Ever since the pandemic, the demand for telehealth services has been exacerbated. Initially, it was a system that enabled a smooth delivery mode of patient care without prohibiting the social distancing rules that were set during lockdowns. Later, more people accepted telehealth systems as a normal delivery model of healthcare practice, albeit a little different from an in-person visit.
The acceptance and public embrace are largely attributed to the easy process and patient engagement that is helping healthcare providers foster a better relationship with their patients. The patients are proactively involved and are acknowledging their accountability toward health management.
Numerous healthcare providers are offering telehealth services after considering the benefits that the system offers. But before enlisting telehealth services as a care channel, a clinical or hospital should be aware of what it is getting into and how it is operated.
Here are five points to consider before launching a telehealth service program:
1. Understanding the telehealth model that will be provided
Telehealth services are not limited to video consultations and have more to them than meets the eye. There are asynchronous and synchronous types of care that can be provided using telehealth.
In asynchronous care, a healthcare provider need not monitor a person through video call and the relevant care can be provided using remote patient monitoring or RPM devices, email communication, and diagnostic report evaluation.
In synchronous care is virtual assistance through video and phone calls and answering text messages to respond to queries.
2. Telehealth technology portal
If you already have an option of a telehealth portal built into your patient management system then it can be used without going for an exclusive product.
However, if you do not have a telehealth technology system, then it is better to partner with a telehealth technology vendor. Choosing a vendor who can provide all the necessary checks before installing the services is necessary to avoid future complications. The technology that you finally choose needs to be HIPPA compliant.
Telehealth technology has improved with the use of AI-powered tools that provide secure data protection for patient privacy. Currently, sophisticated portals with digital tools that can conduct complex tasks with even barriers of distance are being used to deliver telehealth treatment plans.
Clinical specialties that could not be delivered earlier in the telehealth model are now increasingly adopting the method as the tools are compatible to meet the standard of care. Telehealth service benefits are slowly spreading to even complex care processes as tech-aided tools are making their way into the advanced features of the model.
3. Legal aspects
A healthcare facility’s telehealth program has to comply with federal and state laws. In some cases, state laws may supersede federal law, but the whole composition can be very confusing for a non-legal person.
Before installing the vendor services for a telehealth portal, ensure that a legal expert in medical laws of the state and federal clauses reads through the program guidelines and the vendor technical portal’s features. Get their opinion and see how far you can safeguard the interests of patients and your organization.
4. Medical Licensure
Though technically through telehealth practices any physician or nurse practitioner can see a patient located in any state, there are legal limitations through licensure requirements. So the system has to ensure that no healthcare provider, without an adequate practicing license, is matched with a patient from a state where they are not allowed to practice.
With the interstate medical licensure compact, there is flexibility that can be exercised, but only if the home state has signed an agreement.
5. Training the care providers
Nurses and clinicians are good at their core skills. Telehealth and monitoring the cloud-based storage systems for RPM data for consistent monitoring are recent breakthroughs and need adequate training to avoid any process delays.
Embracing telehealth services and ensuring a successful delivery is going to bring healthcare costs down. With a large number of people turning away from opting for basic care as they lack funds to pay their copay share, affordable healthcare will be a distant project without trimming the expenses proactively.
Through effective patient engagement, telehealth ensures that there are no repeat admissions. This step alone helps in reducing healthcare costs significantly.