Telemedicine was a niche service up until the global coronavirus pandemic gripped the world. Over the last year, video calls in healthcare have seen tremendous growth, which is expected to continue even once life returns to a semblance of normal. Technological advancements along with the forced digitization of people’s lives are making telemedicine more accepted by society, with traditional skepticism becoming a minority view.
For medical clinics, this means patients increasingly expect you to offer telemedicine as a standard service It would be advisable to adapt to this new paradigm right now if you plan to stay competitive.
What Does Telemedicine Imply?
Telemedicine typically involves a video call where the doctor takes the patient’s history and provides recommendations based on their complaints. However, many more healthcare services are a part of telemedicine than just real-time online consultation like you might expect. In fact, any service provided via telecommunications technology is a part of telemedicine, even a straightforward phone call.
For instance, patients with health tracking apps and devices in their homes, such as blood glucose monitors, can collect data which is then sent to the doctor. It is called remote patient monitoring, and it allows doctors to stay up to date with the patient’s conditions while the latter live their lives not having to commute to the doctor’s office for checkups.
Another example would be a store-and-forward solution where healthcare professionals can share patient’s medical data, such as lab results, across different locations. As simple as it might sound, sharing such sensitive information online requires a secure and reliable system that is provided by telemedicine.
Is Telemedicine Right For My Medical Field?
As with any innovation, there are misconceptions around telemedicine, one of them being that it is not suitable for every specialty. While not every medical scenario can be handled remotely, telemedicine can be used in many more situations than you might realize. For example, birth control counseling, post-operative checkups, and discussion of blood results can all be done remotely.
As technology continues to evolve, your patient will expect you to offer more and more online medical services. Even now, there are plenty of options that every practice can start utilizing and benefiting from right away.
Why You Should Try Telemedicine Right Now
Telemedicine is not going anywhere. Its rapid growth may slow down once the coronavirus pandemic has been declared over, but you can rest assured that this sector will continue to grow in the long run.
Some of the major benefits of telemedicine you can avail yourself of include:
- Saving time and money on overheads as patients will not have to attend your premises in person.
- Providing the same quality of care as face-to-face appointments when implemented correctly
- Offering patients access to highly sought-after specialists who may not work locally.
- Using health tracking apps to help monitor patients from afar
Getting Started With Telemedicine: First Steps
Once you’ve decided to integrate telemedicine into your medical practice, it is crucial to get it right from the start. Although it may not seem too dissimilar to your usual workflow, there are few things that you should do to achieve a smooth transition for your colleagues and your patients:
1. Automate appointment confirmations and reminders
Your patients will still need to be reminded of pre-scheduled video consultations. Medesk helps you to automate your confirmations and reminders to reduce the risk of no-shows and late cancellations.
2. Add online booking options to your website and social media
Let your patients know that they can now book a video consultation online. Medesk lets you display your real-time availability and streamline the booking pathway to make the whole process faster and easier.
3. Make sure you train your colleagues properly
Your employees will be talking to patients about telemedicine, fixing technical issues, and encouraging bookings, often all at the same time. As such, they must be comfortable with the idea of video consultations and fully understand the benefits. This is the only way you can expect them to deliver the results you want.
4. Encourage patients to leave feedback
Telemedicine is new for you and your patients alike. As much as we try, things don’t always go swimmingly from the very beginning. As long as you take constructive criticism seriously and act upon it responsibly, most problems can be turned around for the better.
5. Integrate telemedicine with your practice management system
Technology should work together with you to make your practice more successful. Make sure you choose private practice software with a built-in telemedicine module to manage all bookings and associated information on a single screen. For example, doctors can carry out video consultations and simultaneously enter their notes into Medesk. Patients can rest assured that the whole process is powered by a secure and fully compliant software solution.
6. Create a guideline for doctors for trouble-free online consultations
As a clinician, you need to decide on the most appropriate setup for your video calls. It is best to have a clear background so you have your patients’ undivided attention. Naturally, your face must be clearly visible on the patient’s screen. Make it a rule to check both audio and video before the consultation starts to confirm everything is working correctly. After the call, always ask the patient if they have any feedback to make sure both parties are on the same page. If not, remember to take action on the feedback given as discussed earlier.
How Medesk Meet Helps Patients Access Your Virtual Appointments
Medesk Meet is an integral part of Medesk practice management software platform. It has been specifically designed to be user-friendly for both medical specialists and their patients. It is intuitive and easy to use, and yet represents a comprehensive solution for clinic management and running online consultations all within the same platform.
With Medesk Meet, you can arrange a video consultation in just 4 simple steps:
- Patients book an appointment online and it lands directly in your schedule in Medesk
- Patients then receive a confirmation message containing a unique video link via SMS and/or email
- Automated reminders are generated and scheduled to be sent along with any additional instructions
- Patients download and log into the Medesk Meet app while doctors click the ‘Connect’ button directly from their diary to start the video call
Telemedicine is a significant paradigm shift in the world of healthcare and it’s not going to go away. To make it work for your practice, you need to implement video calls in a way that is beneficial for both you and your patients. Because telemedicine is still a relatively new concept, many are suspicious of it. As you roll your new platform out, be extra diligent at all times. Leave no room for error and can address all concerns fully if they arise. Once you have built your patients’ trust and perfected your approach to video calling, you will reap your just rewards. Make sure you always choose the right technology to help you deliver excellent quality of care.
Shanawar Shafiq is a Blogger, Top rated Freelancer & Co-Founder at I’m. SEO; He is a content writer for multiple niches like SEO, SMM, SEM, Technology & Web Development, etc.
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