As of 2020, as much as 48% of physicians in the United States offered telemedicine services for the convenience of their patients. This percentage has only increased over the past year due to the outbreak of the global Coronavirus pandemic. With the rapid advancement of “touch-free” telehealth care, now is the perfect time to consider establishing your online practice. Several critical factors go into setting up a legitimate telehealth business, however, and you need to understand them thoroughly before you get started. Here are some of the top points to keep in mind as you create a flourishing telehealth practice.
The Two Main Types of Telehealth Services
While each telehealth service has unique benefits, functionality, and services, they tend to fall under two broad categories; synchronous and asynchronous. The difference between these two telehealth types primarily revolves around how information is exchanged between patient and physician.
Synchronous Telehealth Services
Telehealth services that are synchronous support two-way audiovisual connections between the healthcare provider and their patients to substitute in-person doctor visits with video appointments. This involves real-time communication through video conferencing that allows doctors to speak directly with their patients.
Asynchronous Telehealth Services
Asynchronous telehealth services can transmit a patient’s medical history records to their healthcare provider without connecting patients and doctors directly. In short, patients upload their information onto the telehealth platform for their doctors to access, allowing them to follow the progression of the patient’s treatment plan.
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Essential Tips For Establishing Your Telehealth Practice
Know Your State’s Regulations and Reimbursement Rules
This step is an essential piece to setting up an effective telehealth practice. Different states have a wide range of laws, regulations, and policies regarding telemedicine, specifically reimbursement. At present, 37 states have established telehealth parity laws, which require reimbursement for remote visits between patients and doctors. It’s critical to remember that states do not have a uniform approach to these laws, so you’ll need to understand the specific requirements involved in your state.
Have Clear and Attainable Goals
As you work to establish your telehealth practice, you’ll need to have clear, achievable goals that your practice will need to succeed. These goals should be able to be measured objectively as you go forward by keeping track of several critical elements, some of which include:
- No-shows and appointment cancellations
- Wait times
- Patient satisfaction
- Staff efficiency
- Patient retention and the addition of new patients
Fully Engage Your Staff
The development of a telemedicine practice will result in significant impacts on your medical practice overall, so you should ensure that plenty of your staff is involved and prepared to handle the launch of your new services. It may be helpful to establish a specialized task force of staff to take on various roles within the new practice, including doctors who provide telehealth services to patients and people to help schedule telehealth appointments. Get these members of your staff involved in the early development of your new practice and allow them to help you shape an effective, successful telehealth service.
Find the Right Tech Provider
There are several different telehealth providers that you can choose from when establishing your telehealth services. It’s essential that you select a successful provider that can meet your business requirements effectively, such as SessionCare. No matter what provider you choose, their services should include:
- Usability, compatibility, and functionality
- Data security
- Healthcare compliance with HIPAA
- Robust services
- Quick and effective tech support
- Methods for checking patient reimbursement eligibility
- Effective integration with your EHR solutions
Determine How Your Practice Will Use Telemedicine
There isn’t a universal model for effective telehealth utilization. Every provider will have a tailored approach that meets whatever sort of unique needs their practice requires. You may consider dedicating specific times to only telehealth appointments, or you may have them going while also taking in-person meetings. You may also find it practical to offer telehealth appointments outside your regular hours of operation. At the end of the day, it will depend on what you and your staff are capable of taking on effectively.
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Market All Elements of Your Service
When you first launch your telehealth practice, it’s essential that you market all of the benefits, features, and services available to your patients. They should know about all of the appointment options now available to them. It won’t do your business any good to start accepting video appointments if none of your patients know you offer them, after all. Consider sending out notification emails, putting up signs around your office, and having your staff mention video-appointment options when meeting with patients in person. Many people are currently looking for effective online providers, so knowing that you offer telehealth services may help you not only retain loyal patients but attract new ones as well.
Measure Your Success, Track Your Goals, and Get Feedback
Once you start finally taking on telehealth visits, you’re going to want to start regularly checking your progress towards your established goals. It’s also a great idea to request employee and patient feedback on your new services so you can identify and remediate any potential issues and develop the best services possible. Keeping on top of these elements will help you to create a successful telehealth practice that’s able to earn revenue while fully meeting the needs and expectations of your patients.
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