Telemedicine was originally developed to treat patients who lived in remote areas, far from local health facilities, or in areas where medical professionals were in short supply. While telemedicine is still used to address these issues today, it is also becoming a tool for more convenient medical care. Today's connected patient wants to spend less time in the doctor's waiting room and receive immediate care for minor but urgent conditions when they need it.
1.Select the most appropriate telemedicine solution for your practice.
The first step in implementing telemedicine in your practice is, of course, selecting the best telemedicine solution for you! How will you put telemedicine to use? What features do you want from a telemedicine platform if you'll be doing live video visits with your patients? Determine your telemedicine use case and the highest priority for your practice, then select the option that best meets your needs.
2.Get your entire team on the same page.You won't be able to build a successful telemedicine program unless everyone on your team is on board. Whether you have a team of providers or just one physician who will be doing telemedicine, other staff will almost certainly be involved in assisting with your telemedicine program workflows. You might even want to include your staff in the process of selecting telemedicine software. At the very least, once you've chosen your software, bring your staff into the fold so you can train them and include them in workflow discussions.
3.Set up your equipment.
Depending on your telemedicine program, setting up your equipment may take some time (such as purchasing data servers, telemedicine carts, mobile medical devices, and so on), or it may be as simple as purchasing a high-quality webcam online! Determine what equipment you'll require and look into the best available options. If you require equipment recommendations, your telemedicine vendor should be able to provide them. If you have an IT expert on staff, you should delegate this task to them or at the very least involve them.
4.Learn about technology.
This is a critical step. The best telemedicine software solutions available today are intuitive and user-friendly, but they still require training for you and your staff. If your telemedicine software vendor provides training, figure out what kind of package you'll need and schedule time to learn the platform thoroughly. Putting in that time and effort upfront will make the rest of the implementation process a hundred times easier.Connectivity
The first requirement for running a clinical telehealth service is a high-speed internet connection.
A stable, low-latency connection with upload and download speeds of around 1.5 megabits/second is required for a clinical telehealth video-call service.
Internet access can be spotty in rural areas. Infrastructure may not exist, or there may be connection gaps. Weather conditions such as storms, rain, and extreme heat can also impede access.
Satellite connections, such as Telstra's Sky Muster satellite internet service, can be used to perform telehealth consultations in areas where there is no terrestrial connection.Technology for dependable video calls
If you want to schedule a remote catch-up with work colleagues or family and friends on your smartphone, traditional video-call platforms are fine.
However, if you want to provide high-quality clinical telehealth services to patients, you'll need a medical-grade video-call platform.
Software is created specifically for use in health and allied health settings. We provide software and hardware technology options for making reliable video calls even in low-bandwidth environments, such as:
We enable high-speed, secure, end-to-end encrypted, live video calls for any number of telehealth video consultation participants.
We also assist you in integrating with diagnostic imaging devices such as general examination cameras, otoscopes, ultrasounds, dental cameras, and ECG, allowing health practitioners to perform detailed medical examinations and procedures.A clinical telehealth monitoring device toolkit.
Alas! You also need a tool kit that is distinct in that it supports a collection of integrated medical devices.
Medical practices can now provide a remote clinical telehealth service using some of the approved devices, revolutionizing how a physician or nurse can examine, diagnose, monitor, and treat remote patients via video-call consultations.
5.Learn about your state's telemedicine policy.
One of the more difficult aspects of telemedicine is that each state has its own set of policies and requirements for how telemedicine should be practiced. Investigate what your state's medical board requires. Here are some research questions to get you started:
Can you see patients in other states via telemedicine?
Do you need a patient's informed consent to practice telemedicine? Is it necessary to obtain consent verbally or in writing?
Do you have the ability to write prescriptions based on a telemedicine visit?
Can you establish a doctor-patient relationship with a new patient via telemedicine? Or, can you only provide telemedicine to current patients?
6. Determine your billing policy.
When deciding on your telemedicine billing policy, you must consider several factors. Will you, for example, bill through insurance? Will you be providing telemedicine visits for a fee? Would you like to provide telemedicine to Medicare and Medicaid patients?
If you want to bill a patient's insurance, you'll need to do some research into the payer's telemedicine guidelines. Medicare, Medicaid, and private payers all have different policies regarding what telemedicine services they will cover and how they will be billed.
If you're billing cash, just have the patient sign a form stating that they don't want to use their insurance for any telemedicine visits.
7. Create workflows for your telemedicine program.
Once you've determined your state's telemedicine policy, use case, and billing policy, it's time to create your telemedicine program workflows! Meet with the staff members who will be involved and plan your workflow:
What happens if a patient requests a telemedicine visit?
How is the visit planned or prioritized?
Is it necessary to confirm their insurance?
What should staff do to prepare for the visit?
What steps will be taken after the visit to ensure that all documentation and billing is processed correctly?
Walk through a couple of example scenarios and decide what steps to take and who is responsible for what.
8. Make any paperwork or materials required for your program.
After you've mapped out your workflow and understand your telemedicine policy requirements, you should have a good idea of what paperwork or materials you'll need to create. This could be as simple as a telemedicine informed consent form or a waiver for the patient to sign stating that they do not want to use insurance for telemedicine.
9. Determine how you will provide technical support.
Even if you use an easy-to-use telemedicine platform, your patients will have technical questions. Some telemedicine vendors will provide support directly to your patients and handle everything for you. Alternatively, you may need to train some of your employees to troubleshoot and answer basic tech support questions.
10. Create and implement your patient marketing strategy.
The final step in launching your telemedicine program is, of course, informing patients about this exciting new service! Many of your patients will most likely be delighted to participate in telemedicine visits. So, all you have to do now is figure out the best way to spread the word and educate patients on how to get started. Our client success team provides our clients with a mix of in-office brochures, posters, and stickers, as well as digital marketing materials such as an email campaign, social media campaigns, and advertisements for your practice website, among other things.
Consider what channels work best for your patient population and budget, and then prioritize those channels. An email campaign, for example, is a less expensive marketing strategy.