A telemedicine platform needs to be a lot of things like secure, simple-to-use, and easily accessible. It needs to have robust tools to simplify telemedicine encounters and make the information gathering process prior to the appointment easy.
Visit documentation, however, is not meant for a telemedicine platform.
It’s a Common Question, and A Valid Request
Having one system for documentation and telemedicine may seem convenient, and providers think that they can cut out an extra step out of a sometimes frustrating documentation process. One system would be the ideal, but it presents hurdles for providers who even see one single patient in person among their telemedicine appointments.
Focusing on convenience is important for your telemedicine platform, but the requirements for a telemedicine platform and a patient EMR are vastly different. It’s more difficult than you would imagine to get everything within the same portal, and that’s why it’s not easy to find a one-size-fits-all solution as much. Providers often don’t consider how customized their patient medical records are, and how flexible their documentation program with a telemedicine platform would have to be in order to support that level of flexibility.
In theory, it’s an excellent idea, but in execution, it’s much more difficult to make it a reality.
Where The Real Problem Comes In
Imagine that your charts were still on paper. Every time you took a note, you put it in the folder for the patient in the room where you saw him or her, and those charts were never merged. When you saw the patient in Exam Room 1, you would have the notes for only the times where he or she was treated in Exam Room 1. When you treated the patient in Exam Room 3, you wouldn’t have any notes because he or she had never been seen in that room before.
That’s similar to what would happen if you tried to keep documentation in a telemedicine program rather than in a single electronic medical record. Your telemedicine solution should work alongside your documentation software, but it should never replace it. This ensures that your patient records are always complete, and that HIPAA-sensitive information is not abandoned in a documentation program that you only access when the patient presents via telemedicine.
While it seems convenient to chart in your telemedicine software, the result is fragmented records that have to be regularly compiled or, worse, that never get amassed into a single record.
The solution is to find an EMR that meets your needs AND a telemedicine program that can work alongside it. That way, whether you see the patient in-person or virtually, the documentation is standardized and your records are always complete. What sounds like a good idea in theory can actually create a much bigger problem in the long run.
So How Does The Telemedicine Program Meet Your Need?
Your patient medical records won’t be maintained in your telemedicine platform, but your telemedicine platform can introduce many other conveniences that you would not have otherwise. Your telemedicine platform should provide patient appointment reminders, information capture for patient demographics, intakes and forms, customized automated consents and unlimited technical support. It should help replicate the in-person experience by delivering high connection rates, unlimited (and free) technical support, and implementation specialists who make it a painless process.
Have more questions about a telemedicine platform? Fill out our demo request form and we’ll be happy to share.