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!
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.
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:
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:
…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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Startup costs for telehealth businesses can vary greatly depending on the following factors:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.