Chances are you have already adopted a telemedicine solution. The novel coronavirus forced all of us to quickly learn new ways to communicate, deliver, and receive healthcare. If it wasn’t for telemedicine platforms (and those platforms that traditionally offered message and video services creating avenues for accessing healthcare providers), we would be in far worse shape than we are today. Telemedicine and your adoption of it has, without question, saved lives.
But what happens after COVID-19 isn't an imminent public health emergency, and becomes one of the many other manageable health issues we deal with every day? Is the telemedicine solution you chose in the wake of COVID-19 the right one for you? Or maybe are you still looking for a telemedicine provider?
It's finally time to start planning for a world after COVID-19.
A recent GetApp patient survey found that 84% of patients are more likely to select a medical provider who offers telemedicine than one who does not.
With the GetApp survey being conducted in the early weeks of the coronavirus outbreak in the US, it wouldn't be a stretch to assume those statistics are higher today.
When it comes to technology for virtual visits, we think that these five simple, yet critical questions can help you screen potential partners. Of course, you’ll want to have a demo of the solution and build a relationship with the representative, but if a vendor doesn’t have good answers to these questions, you can save yourself some time by moving on.
Is the solution HIPAA compliant?
I’ve put this question at the top of the list because it is essential that your telehealth option doesn’t become a source of litigation for you or your staff. In the case of telemedicine software, HIPAA compliance requires a few factors. First, the system should protect private health information through an encrypted transmission. It should never store video, and all virtual visits must be conducted through a secure peer-to-peer connection. Finally, the vendor should be willing to enter into a Business Partner agreement to obligate their employees to the same high privacy standards you expect from yours.
How do you help providers increase the adoption of telemedicine?
There’s no sense in rolling out a telemedicine program in your practice if people don’t use it. It can take a lot to get someone to change the way they consume healthcare, so it is essential to find a vendor that has programs and technology to market your telemedicine services to your patients. Look for automated email outreach which allows your practice to announce your new telemedicine service and keep patients informed about virtual visits.
How well does your technology perform when internet bandwidth isn’t perfect?
This matters because many clinics and medical office buildings have networks that are under a lot of pressure by high demand. It’s great that so many applications run online these days, but that can put a lot of pressure on bandwidth. Without getting into the technical details, applications can be designed to withstand that pressure and perform great under even less than ideal network conditions. Look for one of those.
How are providers and patients supported?
You want to ensure a terrific experience for both your patients and staff and that means that they should have access to technical resources anytime an issue arises. Of course, the solution should be intuitive so there shouldn’t be too much need for help, but when there is, support should be available via telephone, chat, or email during business hours.
How will my team be trained?
These days, most people prefer self-guided training that allows providers to learn the basics on their own time, at their own pace. That should be in addition to on-demand access to best practices and help articles and people to answer questions that aren’t addressed in the material.