You did it. You started your telemedicine/telehealth practice and you’ve made it through everything that the healthcare field had to throw at you. In fact, 2020 was a banner year for telehealth operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic and its subsequent iterations have forced healthcare operations to grow and adapt across the globe at a pace rarely seen in modern medicine. Telemedicine has also played a role in reducing health disparity in underserved communities. In fact, according to a 2021 McKinsey poll, approximately 40 percent of patients who utilized a telemedicine option planned to continue to take advantage of the services in the future.
But, 2021 has come and gone. Now, what’s next? Here are tips to help you take your operation up a notch.
Continue Team-Based Care
Many telemedicine operations find themselves defaulting to a system where the physician does it all. It’s not a secret, healthcare burnout rates are high, it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you have to “do it all alone.” The same team-based approach you utilize for in-person care can be transferable to your digital practice.
Team based care does more than prevent physician overload, it improves access for patients, productivity for the healthcare system, and improves patient satisfaction and outcomes. Now that you’re firmly into your telemedicine journey, evaluate your current situation with an open mind and make any shifts necessary to bring your practices into equilibrium.
Consider RPM Options
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is a healthcare trend on the rise. In fact, according to Healthcare IT News, one third of consumers were more likely to choose a healthcare provider that allowed them to share health data via a connected device.
RPM is a natural extension of telemedicine, and can allow your practice to receive real-time data from patients for a more personalized, data-driven care option.
Tech & Website
Secure Your Communications
With more data coming in, there are more options for breaches. You’re likely aware of the importance of protecting patient information. Unfortunately, the digital nature of telemedicine opens the door to additional opportunities for cyber attack. The number of cyber security breaches jumped 42 percent in 2020, it is a trend that was expected to continue into 2021 and one that will surely continue in 2022 as patient care continues to make a shift.
It’s not just internal communications at risk, something as simple as a “request an appointment” form or educational event sign up can expose vital information. To up your game you can implement the following:
- Make sure your website is HIPAA compliant
- Conduct employee training on phishing schemes
- Require multi-factor authentication (MFA)
- Monitor RDP access to resources over internal networks and use a VPN
For a full list of how you can help protect your practice, the CISA in conjunction with the FBI has released best practice for all industries.
Partner With Customer Support
Let’s face it. You’re not a tech support guru — and you shouldn’t have to be.
If you’re not in a position where your organization provides IT and customer service, it’s okay to find a partner. When you reduce the risk of no-shows and rescheduled visits due to technical issues, you’re able to focus on what really matters — the patient.
Finding a good partner also means you can standardize your telehealth workflow, get rid of single-use solutions, and better secure your data and information.
Social Image & Information
Make Information Readily Available
Because in-person interaction has been limited over the last two years, patients are doing more and more research prior to their visits. If your practice is wholly telehealth, chances are, your patient base may not yet be fully established and you may see many new patients via referral, this is doubly true for specialists.
In an effort to help your patients find answers they can trust, consider providing the answers to frequently asked questions on your website. Make sure your site is kept up-to-date and demonstrates your knowledge of your specialty.
Market Your Telehealth Options
If you’re especially tech-savvy (and we’re assuming you are since you’ve gone virtual) you can consider providing insight and updates via social media, newsletters, blogs, and more. They can help you reach a wider audience. Highlight your care, services, awards, and any patient reviews. This helps to build trust in your reputation as a physician and provides an easily navigable portfolio of your abilities.
Beyond the Exam Room
Stay Up-to-date on Current Legislation
Telehealth services have received largely bipartisan support over the last two years and because of the popularity surrounding the practice, legislation like the Cares 2.0 Bill, Connect For Health Act, and the Telehealth Extension Act, all have the ability to impact telemedicine in the future. While the impact on the industry would be mostly positive should they pass, they bear keeping in mind.
Need help finding that next telemedicine opportunity? Contact MedLink for a confidential career strategy session.