All staff knowing what the clear clinical guidelines are to determine which appointments can be done via telemedicine and which need to be completed in person. Create a script for staff so they know what information needs to be collected or shared for successful telehealth visits (i.e., do they have a device and internet to participate in telehealth, how you will get them the link and instructions, etc.).
• Reminders and pre-visit instructions:
Automated reminders are more important than ever to ensure patients know what type of appointment they have scheduled—in-person versus telehealth. The same-day reminder should provide instructions and links for telehealth. If a visit is in-person, the reminder should contain pre-screening information (i.e., call first if you have COVID-19 symptoms). If you are using a “park & text” waiting room, that should be included in your messaging as well.
• Patient intake:
Supporting a combination of virtual and in-person visits requires tools that support a digital workflow. Intake forms should be sent via text or email to be completed ahead of time electronically. Digital forms not only allow patients being seen virtually to complete their forms, but it also protects patients with in-person visits by eliminating the need to touch clipboards or devices in the office.
Obviously, to conduct telemedicine visits you need the technology to do so. There are many telemedicine options, but the best options will include telehealth visits through real-time audio and video (synchronous). You want it to be a HIPAA-compliant, secure, high-resolution tool that is easy to use for both providers and patients. Look for a solution that doesn’t require added downloads or logins. It’s best if patients can just click a link and be in the digital waiting room. Another important option now is the text-based check-in. A two-way text tool allows providers to do a quick 5-10 minute text exchange to determine if the patient needs to come in or do a full telehealth visit.
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• Digital bill pay:
Allowing patients to pay electronically is also an important piece of supporting both visit types and removing risk for in-person visits. A mobile bill pay solution makes it easy for patients to pay their copay ahead of a telehealth visit as well as post-visit balances. Collection rates could be 25 percent higher when you use the digital methods patients prefer.
Creating a streamlined workflow that can support any type of visit and making sure that the telehealth visit fits right into that workflow makes it easy for everyone to move seamlessly between in-person care and virtual care. That will be the healthcare of the future—care that is virtually the same whether it is received at home or at a healthcare facility.