When doctors consider doing a telemedicine follow up for their patients, they often do it in a haphazard way. There is a lot of confusion about the types of medical conditions that are suitable for a telemedicine follow up. Some doctors don’t even realize this is an option.
Most medical professionals are very used to being hands-on with patients. Indeed, some medical specialties demand it. But with a little forward planning, it can be easy to deliver an effective telemedicine follow up. This saves time and money for the patient. It also opens up another potential revenue stream for doctors.
Here are three important tips for an effective Telemedicine Follow Up:
1) Know what can be diagnosed at a distance
The first step in doing a Telemedicine Follow Up is to decide what can and can’t be done remotely. If a patient needs to be physically seen in the office, then this cannot be replaced with a telemedicine follow up. A full telemedicine diagnosis may require further information, but a follow up can be fairly simple.
In most cases, doctors are using a Telemedicine Follow Up for simple everyday monitor their progress, note any reported symptoms, talk through medications, review lab results, and generally check-in.
2) Decide on specific times for follow ups
One of the traps of telemedicine is that patients suddenly expect 24/7 access. A Telemedicine follow up should not become a burden for the doctor. Rather it is meant to streamline the process.
The best way to make sure this happens is to set specific days or times of day. Explain the process to patients and let them know to request a follow up rather than a consultation. Let them know the fee up front so there is no confusion about it being a free call.
3) Delegate all simple questions to the team
Very often doctors and medical teams will confuse a telemedicine follow up with answering questions. These are not the same things. Simple, repeated questions can typically be answered by the team.
To make your list of patient questions, think about what patients typically phone in about. Do they have quick questions to remedy small concerns? Are there side affects for some medications that may need to be checked? What other things do they call you about after hours?
These types of questions and concerns can often be handled with FAQ lists. Or your team can speak with the patient and answer them on your behalf. However if a patient is repeatedly using questions to avoid coming in, a telemedicine visit may be a better solution. It means the doctor is getting paid for the visit, and the patient is valuing the experience more.
Whether you’re working in outpatient or inpatient settings, offering Telemedicine Follow-Ups is a great way to care for patients. Telemedicine Follow up care can help ensure patients keep necessary routines. It can mean reduced readmissions, better care coordination and better overall patient outcomes.