How to Utilize Telemedicine Services at Your Practice
During times of crisis, like the current COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important for practices to still be able to communicate with their patients or clients while also practicing social distancing. Limiting face-to-face interactions can help diminish the risk of spreading a harmful virus, but what about the needs of your patients and clients? Maintaining a relationship with them may seem difficult because you are unable to examine them in person, but even when they’re not in your office, you still have the opportunity to speak with and help them in times of need.
The best way to stay in contact with your patients or clients when you cannot see them in person is through telemedicine. What is telemedicine, you ask? Simply put, telemedicine is using modern technology to open an electronic form of communication between healthcare professionals and patients in order to diagnose and treat patients. In uncertain times, remaining flexible and being mindful is essential to help give your patients what they need. If you want to continue caring for your patients or clients remotely, providing telemedicine services is an excellent method for achieving this.
What is telemedicine?
Believe it or not, telemedicine is not a new and emerging idea in the healthcare space. Healthcare professionals have been providing patients with care remotely for quite some time. Patients have been phoning healthcare professionals for a large portion of the 20th century with their symptoms while also being diagnosed and it has only progressed since then. But, with constant technological innovations occurring, communicating with your patients or clients from the comfort of their own home has never been better.
With the use of smartphones, tablets, or computers, you have the ability to share screens with your patients in order to access their needs. There are 3 types of telemedicine services that you can use at your practice.
- Interactive Medicine – Gives patients and healthcare professionals the opportunity to communicate in real-time via phone call or video conferencing.
- Store and Forward – This service allows providers to share patient records with other healthcare professionals in a different location for evaluation. This can be lab results, an image, a video, or medical history.
- Remote Patient Monitoring – With patient portals, healthcare professionals can monitor patients and also share any information with them.
If you offer all three of the different options to your patients, they can choose which one is the best for their circumstances.
How to Conduct Appointments With Telemedicine Services
Now that you know what it is, let’s discuss what type of telemedicine services you can provide your patients with. It’s important that you give more than one option for how your patients or clients can reach out to you for their virtual appointments.
This way everyone can choose what they’re most comfortable with. Your telemedicine services can include emails, text messages, live chats, phone calls, or video conferences. They should also have the ability to e-sign documents and process credit card payments.
No matter what industry your practice is in, telemedicine can be useful for your business. Here is how you can utilize telemedicine services to your advantage in each of these industries:
- Eye Care: Eye care professionals can conduct virtual eye exams and reexamine current patients to provide them with the necessary prescription for their eyes. They can also answer any questions involving eye health, eye conditions, glasses, or contact lenses.
- Chiropractic: Although chiropractors will not be able to physically perform any services, such as spinal manipulation, they can discuss any symptoms that the patient is having, check their progression, and offer advice for any type of exercise that can be performed while at home. Even if you cannot provide any hands-on treatment, you can monitor any growth that they’ve had in improving their condition.
- Veterinary: As long as veterinary professionals have established a Veterinarian Client Patient Relationship (VCPR) and abide by the policies set in place by their state, they can provide telemedicine services like routine wellness checks post-surgical care, diagnosing, or offer general advice.
How to Prepare Your Patients to Use Telemedicine
Once your practice has all of the proper software programs in place to help you flawlessly transition into telemedicine and conduct your appointments, be sure to send out a mass email to all of your patients. They should be notified before the closing of your practice to give them time to ask any questions about telemedicine.
Learn More: When to Email Your Patients and Why
All of your patients or clients that have upcoming appointments should be sent a personalized email that provides them with step-by-step instructions on how to meet with you depending on what medium they have chosen.
The next step you should take is to update your hours of operation on your Google My Business profile to let patients or clients know when you’ll be open so they contact you during those specific times.
You can also notify them of your shift to telemedicine through your social media accounts, in case they did not open or see your email. Be sure that the messaging you use in your emails align with what you say on social media as well.
Creating a marketing strategy and informing your patients or clients on how you will be handling their treatments and care from the inside of their homes is crucial in helping to make sure your patient relationship management is left unscathed by the transition to remote services.
Although providing telemedicine services may be a learning experience for both you and your patients or clients, there are benefits in doing so. Some of the main benefits of using telemedicine are:
- Transportation – For patients that struggle to come to your office, they will not have to figure out a means of transportation because they can communicate with you through a digital screen.
- No Time Away From Work – Oftentimes patients struggle to take time from their busy schedule and show up to appointments because they can’t take time off from work. With telemedicine, many patients who are working from home won’t have to worry about coming to your practice.
- No Issues With Childcare – Working parents sometimes have difficulties finding someone to care for their child when they have appointments to make. But if they do a phone call or video conference, they won’t have to worry about childcare.
- Cost-Effectiveness – Your practice can see an increase in revenue with remote access as it will decrease no shows while turning phone calls and video chats into billable time. Most of your work will also be digital which will decrease paperwork and other benefits that can save money.
- Fewer Cancelled or Missed Appointments – You’ll experience less canceled and missed appointments at your practice because telemedicine provides more convenience.
- Better Access to Specialists – Patients or clients that are located in rural areas or somewhere far from a specialist, telemedicine can give them access to those healthcare professionals that they may not usually be able to communicate with or see.
- No Exposure to Potentially Contagious Patients – As COVID-19 cases rise all around the globe, people are anxious about leaving their homes unless it’s absolutely necessary. Telemedicine services can eliminate that fear of coming in contact with anyone who may be contagious.
Why You Should Use Telemedicine at Your Practice
Whether your practice is closing its doors for the time being or remaining open, telemedicine can be an asset to your business. Using electronic forms of communication with your patients or clients can be beneficial to you both while being in the comfort of your own home.
Although you may not be able to provide them with any physical care, they can still get the information they need to continue their current course of treatment, get general advice, receive a diagnosis, and so much more all while being HIPAA compliant. With emerging software technology, telemedicine is now easier than ever!
We answer all your questions about the importance of telemedicine and more in our webinar, Marketing Tips for Your Practice During COVID-19. Senior Business Development Manager, Ali Nikoopour, will walk you through everything you need to know to optimize your SEO strategy, updating online directory listings, and how telemedicine can help your patients.
Are you interested in adopting telemedicine services at your practice?
Leave all the heavy lifting to us marketing experts and we can help you get started on providing your patients or clients with everything they need to virtually communicate with you. Give us a call at 800.792.8384 or click here to discover our digital marketing solutions.