What is telehealth, and how does it work?
Telehealth is quickly becoming one of the leading options for receiving and implementing virtual healthcare practices, especially since the rise of COVID-19. Not only does telehealth incorporate technology to offer treatment, training, and support via distance, but it is a great organizational tool for clinicians running their practices. Some of the best telehealth platforms offer a variety of significant features, such as the ability to video call, message, and conference with clients, as well as an appointment booking system to manage and schedule appointments. With telehealth technology, patients can now receive treatment and therapy from the comfort of their homes. Clinicians may also compile clinical documentation, evaluations, notes, and tests all in one online place without compromising security.
How to start telemedicine?
Telemedicine, the specific use of remote clinical services, can be overwhelming at first glance. However, it is easy to understand what it takes to incorporate telemedicine into your clinical practice successfully. The requirements can be as basic or complex as you find the best fitting for your needs and goals.
- Secure internet - You need to have a secure internet (broadband) connection to integrate online processes into your business. The faster connection, the better, as this will enable smoother video and audio quality.
- Video platform - Having a video platform means you can connect with patients seamlessly, and it provides you with the means to offer video therapy, counseling, and other communication services. For example, this may include using Carepatron or Zoom as your video platform software.
- Technology support - To ensure a smooth and reliable telemedicine service, there needs to be online support for users who may encounter technical problems. This allows for top-quality service and minimizes interruptions to inpatient treatment.
- Clinically appropriate setup - Above all, you should assess whether the telemedicine system you have in place is suitable for not only your needs but the needs of your patients.
Finding The Best Telehealth
To find the best telehealth platforms, multiple factors need to be considered to optimize patient satisfaction and meet business goals. User needs must consistently be prioritized to achieve the best telemedicine practices, so understanding the user should be the first step. For instance, if the user intends to use telehealth technology to receive telemedicine services, the ideal telehealth platform would incorporate video messaging, calling, and conferencing features. This way, patients can communicate via distance and receive treatment, testing, and support, despite being solely online.
Alternatively, if you intend to use telehealth to improve organizational aspects of your practice, then using smart tools for healthcare teams that focus on this perspective will best fulfill your goals. This may include using telehealth to provide and manage an appointment booking system, where you can schedule appointments and review current ones within the system. Telehealth platforms can also be used for online payments and a place to view patient records and information extensively. They could provide a place for you to compile clinical documents, patient notes and confidentially view private records. For the most efficient telehealth system, this could also be incorporated along with user video conferencing needs.
What should I look for in telehealth?
While there are many telehealth platforms out there, some will undoubtedly boost your practice, while others may limit it. To ensure that you are getting the most out of the top telehealth apps, it is best to consider multiple aspects.
Tips for finding telehealth
- User-friendly design - All patients, regardless of their background and familiarity with technology, should be able to navigate your platform easily. Finding an intuitive program that is easy to use will significantly extend the scope of clients.
- Integration - The best telehealth platform should integrate multiple programs and applications you require to ensure consistency and that everything you need is in one place. This may mean choosing a platform that incorporates patient communication services, such as video conferencing, as well as places to assess patient data.
- Specialty care - Your telehealth platform should meet the needs of your chosen specialty or at least offer the option for patients to confer with specialized professionals. This is particularly important to reach those in rural or isolated communities, where there is a significant distance barrier.
- Configuration - Your telehealth platform should be unique to your practice or be customized to meet the needs of your specific clients. This not only provides a competitive edge over other practices, but it provides value for users in working with a distinct platform designed with their preferences in mind.
- Data analytics - Ideally, your platform should provide you with patient data to support the monitoring of your practice. Data analytics aids in identifying and improving potential issues and highlights valuable insight that can be used to enhance your service continually. For instance, if there are long patient wait times, data can address why this is and how to overcome this obstacle.
How do I choose a telehealth platform?
There are many great telehealth platforms out there, and so to help guide you, we have compiled some of the best telehealth platforms.
What platforms are used for telehealth?
- Carepatron - Designed in collaboration with healthcare professionals, Carepatron provides a fantastic online service that exceeds HIPAA compliance and is one of the best telemedicine platforms. A free and paid version is offered, which offers high-quality support, in addition to world-class features of appointment scheduling, clinical documentation, and video conferencing, to list a few.
- Doxy.me - A trustworthy HIPAA compliant platform, Doxy.me allows users to 'check in' virtually as they would for an in-person appointment and wait for their consultation at no cost. The paid version allows for more calling features and support, but this platform makes for a great one to meet telehealth needs.
- eVisit - A customizable workflow option, eVisit provides a place that integrates scheduling, telehealth visits, patient interaction, payment collection, and analytics reports. With various customization options, this makes this platform a good choice.
- SimplePractice - While also offering video conferencing, this platform also presents options for insurance tracking of patients, in addition to digital documentation and payment options.
Most popular telehealth apps
- Carepatron - As mentioned, Carepatron is used by thousands of healthcare professionals, with HIPAA compliance regulations and top security to ensure privacy and security of patient data. It is a popular choice for combining clinical practice needs as an organizational tool and communicating with clients. As one of the most popular telehealth apps, Carepatron offers flexible paid and free plans to meet your needs.
- Amwell - Amwell is a great direct-to-consumer telehealth provider, with a clean and easy-to-use interface for patients and clinicians. Amwell is a good choice for professional healthcare workers and patients alike with an integrated work system and various price options.
- Teladoc - Teladoc provides a range of medical specialists to help clients, in addition to well-rounded support 24/7 that allows for communication between patients and clinicians.
- Talkspace - Provides online support with licensed therapists, with a range of flexible paid plans to suit clinician and user needs. Clinicians can be matched with patients best fitting their specialty and expertise to ensure high engagement and effective treatment.
What are the benefits of using telemedicine in healthcare?
Using telemedicine in healthcare is an intuitive way to communicate with patients and organize patient data. Some of the best telehealth services will immensely boost efficiency in running your practice's day-to-day with suitable innovative designs. Making the switch to telemedicine will have immense benefits for you and your practice, including:
- Reduced cost - Using telemedicine will likely result in reduced overhead and staffing costs that are commonly associated with in-person services. This means that making the switching is more financially viable than ever.
- Efficiency - With an integrated workspace, telemedicine platforms, such as Carepatron, allow for seamless flow of patient communication and the storage of clinical documentation, as well as appointment scheduling.
- Accessibility - telemedicine means that particularly isolated communities and individuals can use your services due to its online nature. This is especially beneficial for those needing specialized services.
- COVID-19 friendly - telemedicine significantly reduces the risk of spread and virus contamination by being entirely online, with no physical contact.
With the proper evaluation, telemedicine could be a highly profitable and viable solution to meet you and your patient's needs.