Telehealth has exploded in popularity since 2020. In 2018 merely 25% of physicians used telehealth. By 2020 that rate jumped to 80%. This explosion in telehealth services was due almost entirely to the COVID-19 pandemic. Telehealth allowed medical professionals to reach people in their homes without risking exposure to the deadly disease. Health systems and practices across the nation rushed to set up Zoom Health, VidyoHealth, and more. CMS even expanded their reimbursements for telehealth services, which was recently extended into 2023.
Now, a full two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become clear that the consumer demand for telehealth services is not going away. It is time for healthcare institutions to formalize their telehealth programs and to make their emergency installations more permanent and intentional.
IDS has designed an ideal telehealth installation plan that includes six key elements. These are the six things healthcare administration needs to consider as they codify their telehealth solutions into permanent patient offerings:
- Workflows. The first and arguably most important element of a successful telehealth solution is the care delivery workflow. Connecting a provider to a patient is the first step, but that interaction needs to be formally included in that patient’s health record and the services provided should mirror onsite care as closely as possible. Telehealth needs to be included in EMR/EHR, virtual visits and rounding, and expert consults. In addition, non-English-speaking patients should have access to interpretation services and every patient should be able to access their own medical records. Building telehealth into your existing care delivery model can be a complex project, but it is vital for the long-term success of your telehealth solution.
- Video Connectivity. Telehealth calls require more security than regular phone calls or video calls. Patient privacy and HIPAA standards need to be taken into consideration, and the solution should be regularly checked and monitored.
- Hardware. Telehealth software is only as good as the hardware it is delivered on. You can have the best, most robust platform set up for a call but a bad connection or temperamental equipment can ruin the entire patient experience. Telehealth carts, medical peripherals, and integrated rooms are all a part of telehealth hardware and should be invested in and managed appropriately.
- Managed Services. Telehealth is not a static technology. It changes, evolves, updates, and occasionally breaks. Having a team at the ready to handle proactive monitoring and alerting, security, and configurations can eliminate a lot of stress and headaches for your facility’s IT, providers, and patients alike.
- Support. Beyond the technical support of your telehealth platform is the human support. Staff training, patient outreach, and a 24x7x365 help line will ensure that telehealth is a successful solution for everyone involved.
- Reporting & Outcomes. Telehealth efficacy should be measured and monitored. Usage analytics and data/reporting can lead to valuable recommendations and adjustments of the solution.
As a technology integrator, IDS can handle everything listed above. We can support you in designing seamless new workflows that include telehealth connections, and through strategic healthcare partnerships we can set you up with telehealth software, hardware, and reporting. Our expert team will provide managed services and support. You will be left with an intentionally designed and easy-to-use solution that improves the patient experience while providing the best possible care.
Ready to formalize and improve your telehealth solution? Fill out the form on our Contact Us page now.