4 tips to make Telehealth a smashing success

Physitrack University 

4 tips to make Telehealth a smashing success

2020 has been the year of Telehealth - or at least, it was for many providers and organizations who were prepared. With the coronavirus pandemic widespread globally, healthcare practitioners needed to find new ways to conduct patient consultations other than face-to-face, in order to continue giving exceptional care to their patients. One solution that presented itself was Telehealth. During this time Telehealth proved to be a promising alternative, and soon many platforms were offering this option to practitioners. Yet even though Telehealth could have been the answer to the challenges faced, the use of Telehealth, in many ways, failed in individual clinics.

One of the most important reasons for this outcome was the misconception that a Telehealth workflow should be identical to the workflow followed with a face to face appointment. This was not the case, and sadly often resulted in confusion, apprehension and a sense of disempowerment, with many clinics having to close their doors.

2020 was a great year for digital care, yet it did not reach its full potential for everyone. As we now enter new areas, this could be the time for it to thrive. As many studies have shown, Telehealth has proved to be a tremendous addition to traditional care, both for the clinic (fewer no-shows, decreased cost of care), and for their patients (convenience, pleasant experience). When used with a proper workflow, both practitioners and patients have been pleased to have Telehealth as a tool in their clinical care.

4 tips for using Telehealth successfully 

The most crucial step is to establish a Telehealth workflow. According to a recent study, the key to the success of Telehealth lies in 4 areas: treatment, timing, patient and practitioner. Whether this be for yourself or for a team of practitioners: ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is Telehealth right for this treatment? Sometimes manual therapy is the only way forward, and Telehealth cannot provide an alternative. It is important to establish which treatments are suitable for Telehealth consultations and which are not (try it out and adjust accordingly). Try to find another option; is manual therapy your only solution, or could exercise therapy work for this patient (temporarily) too?
  2. Is the timing right for Telehealth? A combination of face-to-face appointments and Telehealth consultations has proven to be an efficient solution. When could you replace an in-house consultation with Telehealth (saving your patient the time/money it takes to attend a visit)? From experience, follow-up consultations via Telehealth are a great addition to the care plan set for the patient.
  3. Is Telehealth right for this patient? Think especially of patients for whom it is difficult to come to the clinic. Or, on the flip side, maybe the patient isn’t used to working with modern technology. Can you introduce Telehealth in their path to recovery? Practitioners must become skillful at recognizing which direction of care will reap the best results for each patient.
  4. Is Telehealth right for this practitioner? In many ways, digital care is a different discipline. It asks a practitioner to be comfortable with the digital world, and adapt their assessment skills at how they read a patients body language. As with patients, practitioners need to understand the benefits of Telehealth and have knowledge of how to use it effectively. Educate yourself and your colleagues on how to use Telehealth best. Be flexible. Some practitioners are better and more comfortable providing hands-on care which other enjoy digital experience.

Brainstorming about these four little tips will help you better implement or scale up Telehealth in your clinic, thus having a smashing year - so that you can provide even better and more exceptional care and service to your patients.

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