The Ultimate Guide to Harnessing Telehealth Technology

Surya Yadav

Telehealth is on the rise in America; in fact, some reports show that its use has soared by more than 70 percent over the last few years. As more patients realize the many benefits of virtual doctor visits, the demand for telehealth services is sure to continue to grow. Healthcare providers who can meet that demand stand to see higher patient engagement and satisfaction rates, lower operating costs, better patient outcomes, and many other advantages. 

Implementing telemedicine into your practice and using it not only to your fullest benefit but that of your patients requires certain measures. This guide will help you effectively harness the technology. It’ll also help you make telehealth a sustainable addition to your practice. 

Choose a Telehealth Model and Platform

One of the first steps to take is to choose a telehealth model and platform. Some of the models currently in use are live videoconferencing, store-and-forward, mobile health, and hybrids. You can also include remote patient monitoring. Consider scalable telehealth models to allow you to more effectively accommodate changes in patient volumes and expand and evolve your services over time. From there, you’ll need to choose a telehealth platform that can support your plans. Several platforms are available, each of which offers a variety of features and advantages.

Obtain Certification

You’ll also need to become certified to provide telehealth services through an accredited program. That entails learning about the technology and techniques behind telemedicine and all the applicable regulations among other points. Which types of certification you need will vary depending on your field and which services you intend to provide. If you want to work with patients in other states or abroad, you’ll need to obtain additional certifications for that. 

Guaranteeing Privacy and Security

As part of your certification training, you’ll learn about the privacy and security regulations that apply to telehealth. They cover confidentiality during virtual visits, transmitting data digitally or via fax, providing information online or by phone, and many other aspects. You’ll need to keep those in mind while providing virtual services for patients. Remaining in compliance with HIPAA guidelines and other regulations is essential. It’ll protect your patients and your practice, and it’s required by law.  

Patient Verification and Documentation

It’s also important to verify each patient’s identity when providing virtual services whether they’re online, over the phone, or store-and-forward. After verification, you may need to explain the limits of virtual visits and be sure the patient understands that they can’t always serve as a replacement for traditional healthcare. You’ll also need to get the patient’s consent to share his or her medical information with other professionals if necessary.

From there, you can proceed with the visit. Along the way, you’ll need to document all the details of the appointment in the patient’s EHRs just as you would with an in-person visit. Keep in mind that you may even need to provide a certain amount of technical support for patients who are new to telehealth. With that being the case, fully understanding your telehealth platform and how it works will be essential.

Making the Most of Telehealth Technology

Telehealth offers a long list of benefits. It can give you the power to better help patients while also improving your efficiency and potentially saving money for you and your patients. Those are only a few of the potential advantages of making telemedicine part of your services. To make the most of it, though, you’ll need to choose the right telehealth model and platform, obtain the necessary certifications, and understand and comply with all the regulations that apply to this sector. Keeping security and privacy in mind is also important. 

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