The internet is filled with options that you can use to connect face-to-face with patients who may be physically located elsewhere. A Google Search will yield hundreds of different options that purport to be the easiest on the market. You may realize quickly once you actually see it that the end result has problems that cannot be reconciled easily as a tool for your practice. Be diligent in selecting a solution, and make sure to view it at length with a representative for the organization. Demoing the product shows you where the pitfalls are, and it will give you a sense of usability for yourself, your staff and your patients.
What To Look For
What do patients and staff have to do to log in to the session? That’s the most important consideration. Each has to be able to get in within a matter of seconds and without significant hassle. Does the platform require you to download software? Is the software compatible with all systems? Will your patients run into potential issues on their computers with a new piece of software that they either don’t have room for or require plugins that they don’t already have?
By looking at the system, you will not only be able to tell if it’s easy to use for you, but also if it’s easy to use for your patient population. The time to accessing the session for them must be just a few seconds. The instructions must be clear, and patients need to be confident in their ability to use the solution more than one time.
What Other Tools Are Included
Telemedicine is much more than a face-to-face connection. The tools that come with the video need to be as simple to use and accessible as the actual visit. Telemedicine needs a scheduler, reminders, and virtual rooms. The solution needs to be secure so that patients are confident that their information will be saved within the transmission. While there are many teleconferencing solutions that purport that they are HIPAA compliant and able to substitute for a full telemedicine platform, the realities of those tools are often limited for the scope of what a practice actually needs.
Telemedicine visits are office visits, so in many cases, they need to be scheduled. Even patients who schedule a same-day appointment are at risk to forget it without notifications and instructions. Additionally, easily following up with a patient within the same platform that you connected with them is important. By viewing the platform, you will be able to glean whether all of this is possible.
What Do The Notifications Look Like
A demo of the system will show you what control you have over the notifications that go to your patients, and if they represent your branding. It will also show you if those notifications are simple for patients to understand and if they give them the tools they need to successfully connect. A single notification doesn’t impact outcomes much, but well-timed notifications that deliver reminders as well as instructions have a big impact on no-shows and follow through.
See It Before You Buy It
Reviewing a telemedicine system before signing on is an important part of the process. Virtual demos make it possible to see the ins and outs of a tool and how it functions as a practice, not just a video connection. Demoing should be an integral part of the sales process, and you should feel confident that the system is simple enough while still giving you the robust tools that you need.