Telehealth is one of healthcare’s greatest assets, yet, it can also feel overwhelming at first glance. To help consolidate your understanding and guide you along what is considered to be one of the health industry’s most revolutionary ways of delivering medical solutions, we have simplified a range of questions that you may have. From the basics of telehealth to its composition and future impact, we’ve covered all bases!
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth refers to the delivery of healthcare services remotely and is inclusive of both non-clinical and clinical environments. Telehealth is an excellent way to provide a place for healthcare professionals to connect with clients in a safe and accessible space, and especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, it has quickly become the leading option for healthcare visits. According to the CDC, telehealth visits have grown by 50%, with more and more patients appreciating the convenience of receiving consults from the comfort of their homes. It can take on many forms, such as video conferencing or messaging services, and implementing its services into your business can prove highly beneficial for both patients and practitioners.
Types of Telehealth Care
Telehealth makes a great option as it is highly flexible in its form, meaning that it can cater towards many different healthcare disciplines and needs, and is not exclusive to video consulting, which is typically what comes to mind. As a growing technology, there’s almost no limit to what telehealth can do for your business, and as a result, it is one of the simplest ways to access healthcare. For your convenience, we have listed some of the most common types of telehealthcare that you can incorporate into your healthcare business:
- Online counseling - Telehealth is a great way to provide access to therapy services, as its video consulting software means you can meet clients from anywhere in the world, and at any time.
- Measuring vital signs - You can collect rich data concerning a patient’s physiological health, including measuring weight, blood pressure, and sugar levels, as well as sleeping patterns. There is a treasure trove of information waiting to be discovered with its use!
- Remote monitoring - Telehealth is perfect for monitoring certain patient health information, as it eliminates the need for check-up visits unless necessary, and also strengthens connections in having close contact with a patient’s health.
- Health education - Telehealth can be used as an educational tool to spread awareness concerning health issues
- Remote sign-ins - Telehealth doesn’t have to be a huge investment or component of your business if you don’t want it to be. Its services can be used to simply sign in remotely, with pre-screenings, before patients enter a clinic.
- Prescription management - In providing various communication channels, and with the potential to evaluate patient health, it is much easier to manage patient responsibility when it comes to prescriptions.
- Follow-ups - Telehealth is great to remove commute costs by providing a virtual place to have post-surgical and rehabilitation follow-ups. Patients will only need to come into the clinic if deemed necessary.
Who can use Telehealth?
Telehealth services aren’t exclusive to any specific healthcare discipline, and their benefits are extended to both patients and practitioners equally. It is designed with both interests in mind, and for any area of health, including:
- Mental health
- Physical therapy
- Children and family specialists
…And many more!
Telehealth is an organizational tool that can be used for practitioners to schedule appointments, streamline business processes, and consult with clients, but it can also be used for any patient that needs to access specialist care, health information, medical records, and even payment information. With clinical document storage, as well as medical billing and coding processes, there’s no limit to telehealth’s use, and whatever your area of care, you can work towards effective healthcare treatment delivery that your patients will be sure to love.
Why is Telehealth important?
Telehealth is highly significant within the healthcare space, as it provides an accessible and convenient way for patients to receive healthcare services and treatment. It’s a modern-day solution for many health issues, and can work towards meeting and exceeding patient and business goals. If this doesn’t convince you, here are some highlights of why integrating its services can prove highly beneficial to your healthcare clinic.
- Wide reach - Isolated individuals who may live in isolated or rural communities can now have access to healthcare services
- Continued effectiveness - According to scientific studies, online healthcare services can prove just as effective as in-person, making them a perfectly good substitute
- Safe storage - Telehealth services can be easily stored online, and in a much securer way than a simple filing cabinet. Patient information, documents, and evaluations are all in good hands
- Minimizing spread - Especially within the COVID-19 climate, telehealth significantly reduces the risk of illnesses and diseases spreading, with no face-to-face contact
- Conserves equipment - Because telehealth services don’t often require as much, if any, medical equipment, you can prolong its use for those who still require in-person visits.
The Difference between Telehealth and Telemedicine
When talking about telehealth, a very common question that arises concerns the difference between telehealth and telemedicine. It’s a great question, because at first glance, it can be very easy to confuse the two concepts and conflate them together. While they are both related, they each have their own nuances that separate them, and it’s important to recognize this distinction so you know you’re addressing the right ideas.
- A broad field of healthcare that uses virtual software to deliver solutions.
- Includes health information and education services, meaning that any education form related to health is considered telehealth.
- Inclusive of non-clinical and clinical environments.
- Patients can be educated concerning the status of their health, but can also be seen, treated, and diagnosed.
- Telehealth can involve remote physician appointments with distance technology, as well as remote monitoring and vital sign measurements. It has broad uses for any healthcare concerning practice that needs a process delivered through online technology.
- Can be used to provide training for staff members within the healthcare workspace.
- A distinct form of telehealth, that also uses virtual software and technology.
- Refers to the direct services from a healthcare provider to their patient, through a form of telecommunication technology.
- Within a clinical environment.
- Telemedicine can provide specialist treatment to individuals.
- This may involve sharing of medical testing, imaging, and treatments via distance.
- Ideally, telemedicine is used for specialist appointments, especially to help treat those in isolated or rural communities. This can take place through the form of video conferencing, emailing, messaging, or simple phone calls.
- Doesn’t typically involve educational aspects, and is mainly used as a form of medicinal treatment.
What is used in Telehealth technology?
Telehealth technology has been designed in collaboration with healthcare professionals to ensure that it is easily accessible by any practitioner, regardless of their technical skill. However, it is useful to understand what the typical telehealth technology forms are, so you can make educated decisions regarding what’s best for you. There are two main types of software implemented within telehealth services, and depending on the needs of your business, one may reap more benefits than the other.
- Cloud-based technology - Commonly used by businesses, this type of software stores encrypted data within an online space called ‘the cloud’. This means that the files are scrambled within a remote server, which makes it incredibly difficult to hack. When it comes to healthcare, security is always a top priority, so cloud-based technology is a great way to secure sensitive patient data, and is often the preference of telehealth services.
- Client-server technology - The less popular option, client-server-based technology requires software and hardware installation in your practice. This can be rather expensive, as you need to pay for the software and hardware itself, and this is also in addition to licensing fees. If you don’t have much expertise in the technology industry, then you may also need to hire IT experts for support.
Technology Essentials for Telehealth
There are various tools that you must consider when implementing telehealth services, as there are specific requirements that must be fulfilled in addition to implementing the software. You need to ensure that your service includes all of the following to be able to provide valuable and useful treatment to patients.
- A compatible device - Nowadays, telehealth can be used on almost every device, which includes computers and mobile devices. However, you need to ensure that whatever software system you choose is compatible with the device you own and intend to use. This may mean upgrading technology or devices to ensure everyone is working on the same devices, or has access to one.
- High-quality camera - If using video conferencing services, it’s important that you have a high-quality camera that captures a high resolution. Not only does it look more professional, but it encourages patients to do the same, and many physicians require high resolutions to be able to deliver suitable treatment, particularly when viewing medical imagery or physiological symptoms.
- High-quality microphone - If you don’t have working audio, then it is likely to render your healthcare sessions useless. Your patient needs to be able to hear you in order to effectively communicate, so you must have a microphone that is clear and picks up every word you say. Your dictation shouldn’t be muffled or contaminated with other noises, so you can provide the best care for your patient.
- Remote monitoring - You must also have devices that allow for remote monitoring, as this means you can measure a patient’s vital signs, such as their blood pressure, blood sugar levels and sleeping patterns all from a distance. This can create an integrated healthcare experience, where you can eliminate the need for check-ups if able to measure patient health from wherever you are.
- Broadband internet - Although it seems self-explanatory, you must also have a strong internet connection to be able to handle online business processes, in addition to having to be able to sustain connections with patients. There’s nothing more frustrating than the hassle of slow internet, so using a fiber connection is a must-have when it comes to healthcare.
The benefits of Telehealth
Although it may seem overwhelming or daunting, telehealth will provide your business with immeasurable benefits that will make the process all the more worthwhile. Telehealth can greatly elevate the quality of your service, and boost growth and productivity within your practice, as well as treatment that your patients will come to love. To consolidate your understanding, we have compiled and summarized the top 10 reasons why you should implement telehealth into your business processes.
- Increased accessibility - A large barrier preventing patients from seeking healthcare is accessibility, as many individuals who live in rural areas find it difficult to make the commute and book to see specialists at a time that suits them. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this barrier only stronger with the need for social distancing, and other physical restrictions. Telehealth is a great way to provide such patients with easy access, as they are able to video conference from the comfort of their own home.
- Stronger patient engagement - Telehealth provides a new way for practitioners to engage with their patients, and supports the fostering of deeper and closer professional relationships. Telehealth encourages patients to play a larger and more managerial role within their healthcare journey, as patients can assess their own records and manage their own requests. For instance, patients who may be chronically ill can be more closely monitored and have self-care strategies administered in-between appointments.
- Reduced overhead costs - By incorporating telehealth into your healthcare practice, you can save immense overhead costs, which include facility rent, repairs, phone bills, in-store advertising, and insurance. Going virtual eliminates many of these costs, and the ability to streamline costs means you can also cut down on labor and administrative staff, with less spent on physical facilities.
- Reduced patient costs - In addition to overhead costs for your business, telehealth can also benefit patients by lowering expenses in accessing healthcare. This includes eliminating commute costs, the time taken off work, as well as any childcare and parking fees. Telehealth provides an equal playing field when it comes to healthcare, and avoids costly expenses for those who have limited access, such as minimizing the risk of going to hospitals for non-urgent care.
- Broader clientele - Telehealth also allows practitioners to see more patients, as the appointments are typically shorter than the normal in-person visits. There’s no need to check-in or out, and patients have more freedom concerning the time of their appointments, meaning practitioners can fit more in a day. Because telehealth accesses those in rural communities, physicians can also reach a broader number of patients.
- Fewer no-shows - Telehealth is fantastic at reducing no-shows by up to 95%, as they offer features such as appointment reminders so patients remember to show up. With easy rescheduling and cancellation options, you can make sure that you reduce costly no-shows.
- Optimized workflow - Improving efficiency should always be a top priority within healthcare businesses, to ensure that you’re able to see as many patients as resources allow. Telehealth is a great way to optimize workflow as it allows appointments to be prioritized, and with greater accuracy tools and storage of clinical documents and notes, you can streamline your workflow for greater decision-making.
- Higher patient satisfaction - Because telehealth reduces patient costs and provides greater accessibility to services, it makes sense for there to be a positive correlation between telehealth use and patient satisfaction, as research suggests. This is a great way to strengthen your professional relationship with clients and ensure a high-quality service.
- Improved quality of care - Because telehealth streamlines many workflow processes, as well as freeing up time and resources, this means you can spend time on what truly matters; caring for your patients. This leads to better communication and consistency within clinical treatment outcomes, which contributes to an overall improvement in quality of care.
- Advanced business models - Telehealth provides a new perspective when it comes to healthcare, and as a result, you can look at things from a new and fresh way to contribute towards, and develop, better business models. As a highly competitive industry, advanced business models are a great asset to setting yourself apart, as well as above and beyond the competition.
While there are clear advantages to telehealth services, it’s important to acknowledge that there are some disadvantages to its use. Many of these reasons are why many healthcare professionals are hesitant to implement its services, and so, recognizing disadvantages can help inform you on whether telehealth is within your capabilities of handling. In saying that, bear in mind that many of these challenges can be easily overcome!
- Implementation costs - Depending on the software and services you choose, telehealth can be a costly endeavor. There are many aspects that go into its services, besides the software itself, including security inputs, as well as hiring any IT experts who can help with the technological infrastructure. Many software platforms do offer different prices, but some don’t contain all the essential features you need, meaning that combining platforms can result in even higher costs.
- Technical knowledge - Many healthcare businesses avoid telehealth services due to the lack of confidence in their technical skills to be able to carry out virtual business processes. Because it heavily involves technology, many physicians shy away from its services, with the assumption that it is too complicated to incorporate into their practice.
- Lack of in-person contact - It can be challenging to conduct many examinations and tests through online services, as connections can drop out, and patients may not have the highest quality cameras and microphones. This lack of in-person contact has the potential to affect certain tests, with less care continuity, and there also may be a lack of personal touch when it comes to connecting with your patients. Many clients want to feel heard, and clinicians feel that dealing with matters in person elicits better reception and less alienation.
- Privacy concerns - Naturally, dealing with telehealth means working with challenges posed by online services. Patient privacy is a huge one, as there is the potential for sensitive medical record data to be leaked, which can be detrimental if not quickly controlled. Not only is it a violation of HIPAA guidelines, but it can escalate to immensely large financial fines and penalties.
- Liability ambiguity - Because telehealth is a fairly new way to conduct business processes within healthcare, its regulations and laws are ever-changing and evolving. It can take some time to wrap your head around what is legally required, and the subject isn’t always entirely straightforward. Using telehealth means continuous brush-ups on the essentials of healthcare policies, and paying attention to any updates or amendments.
- Reimbursement issues - Some healthcare providers don’t have the same coverage costs as they would for in-person services, meaning that telehealth is not a viable option. Logistically, in-person services make more sense when it comes to financing, and what equipment and resources can be covered.
- Training expenses - Telehealth is an investment, as it requires all staff to be up to speed on virtual business processes, and so more training may be required. With the introduction of telehealth comes new responsibilities, and this needs to be an important factor considered within telehealth implementation.
It’s important to acknowledge that there are also challenges existent within rural communities when it comes to telehealth services. Because of the extensive distance, those who live rurally are simply unable to access many of the services that those in urban areas can.
- Limited device access - Within rural areas, there is a statistically higher likelihood of patients not having access to mobile phones, computers, laptops, as well as other software devices needed to run telehealth services. These devices must also be up-to-date in order to handle technological capabilities associated with telehealth services.
- Limited internet - Approximately 30% of rural residents don’t have access to high-speed broadband, which is an especially significant barrier when considering telehealth makes full use of internet service.
- Tricky interoperability - It’s important that electronic health information is able to be easily exchanged across healthcare providers, in the case that patients need to be referred to other practitioners. In rural areas, this task is more difficult due to a lack of interoperability in comparison to highly populated, large, urban providers.
- Sustainability and engagement issues - In rural areas, where there are typically lower patient volumes, it can be difficult to fully engage with specialists as demand is very sporadic. Specialists are likely to be needed elsewhere where demand is continually high.
How to overcome Telehealth challenges
Despite there being obvious challenges to telehealth services, it is important to note that many of these barriers can be overcome. Regardless of your skill, location, or resources, there are ways to alleviate any stress that may be associated with its service, and you can control adversities with the right knowledge. To help you, we have created a checklist to troubleshoot and overcome telehealth issues, so you can reap the benefits of telehealth. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and we’re here to show you!
Have stable wifi - Slow connections are frustrating to deal with, and when image and video resolution fails to load, it can be increasingly difficult to communicate with patients. Video conferencing, audio calls, and messaging services will make it challenging to hold a conversation, so investing in a secure broadband network will allow for greater support, and ensure all content will load.
Establish technical support - It’s important that if any issues were to arise, you have the proper resources in place for staff and patients to refer to if needed. Hiring IT experts who are knowledgeable in the technology industry means you can provide a higher quality of service with efficient customer support, and practitioners, who may not have the IT skills, don’t have to be troubled by patients' queries. Additionally, you could also supply educational resources within your online services so patients can make easy fixes themselves.
Implement interoperable systems - To provide a high continuity of care across your business processes, and to make sure that information is easily accessible and shareable, you must establish secure interoperable systems. This way, you can reduce any mix-ups, and encourage cooperation across different departments. Activating communication channels for clinicians and IT departments allows easy access to medical records, and ensures encrypted servers are keeping patient data private along with all business steps.
Research your software - An essential to ensure that all patients can use the software you provide, is to research into different types of software, and how they can meet your business needs. Each platform will offer different features, and you need to ensure that whatever you choose, it is easy to use, by both your staff and your patients. Investing time into the research process will also allow you to stay within your budget, and that the telehealth software you choose won’t incur large expenses!
Develop your organizational culture - Despite telehealth services being online, you need to ensure that you prioritize education and empowerment within the workplace. Everyone needs to not only understand how the technical aspects operate, but also feel appreciated and that their work is contributing to the improvement in the quality of care. Through agile team-based care, you can strengthen collaboration, and work towards meeting patient needs.
Create a learning network - For rural residents, the last thing you want to contribute to is their isolation. Their reduced specialist access means you need to place more emphasis on engagement, and to minimize disconnect from the healthcare community. Creating a learning network by reaching out to individuals can prove highly beneficial for your service, and for the wider healthcare goals of rural communities.
Pay attention - It’s important that in your day-to-day operations, you keep up to date with healthcare policies, standards, and regulations to ensure that you remain legally compliant. These can evolve throughout the year and over time, so you must keep an eye out for any changes, as they can affect a variety of business areas, such as your security processes and reimbursement costs.
Prioritize HIPAA - One of the central components to telehealth is HIPAA compliance, as you must protect and secure patient data at all times. Failure to do so can lead to massive financial and legal repercussions that can severely damage your reputation. Ensuring that you use the recommended encryption level, amongst other processes, will mean that you can effectively handle private medical records and documents.
The essentials of a Telehealth business
It can be overwhelming when thinking of how and where to start when it comes to telehealth businesses, as there are many things you need to consider in order to drive your business towards success. To simplify the planning process, we have compiled some top tips that you should know before you embark on your telehealth business journey.
- Establish a purpose - It’s important that you decide on the purpose and vision for your practice, as your following business decisions will be impacted by this. Some healthcare disciplines, such as psychology and counseling, are easily able to transition online and use telehealth as their sole delivery method, whereas other practices may have to cherry-pick what aspects telehealth is used for. Decide on the telehealth services that you will offer, so the research and planning process is more straightforward for you.
- Select a platform - In accordance with HIPAA guidelines, you’ll need to select a platform that will help you achieve your healthcare goals, and that can effectively optimize your workflow and prioritize your patients’ needs. Every platform offers different features, so you need to ensure that it has all the features you need, and that it can safely store encrypted information. This research process may take a while, but don’t let that concern you.
- Market - At the end of the day, you’re still running a business, and so you need to implement business processes, which include marketing. You should inform your patients of the features they can access and the services that are available. Sending mail-outs, as well as advertising across your online platforms can also attract more clientele, which is always an advantage.
- Take note of regulations - There’s no use starting a telehealth business if it’s not compliant with the law. Before you offer your services to anyone, you must ensure that you understand, recognize, and comply with local laws and regulations to avoid costly penalties.
- Incorporate the right support - It’s important that you have the right clinical setup, with sufficient technological resources in place to be able to support any software you implement within your practice.
Startup costs for telehealth businesses can vary greatly depending on the following factors:
- Patient volume
- Number of staff
- The scope of the services that you provide
- The degree of development within your current software
- Additional technical requirements, including computer systems, cameras, high-quality recording software
Depending on the size of your business, costs can vary intensely and can start anywhere from $10,000, all the way up to $500,00 on average. Understandably, there are exceptions to this, and expenses can be made much cheaper or expensive depending on your needs, capabilities, and where you want to take your healthcare business.
Types of cost structures
App development is essential to begin a telehealth business, as it allows for configurations of features according to your business needs and patient demands. As a rule of thumb, the cost will vary depending on the number of features, such as appointment scheduling and reminders, video conferencing and messaging services, clinical document and note storage, chat boxes, medical billing and coding resources, and more. This can range anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 for an efficient app.
Depending on the size and scope of your business, some platforms will be more clearly suited to your needs, and can better accomplish the tasks you set out to complete. Platforms can incorporate data analytics, encrypted server technology, integrated software, as well as other features. Telehealth technology must be HIPAA compliant, and naturally, meeting these requirements may involve investing in more expensive aspects. Investing in a platform can range from $50,000 to $300,000.
A good business plan will serve as the backbone for telehealth business companies, as it should detail a budget that is realistic to your goals and the resources that you plan to incorporate. Once that is well constructed, it should easily illuminate the avenues upon which you should be investing, and indicate where your costs and revenue break even to make a profit. While this isn’t necessarily an expensive business cost, it is a startup cost of immense time, as this process shouldn't be skimmed over in haste.
Telehealth equipment will also vary according to your business plan, what you require to be able to carry out essential processes, and what is needed to establish strong security to protect patient information. This includes having the right technology hardware such as high-quality recording systems, cameras, mobile devices, tablets, computers, or laptops. To ensure consistency, it’s best to use the same types of devices across your business, as this also makes software easier to implement. Depending on whether you upgrade your equipment, this could range from $100 to $30,000.
Kiosks are a great way to connect patients and practitioners without the hassle of booking appointments, as patients simply have to go to their nearest booth and click to meet. This isn’t always an extremely common option, but a convenient one nonetheless, so we have included it as a potential cost. These kiosks are especially handy as they can contain medical tools such as blood pressure monitors, ultrasounds, and EKGs, however, these are usually the crux of the costs. Using these can cost anywhere between $15,000 to $60,000.
There are also additional costs involved with telehealth systems, which include training, marketing and licensing costs. Training can incur reasonably large expenses depending on how educated you and your staff are. Programs are available at a range of prices and at different time lengths. They can range anywhere from $50 per person, to $200 per person. The licensing fees, as well as marketing fees on promoting your services, will incur costs, but these can be minimized according to your needs and budget.
What you should look for in a Telehealth platform
When it comes to selecting a telehealth platform for your business, it can feel overwhelming very quickly. It is a highly malleable market that is continuously advancing and growing, and with the range of apps out there and differences in capabilities, it can be difficult to pinpoint the one that is best suited to your business needs. As a result, you may find the following tips useful when it comes to choosing telehealth software.
- Easy configuration - The telehealth platform that you choose must be able to be customized to meet you and your patients’ needs. It allows you more freedom when it comes to your business, and it should be highly malleable to the changes that you wish to implement.
- Specialty care - Your telehealth services should easily complement the specialty of your practice, and ideally, provide features that benefit your particular field. Above all, you should subscribe to a platform that offers the option for patients to communicate with you as a specialized, licensed professional.
- Seamless integration - The best telehealth platforms will incorporate a range of features that integrate multiple program applications, such as providing one place that connects to an EHR database with clinical documents and notes, as well as appointment scheduling, and the typical video conferencing features.
- User-friendly interface - Regardless of technical skill or experience with technology, all patients and staff should be able to use the platform. It should be intuitive and easy to navigate, as a complicated platform can decrease service access.
- Data analytics - Data analytics is a great way to evaluate your business’ performance, and can produce valuable insight as to how to enhance your services. Based on quantifiable evidence, you can work to improve your operations and maximize your resources, and address any impending issues such as long wait times or underutilized scheduling.
Popular platforms and apps
To help you start, we have compiled some of the most popular platforms used within the healthcare industry.
Designed in collaboration with healthcare professionals, Carepatron provides a variety of high-quality features at an excellent price plan of $29USD pp/month, or for free! With top-notch HIPAA compliance, and telehealth features such as video conferencing, messaging, emailing, appointment scheduling, and clinical documentation storage, what’s not to like? Used by thousands of clinicians, it is a leading option when it comes to telehealth.
Providing a paid and free version, Doxy.me allows users to virtually ‘check in’ and use video conferencing and calling features for online consultations. All medical information is stored securely, and it is sure to meet your business needs!
Featuring a customizable workflow, eVisit offers telehealth conferencing, online payments, analytics reports, as well as appointment scheduling. It supplies everything you need to support patient needs and all in a highly configurable format.
Also providing video conferencing features, as well as digital document storage and payment options, SimplePractice is also a great way to connect and strengthen professional-patient relationships. Additionally, they can also track insurance, which is helpful when it comes to reimbursement purposes, or medical billing and coding processes.
With a broad range of flexible paid plans that cater towards clinician and user needs, Talkspace provides a place for clients to be matched with specialists that best meet their needs, contributing to overall high engagement and effective treatment.
With 27/7 support, so you always have access to the resources you need, Teladoc provides a way for you to effectively meet with clients. You can connect with patients from wherever you are, and through various different channels including messaging and calling, you can focus on elevating effective patient-practitioner communication.
Amwell supports easy access with a simple user-friendly interface, and with multiple price options, there’s something for everyone. With an integrated work system, you can also access a variety of features all from one place.
What does communication in Telehealth look like?
With telehealth, communication is the central component of its operations, as it eliminates any in-person components, and relies entirely on virtual communication and connection. While this isn’t anything new, as practitioners have used phones and radios to contact patients and fellow healthcare professionals for years; telehealth communication does provide a new perspective when it comes to how the treatment is administered. Many patients and clinicians feel that this isn’t a good thing, however, with the right practices in place, telehealth can be just as effective as in-person consultations, if not better. It’s a necessary shift that efficiently adapts to any climate, and especially the Covid ridden one we’re currently in.
There are various communication roles within telehealth services, which include some of the following.
- Communication can improve patient satisfaction and increase engagement, which alleviates any fears concerning a reduction in service quality due to being online. Many patients feel that they are heard through virtual services, due to being able to access specialist care at any time, and messages can be sent within their own time.
- Telehealth teaches and supports a new way of communicating, as it relies on verbal language, and less on body language and non-verbal communication. If using video conferencing software, then practitioners and patients must recognize and learn a new way to pick up on social cues, where such non-verbal identifiers may be less noticeable.
- With telehealth, it may be more difficult for a patient to acknowledge whether they understand what they’re being told. Once again, this stems from being online, as it can be somewhat difficult to gauge a patient’s feelings over a message without explicitly stating their comprehension. As a result, practitioners need to learn to be forward with their questions, but they also need to be more sensitive to the patient experience. This will enable a greater ‘read’ on patient responses, and improve practitioner interactions with clients.
- Good communication within telehealth is also attributed to greater patient feelings of security and safety, which is always important when it comes to healthcare. Patients need to have confidence that their medical records are kept safe, and that private information can be conversed in a safe manner without fear of it ending up in the wrong hands.
In knowing the significance of the role in communication within telehealth, it’s also important that you take into account the skills needed to flourish in its services. For instance, you need to ensure that you maintain a level of professionality, as perception can influence how patients perceive the level of treatment being administered to them. This means that practitioners need to ensure they have professional backgrounds, and that they are in appropriate attire, to make a good impression upon patients. It’s also super important that practitioners use telehealth to build rapport amongst patients and staff, as fewer in-person connections may lead some to feel alienated in their healthcare journey. For many, practitioner and patient relationships are just as effective and valuable as the treatment itself, and being able to trust the expertise given is an immeasurable value for organizations and patients. Feeling comfortable is key when it comes to your health, as you’re dealing with incredibly personal and sensitive information, so being able to strengthen these professional relationships in healthcare is a valuable asset.
Telehealth’s impact within the healthcare industry, and where to from here?
You may be curious as to how effective telehealth is, and from what we know, how is it affecting the healthcare space? Where do we go from here? Where’s the evidence? All are great questions, and all are easily answered.
The telehealth market rapidly developed into a global industry used by patients and practitioners around the world. In 2020, research suggested that the market size of the industry in the US stood at USD 144 billion, with this projected to reach more than $397 billion by 2027. It is an incredibly valuable market, especially within this Covid ridden landscape, and investing in its services will likely see exponential growth for you and your practice. Because of its more grounded, significant, and highly customizable innovation, the medical care business is expanding dramatically. Such quick development can appear to be overpowering, yet when you think about the benefits that telehealth innovation models for patients and doctors, this is a surprisingly certain and welcome change. If you have an interest in carrying out telehealth innovation into your medical care business, one of the main elements you should search for is a combination. Various types of innovation are specific for particular areas of telehealth, yet the best sorts of programming have merged these into a unified platform that carries out a range of features from just one place. Because of this convenience, integration, and cost-efficiency, telehealth is very rapidly becoming a leading option for delivering high-quality healthcare solutions.
While telehealth has been massively helpful for the worldwide pandemic in offering separate types of assistance, it has also demonstrated a strong incentive for medical care administrations past this climate.
Telehealth can be downloaded and acknowledged on pretty much any gadget, which can screen and track patient wellbeing more intently than in-person discussions at any point could. Further improvements in gadgets and innovation imply that this limit will just keep on growing. Its computerized nature additionally implies medical care staff face-to-face administrations can be utilized for the individuals who genuinely need it. With patient information scrambled within encrypted servers, for example, protection and security concerns are even less with virtual administrations. All the more, telehealth's capacity to work across various networks and organizations is an immeasurably valuable resource that can be applied to a global scale and is super useful to those who do not have easy access to healthcare services.
Telehealth is an imaginative way for patients to get treatment, as virtual innovation gives a place of refuge to examine wellbeing from the solaces of home. Its multitudes of benefits, as discussed, are completely changing how telehealth and clinical consideration are directed. Particularly during COVID-19, which presents its own unique challenges and impediments, telehealth allows clients to speak with specialists, with practically no danger of spread. Practitioners can establish a wider client base with online medical care administrations, to reach those in isolated areas, and anyone can discuss their health regardless of their schedules and location.
By far, telehealth is an essential asset when it comes to healthcare businesses, and can greatly elevate the quality and care when it comes to your practice. Restricting its benefits to a pandemic is doing telehealth a great disservice, and if you want to prioritize patient needs, incorporating telehealth will prove its worth tenfold for your medical practice.
If you’re interested in learning more about telehealth, and are willing to dive deeper into what it has to offer, then feel free to read into the following links we’ve compiled for your convenience.
- Managing your health in the age of Wi-Fi
- List of Telehealth Services
- Cost Savings for Telemedicine Estimated at $19 to $120 per Patient Visit
- Global telemedicine market to eclipse $130B by 2025
- After COVID-19, $250 billion in care could shift to telehealth
- Key changes made to telehealth guidelines to boost COVID-19 care
- The Promise of Telehealth For Hospitals, Health Systems and Their Communities, TrendWatch | AHA
- The New Language of Telehealth (Published 2020)