Many doctors are looking at how to launch a telehealth service. Doctors today are familiar with the telehealth virtual consultation model. Telehealth a few years ago was a new concept, but today it is becoming as common as using Uber, Airbnb and Venmo.
Doctors want to add the convenience and customization of telehealth services to their medical clinic. There is profit to be made and patients want the ease of remote visits.
The challenge is to know how to get started in a way that doesn’t interrupt your regular workday and can add value to both the patients and the office.
Here are 5 suggestions to help you launch a telehealth service in your medical clinic.
1) Choose a team member to lead
The success of launching a telemedicine service in your medical practice won’t happen by accident. You will need a dedicated team member who leads the project.
Think of it as a new section of your services that will take time, and need tweaking as you go. Choose a person on the team who has a good understanding of both technology and the patient relationship. Find someone who has an interest in moving the clinic forward and making a difference in the lives of patients. These values will be important as the launch will be challenging at first.
One tip is to plan a weekly meeting to review the progress with your telehealth team leader. Talk through the project and any challenges together. This will empower them and make them feel more focussed on main git a success.
2) Understand the rules and terminology
Telemedicine regulations will vary by state to state and insurance payer. It is important to know the specific rules such as your state’s law and the billing guidelines for all of your major insurance carriers. This A-Z Telehealth guide may help you guide your patients and help smooth over any confusion.
3) Decide on a platform
Perhaps the most difficult part of deciding on to launch a telehealth service is which platform to use. Each telemedicine provider will have their own benefits. Some are less expensive but offer little customization. Some offer more customization or better Telemedicine EHR integration than others.
It is important to know how much extra work a new technology will create, alongside any costs. Remember the time you spend working out the bugs is a key factor in the success or failure of your telemedicine implementation.
4) Start slow and test your process
Many offices will think launching telehealth means diving in the deep end and offering it to all patients immediately. All this will do is cause headaches. It is better to start slow, perhaps offering one or two telehealth visit slots per day, to begin with for the first 2-4 weeks. Then you can track the progress, refine the process and slowly and profitability of those telehealth visits.
5) Offer and Market to your best patients first
You probably have a pool of long term patients who are easy to deal with and have more common, easily remedied complaints. These are the ideal group to start with. This is because they are not likely to cause extra challenges above and beyond getting used to the technology. If you have an established relationship, this makes it easier as well, as they are more understanding that this is a new service.
This guide to launch a telehealth service in your medical clinic is just the start. There is no denying it will be a challenge but is well worth the effort. It will offer a new way to care for your patients and grow your profitability. If you think through the steps, and stay the course, teleahealth will become another successful, beneficial offering for your patients.