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Telehealth 101

What are the benefits and how does it impact a practice’s workflow?

In times of urgent need and adversity — such as Covid-19 — it is not unusual for innovative ideas to take full flight. In the medical community, as non-emergency in-person clinical visits are completely on hold, many physicians are more seriously considering telehealth services.

Prior to Covid-19, telemedicine was likely a nice-to-have offering for a practice. Today, however, it is quickly becoming an imperative to stay connected with patients and responsive to their needs, which due to Covid-19 have greatly increased.

The Benefits of Telehealth

While some practitioners may offer telemedicine as a temporary solution in response to Covid-19, after this crisis, patients and doctors alike may come to appreciate the benefits it offers and will consider continuing with this service in the future. Why? Both doctors and patients will likely appreciate the convenience of digital encounters for certain types of visits, especially if a patient is unwell, contagious or not ambulatory, or a doctor’s schedule is tight.

Prior to this crisis, telehealth technology was either lightly implemented or deferred due to payment or operational reasons, or simply because demand wasn’t there. All that has changed. But as is true with any new business offering, there are many things physicians should consider before launching headlong into telehealth, especially if it is a service you want to offer long after Covid-19 is behind us.

It’s important to understand why you want to pursue telemedicine and to outline specific goals and objectives you have for the service before embarking into it. Then you will be in a strong position to address how it should be implemented in your practice for maximal benefit. There are, in fact, several problems telehealth technologies can solve, such as front desk bottlenecks, excessive physician data entry and patient communication, to name a few.

Telehealth Workflow Differences

While on first blush it may appear that telehealth technology can be a simple add-on to your current EHR system, you will quickly realize that telemedicine workflows are quite different from an in-office visit and should be fully considered before deployment. The interplay between people, processes and software must be worked out, which will help remove roadblocks and identify problems early.

For these and other reasons, WRS Health developed this guide, “Telehealth Implementation During the Covid-19 Crisis,” to help practitioners fully enable the power of telemedicine with seamless and optimal execution.

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This guide is ideal for those who are proactive and want to use the current pause in their practice to add this valuable tool and service for the long term.

Telehealth is truly an innovation worth exploring to expand the scope of your practice and improve patient access to your care now and in the future.

 

 

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