caregiver comes with a unique set of needs and challenges. Telehealth service delivery, in its ideal form, is flexible and customizable - an asset that providers are quick to embrace, employees are eager to utilize, and patients are excited to benefit from.
2. Success requires a commitment to sustained patient engagement.
Buy-in is the biggest hurdle for successful technology implementation, even those that will eventually become universal industry standards. Your clinicians need to be engaged and committed to the telehealth approach from Day 1, so that patients are presented with an exciting new service that is immediately perceived as an asset. Tech support, real-time data, and ease of use are all necessary components for clinical buy-in.
But change doesn't stop there. Successful implementation of telehealth services requires a new commitment to engaging patients in their own healthcare and self-management. Patients are engaged when they feel valued and respected as individuals, and when they understand the information – most of it complex – that comes at them in waves during any medical event.
Use of technology to manage care plans, prescriptions, and provider communication is the future of telehealth. To foster patient engagement with these new tools, we must increase patient health literacy and understanding of complex medical processes. The bottom line is, a telehealth service line will not succeed without attention spent to clinician buy-in and patient engagement.
3. Telehealth means more work -- but you don't have to do it yourself.
You went into medicine to diagnose and treat patients, not to fumble around with buggy software and complex billing models. The biggest hurdle to telehealth implementation is a provider's lack of time and resources to devote to a risky new venture. Providers can overcome this hurdle by embracing new partnerships with companies who want to share the risk with you and do the extra work for you. Through vendor contracts and partnerships, providers can improve their patients' outcomes and increase revenues, all while re-centering their focus on individual patient interaction and treatment.
Consider, for example, the common Medicare billing errors associated with preventative services. Wasted time and energy on compliance efforts and corrections are a constant frustration in our field, and new partnerships and technologies should be held to a high standard – reduce or eliminate billing mistakes and headaches, or move aside. Emerging technologies have the capacity to streamline processes – and to avoid pitfalls like billing errors - that have had provider staff banging their heads against walls for years now.
New technologies will continue to move healthcare forward into exciting, unexplored territory. Make sure to choose partners that simplify processes, customize solutions for patients and providers, and inspire commitment and patient engagement.