Thousands of healthcare practices are flocking to telehealth solutions in order to manage an influx of patients as COVID-19 continues to spread. The benefits are clear: patients can get the care they need without in-person visits that put them and others at risk of infection. Healthcare providers can make more efficient use of physician time, so they can focus their efforts on patients with the most severe symptoms. But since practices are adopting these solutions so quickly, many are missing crucial best practices. Here are the biggest dos and don’ts of telemedicine.
- Use healthcare-focused tools – With so many free and easy-to-use video solutions out there, it’s tempting to use the first thing you find. Instead, take a moment to seek out solutions that are focused on healthcare so you can maintain patient privacy and keep electronic records secure. Check out this post for more on the subject.
- Get a BAA – While the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines have become lax around telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s still smart for practices to enter into a business associate agreement (BAA) with vendors they work with.
- Use security best practices – There are some nuances to using video chat securely. You must ensure that providers and patients have a secure one-on-one connection that can’t be compromised. Check out this post for more detail on video security tips.
- Don’t use video before messaging – The demands for care are rising as COVID-19 tightens its grip. Wise practices use video chats only following pre-screening conducted via online chat or telephone. This lets practices understand care needs before using a doctor’s valuable time. Our recent piece outlines some steps to an effective pre-screening process.
- Don’t schedule office visits when video will do – All patients deserve care, but not all need in-person care. The big benefit of video chat is its efficient, and it keeps sick patients away from one another. Don’t schedule in-person videos for patients if a video visit is more practical.
- Don’t forget: you’re professionals – Just because it’s a video visit doesn’t mean you should relax your standards. Have a clean, dedicated place for appointments. Take advantage of natural lighting, and make sure care providers dress the part. Patients should feel like they can trust you and maintaining high standards matters, even over video.
Things are changing. Remote visits are standard practice, but video chat is just a part of an effective communication strategy. Consider what other communication tools you might need to keep in touch with patients and prospects online. This will help you keep up with demand and make life easier for the hardworking people at your practice.
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