Adding a telehealth element to your medical clinic is an important step forward. Not only does it have the potential of attracting new patients, but it can also help you keep your waiting room far less crowded. The latter point, in particular, has become especially important thanks to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
When you begin to offer online doctor’s appointments, though, there are a number of considerations that need to be made when selecting which patients should have priority access to virtual visits.
For instance, would booking a video call with a patient on a fixed income help them avoid parking costs, or public transit expenses? In all likelihood, yes. Unless the medical matter at hand requires an in-person consultation, a patient in this position should have a virtual visit with you.
Let’s take a look at a handful of other questions worth thinking about:
How Established is Your Relationship with the Patient?
In any medical practice, trust is of the utmost importance. The patient needs to trust their doctor’s opinions/findings, while the doctor needs to trust that a patient will make their appointments and speak truthfully about any medical concerns.
When practicing virtual medicine, it can be easier to give appointment priority to a patient you have a longstanding relationship with. You already know how to effectively communicate with one another, thus having a live video chat online shouldn’t disrupt that.
What’s more, a patient you have a great bond with will trust that the telemedicine provider you selected for the clinic is safe and protective of patient privacy. It may be more challenging to convince a new patient to take your word on that.
Does the Patient Have Mobility Issues?
Be it a disability or not having a proper form of transportation to get to and from a doctor’s office, mobility issues for patients come in different forms.
If you realize a patient may miss important medical appointments because of this, it’s imperative that you encourage them to book a doctor’s appointment online and log on to your practice’s video chat app to see you.
This approach will go a long way toward ensuring an issue does not go undiagnosed as a result of mobility concerns.
Can a Language Barrier be Navigated Around?
If a language barrier exists between a patient and yourself, that shouldn’t negate this person’s opportunity to meet with you in an online medicine environment. However, proper preparation has to take place.
Ahead of scheduling a video call, see if the patient has a relative, friend, or support worker who can provide translation assistance during the appointment. On your end, find out which languages are spoken by clinic staff, and see if any of them can be of assistance.
During the times in which none of these options are available, determine if you can properly communicate with this patient in a video conference room, or if an in-person setting is better.
Does the Patient Get Along Well with Technology?
While some patients will be comfortable with the idea of telehealth, they may not have the technological know-how to make it through a video call with you.
You can help change this behaviour by providing patients with a very rudimentary step-by-step guide about how to navigate the video chat app your clinic uses. Also, let it be known that clinic staff understand the technology and are prepared to assist at a moment’s notice.
If a patient feels comfortable with the tech resources you’ve provided, they’ll feel better about giving online medicine a shot.
Will this Video Call Help a Patient Avoid Missing Work?
There are a lot of individuals who do not see the doctor when they’re supposed to largely because of their work schedule. Oftentimes it’s odd shift hours or the loss of wages that discourage patients from checking in on their health.
By making online doctor’s appointments available to these folks, you are helping them stay up-to-speed with their health without having to negatively impact their employment situation.
If you are looking to add a telemedicine element to your practice, tap here to learn more about Banty Medical.