As a doctor, you worry about your patients and staff. You want to make sure that your patients get the attention they need to follow through on their treatments and make a full recovery.
You also worry about your staff when you’re not present. How will they get the support they need during an emergency?
Online doctor visits can bring you peace of mind, in addition to many other benefits. Enabling online visits for your practice allows you to support your staff over video, regardless of your location. Using telemedicine in your practice can help you better monitor patients’ health, detect illnesses earlier, and reduce patient wait times.
Even if you’re already sold on providing online doctor visits, you may wonder how to get started. Here are seven tips that will help you offer online visits.
7 ways to prep your practice for online visits
Accepting online visits can help your practice serve more patients and make a bigger impact in the community. But first, you must do some prep work to get your healthcare organization ready.
1. Analyze your practice’s offerings. The first step to getting started with online visits is to determine which of your services can be offered online. For example, while it may be possible to diagnose simple illnesses and provide follow-ups remotely, more complicated diagnoses will require patients to visit the doctor in person.
2. Learn your state’s laws. Check your state laws on privacy requirements for healthcare organizations and learn how your business needs to be set up to be compliant. Because laws vary from state to state, it’s important to check the laws for each state you’ll be serving.
3. Understand the different types of video telemedicine. There are two main types of video telemedicine: “hub and spoke” and direct to consumer. In hub-and-spoke telemedicine, providers work from a central care center to serve one or more rural hospitals. Direct to consumer means that doctors provide online visits directly to a patient from any location. Because the legal requirements for each of these can differ, it’s important to know which type you’ll be offering.
4. Start small. Adding online doctor visits to your practice can seem daunting, both for you and your patients. Test it first with a subset of patients who may have an easier time adapting. Starting with a small group and then rolling it out gradually can help you work through the kinks in a manageable way.
5. Know your software options. Telemedicine software options like Doxy.me and SimplePractice provide a free version, or at least a trial, so you can test the software. These tools are easy to use and don’t require your patients to download or learn additional software. Additionally, online software that has HIPAA-compliant forms, like JotForm, can help you easily collect patient information.
6. Engage with your patients. All of your effort to provide online doctor visits to your patients will be wasted if they don’t know online visits are an option. As their provider, it’s your job to educate patients on the benefits of remote visits. For example, you could highlight how online visits save your patients money. You could also mention how online visits reduce the time a patient has to wait.
7. Don’t do it alone. Leverage telemedicine resources to help you navigate this process and guide you along the way. Trying to set everything up yourself can add needless stress and slow down, or even stall, the process.
Use telemedicine to engage with patients like never before
There are many advantages to providing online doctor visits, but the process is not without challenges.
For example, some insurance providers may not work well with telemedicine options. Additionally, the physical separation between you and the patient can cause communication issues. But working through these challenges can give your organization an edge as the demand for telemedicine continues to rise.
Empowering your practice with online doctor visits can have a profound impact on how you engage with patients. But online visits are just the start. There are many tools under the telemedicine umbrella. If you’re looking to start simple, try JotForm’s HIPAA-compliant forms.