How to Implement a Sustainable Telehealth Program In Your Clinic

Learn how to effectively integrate a top-notch telehealth program into your healthcare practice.

Telehealth adoption has gained momentum after the Сovid-19 outbreak. Before the pandemic, we could not have imagined integrating remote healthcare into regular physicians’ practices so quickly. However, by spring of 2020, many healthcare facilities worldwide adopted telehealth programs in weeks.

Medical clinic software allows healthcare providers to continuously provide patient care regardless of geographical location or time zone. With telehealth, patients can more effectively engage in their therapy process, manage chronic diseases, and access specialty care. Learn what steps you can take to start sustainably integrating a telemedicine program into your clinic, while reaching your goals and abiding by all legal regulations.

Benefits of implementing a telehealth program

Telemedicine helps physicians in multiple ways, from reducing patient wait times and no-show rates to billing automation, improved coordination with colleagues, and a decreased workload. Check out more benefits of adopting telemedicine below.

#1 Increased patient satisfaction

Patients may not be able to reach their physician’s office due to ​​external circumstances and personal issues, such as high healthcare and travel expenses, long distances to medical facilities, no affordable childcare opportunities, or fears of catching an infection.

Remote healthcare relieves these burdens, allowing for flexible virtual appointments without decreasing patient treatment quality. By leveraging medical clinic software, physicians can control their availability and create an appointment calendar and make it visible to patients. For example, patients can set up an appointment simply by clicking on the booking page on a clinic’s website and picking a time slot that best suits them.

#2 Reduced operating costs

A clinic loses revenue when a patient skips their scheduled appointment or cancels it at the last minute. Telehealth programs help prevent no-shows and can positively affect your facility’s finances. Using clinic management software allows physicians to send automated appointment reminders to patients at specific times, for example, a day and a few hours before their appointment.

Furthermore, healthcare providers can create their own refund rules. If a patient cancels an appointment less than 24 hours before the scheduled time, the practitioner may stipulate that the patient cannot get their money back. Also, clinics can reduce general operating expenses, including costs of medical office spaces, equipment, and front desk support.

#3 Secure patient health records 

While providing virtual care, healthcare providers are responsible for patient health data privacy and integrity. By choosing a secure medical software solution that complies with telehealth HIPAA requirements, patients can entrust their sensitive data to physicians without fearing that third parties could access their information.

Telehealth software providers like ExpertBox know the potential legal risks to patient data privacy and have adopted policies to prevent them. As a result, when physicians use HIPAA-compliant software like ExpertBox, patients receive quality virtual healthcare and can feel secure.

#4 Reduced administrative burden

Paperwork and non-clinical administrative duties can significantly burden physicians and other medical employees, cutting into their time treating patients.

The good news is that most manual tasks can be automated using telehealth software, reducing the clinical staff’s workload. Full-featured telemedicine platforms, such as ExpertBox, include client and team management functionalities to take over operational and administrative tasks without installing third-party programs and apps.

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With a reduced administrative burden, your medical employees can be more productive and can more effectively deliver quality healthcare services.

How to build your telehealth program in six easy steps

To achieve long-term success in providing virtual healthcare in your clinic, consider taking the following steps:

#1 Build a team and set roles

You cannot build a successful telehealth workflow without defining each team member’s responsibilities and goals. Your telehealth team may include healthcare providers from diverse specialties, medical assistants, nurses, front desk support, and administrative and IT staff.

For example, your clinical administrative staff’s goals may be to cover everyday operations, like scheduling, and solve administrative challenges. The IT department may be tasked with overseeing the functioning and maintenance of the telehealth software, ensuring the electronic patient health records are secure and providing help desk support.

#2 Train your personnel

By regularly training your staff, you can ensure your telehealth adoption will be seamless. Take a look at some of our tips on effectively educating your team on telehealth technology below:

  • Create surveys to check your staff’s readiness, and share a FAQ cheat sheet to help them prepare. Your sheet could explain how telehealth works, what patient health issues physicians can treat virtually, and how implementing telehealth can save operating costs.
  • Ask your technology vendor for staff training on how to use their software. Most telehealth vendors provide free employee training.
  • Educate your staff using their preferred training methods. You could offer webinars, demos, practical activities, and live sessions or a mix of methods.
  • Conduct user testing sessions to determine if your staff has developed the appropriate practical skills in using the software. This will help you identify your employees’ pain points and find ways to address them.
  • Evaluate your staff’s knowledge after training by administering tests and using real-world tasks.

#3 Investigate state licensure requirements

To provide virtual care, healthcare providers must have proper medical licensing. Typically, a physician must acquire licensure in the state where the patient is located. However, licensing policies differ depending on the state you want to practice telehealth in. You should talk with a legal adviser to learn more about all aspects of the licensing process you will need to follow.

You can visit the Medical Licensure Compact’s website to learn more about each state’s licensure requirements.

#4 Looking into insurance and reimbursement

To learn more about insurance and reimbursement, start with gathering information about your telehealth policies’ coverage and the types of telehealth services you can be reimbursed for. You can ask a malpractice insurer for professional advice to better understand your insurance plans.

If you are providing remote care across state lines, you should also check whether your policies cover telemedicine services in those states.

You may need to add additional coverage to practice in an additional state, and you may need to consider getting cyber liability insurance to protect against fraud.

#5 Employ technology

Selecting a quality telemedicine technology vendor is critical to integrating telehealth services sustainably.

Your software should match your clinic’s needs and objectives and be HIPAA-compliant. That means healthcare providers should be able to hold secure video and audio appointments and communicate with patients via a built-in secure chat.

By using full-featured HIPAA-compliant solutions, there’s no need to use third-party apps to manage payments or store electronic patient health records. Also, consider choosing technology that provides a convenient user experience and offers 24/7 customer support.

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#6 Think of your patients’ online experience

To ensure your telehealth program launch goes smoothly, your team should keep the patient experience in mind. The more efficient your digital experience is, the greater the chance of you attracting new patients. You should address all stages of the patient digital experience, from appointment scheduling to gathering feedback. Make sure to:

  • Provide your patients with self-booking options to make their booking process as convenient as possible
  • Run a pre-visit technical check-in with the patient before the appointment to ensure your patient has no technology issues
  • Use great webside manner practices to make your patients feel confident and at ease.

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Final thoughts

Telehealth solutions can help reduce travel burdens, improve access to healthcare services, overcome clinical staff shortages, and improve patient continuity of care. Telehealth can also lower operating costs and boost your clinic’s revenue by reducing patient wait times and improving patient retention.

Would you like to know how to run your clinic more efficiently and launch a top-notch telehealth program? Try ExpertBox for free.