In recent years telehealth services have become more common. While they have their benefits, it is important that patients and providers alike take steps to make sure these visits are of the highest quality possible. Telehealth visits take the form of either telephone calls or video conferences using services like FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp, etc. We use these apps for daily communication between family and friends, but an added level of diligence should be employed when individuals are making health decisions.
What Due Diligence Looks Like In Telehealth
The following tips should ensure your telemedicine visit is as stress-free as possible.
Prepare Your Environment
When your appointment is in the office, it’s easy enough to close the door to signal to your staff that you need your privacy to concentrate on your patient. When you’re alone in a room, the social cues are different. Your patients deserve your full attention and the same quiet environment no matter the type of appointment. Remove distractions and make sure your staff knows that you are in an appointment even if you’re not in a patient room.
Use The Best Webcam Available
There are studies that show as much as eighty percent of all communication is non-verbal. Taking this into consideration, it should come as no surprise that your patient isn’t getting the full message if they can’t make you out on the screen. While it isn’t necessary to break the bank on film quality equipment, making sure your equipment is modern and properly set up is imperative to conveying messages completely during your telehealth appointment.
Use The Best Audio Equipment Available
As important as the video equipment is, we need to make sure quality audio isn’t left by the wayside. While it is possible to get away with built-in microphones, it is definitely not recommended. It is also unnecessary. Thanks to the growth of the gaming industry and podcasting, there are plenty of high-quality microphones at very affordable prices. As with the video portion of our list, audio is just as important to delivering nonverbal cues. Inflections say a lot.
Ensure The Best Connection Available
Your time is finite and getting more scarce, so the last thing you want to do is lose half of your appointment to an “offline status.” The next to last thing you want is to be forced to start from zero again. Making sure you can give your patient the time they deserve and that you need requires a solid connection. Avoid wireless connections whenever possible and start with the most bandwidth you can get from your ISP.
Stay Focused On Patient
Not being in the same room can make it harder to feel like you are not engaging properly with your patient. Communication through a screen can be taxing on everyone involved, so it’s important to go the extra mile when it is the option you have. Make sure that you are asking questions and keeping your patient involved in the conversation. You have to rely on your patient to fill in gaps you can’t necessarily see so keeping everyone engaged and working towards the most efficient transfer of information is imperative.
Be Detailed With Your Instructions
You’re not in the office. You’re not sending your patient away with tangible “instructions” handouts. To ensure the best chances of your patient implementing the appropriate care, you must be clear and detailed. Skipping steps you assume are obvious is always a danger, but it is especially troublesome when the setting feels less formal. When possible, include emails of any physical deliverables.
Make Sure You’re Paying Attention To Changes In Telemedicine Guidelines
Recent years have been characterized by upheaval in how we handle certain types of appointments. In the same way, rules in regard to billing, coding, and handling appointment types have been the norm. Ignorance of these changes is, unfortunately, not an acceptable excuse. Looking towards experienced companies like Medical Billing Authority can help avoid issues.