“We need to be ready for a new (environment). There’s no going back.”
-Alexa Boer Kimball, CEO of Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Healthcare providers are scrambling to keep up with the demand for telehealth services and many are seeing unexpected benefits in the shift to virtual healthcare. Some providers hesitate to try telehealth because they are unsure about laws and how health insurance billing will work with video appointments, but actions by state and federal officials have loosened a lot of those barriers, allowing providers to test new platforms and see more reimbursement.
Telehealth (also known as telemedicine) is not a new idea; it has been used as far back as the late 90s. But now, it is a necessity so practitioners can continue treating patients more efficiently. Sometimes, in-person treatment isn’t possible, so integrating telehealth into your regular business practices ensures you will be able to offer your services regardless of the circumstances.
Are you utilizing telehealth to see patients? Integrating telehealth into your regular business practices is key, because:
- Telehealth is an enhancement to your current business practices and makes your business more advanced. Just because you use telehealth, doesn’t mean you’re going to stop seeing patients in-person, but you can now treat your patients from anywhere.
- You can be more efficient by delegating telehealth responsibilities to your employees, like appointment scheduling and billing.
- You will be able to collect and track all your data, including correspondence with patients, billing accuracy, and treatment plans.
In order to execute a successful telehealth service, you will need to use a reliable provider.
Do some research. Do you know what you need? Do you know what you want to get out of a virtual platform? There are a lot of telehealth technology options available, but you will want to make sure you include things like:
- Ease of use
- HIPAA-compliance (video service through a secure portal)
- A reliable connection
- Availability in your state
- Automated appointment booking and reminders
- Secure video and file sharing
- Branding for your business
You need to choose a technology that enables your practice to deploy an easy-to-use virtual platform that fits in seamlessly with your practice.
Once you commit to a platform, you will need to immerse yourself in it; Test it out, involve other employees who will be using the platform for scheduling and billing, and make sure all who need to use it are comfortable with it.
Finally, you will need to make sure you reach out to your patients. If you have their email addresses, you can easily reach out via email to let them know that telehealth is now an option for you to continue with their treatment. If you don’t have emails for your patients, that is ok! You can take some time to make follow-up calls to your patients (or designate this task to an employee who can schedule your appointments) and before you know it, you’ll be getting back to business.
We know how important your patients are, and telehealth is the bridge that will reconnect you. Whether your doors are open or closed, integrating telehealth into your regular business practices ensures you will be able to offer your services regardless of the circumstances. If a patient can’t travel into your office for their appointment, virtual appointments help solve their transportation problem. Plus, you can expand your business by offering virtual appointments to individuals who live remotely and don’t have a local practitioner available to them.
To learn more about telehealth, telemedicine and all things remote-healthcare, contact us at AudiologyPlus!