Banty Co-Founder and Medical Director, Dr. Richard Tytus, provided the subject matter and direction for this article. The author would like to thank Adam Grant for his editorial assistance in writing the article. Dr. Richard Tytus takes responsibility for the content of the article.
As a healthcare professional, you understand how important it is to always give patients the best care you possibly can. Beyond examinations, recommendations, and treatments, though, you and those who work within your medical clinic also need to keep customer service practices in tip-top condition.
Even if you have developed a strong customer service prowess for in-person appointments, now’s the time to learn how to best serve patients opting for virtual medicine appointments.
Of course, you can transfer over many of your in-person techniques to an online medicine environment. However, there are a handful of other considerations you should keep in mind when offering online doctor’s appointments.
Here is how to provide the best service possible when practicing virtual medicine:
Be Responsive to Patient Needs and Concerns
Patient needs and concerns will be different when video calls are being scheduled and performed. A faction of patients will have a lot of questions as it relates to the security of telemedicine solutions, not to mention a curiosity about how this whole virtual arrangement will work.
Since you are offering a service from a distance, it’s imperative that your clinic is quick to respond to any patient correspondence related to questions about virtual visits.
Patients don’t want to feel as if having an online doctor visit means it’ll be harder to communicate with those at the clinic. Thus, prompt responses filled with courtesy and the answers to all questions and concerns is a sure-fire way to keep patients close even if they feel distanced.
Make Sure Customer Service Processes are In Place
One way to ensure patients are being effectively communicated with is by having customer service processes adhered to within your practice.
For instance, let’s say a patient emails the clinic and wants to change their in-person appointment to a virtual one. The clinic should have a process designed to deal with such a matter. In this case, the receptionist will have the responsibility of connecting with the patient in a reasonable amount of time.
The receptionist will then work with the patient to coordinate a telemedicine appointment time that works best for all involved. They will also need to provide the patient any instruction they might need to successfully log in for their doctor-patient video call.
Having such strategies ready for as many considered scenarios as possible will help the practice stay in the good books of their patients.
Provide Scheduling Flexibility
Even if your clinic has explained to a patient how to reach you for a live video chat online, they may still struggle getting online. As such appointments could start later than planned and run longer than desired.
Your medical clinic needs to brace for this by creating an appointment schedule packed with wiggle room. Not scheduling appointments back-to-back-to-back with zero gaps in between is a recipe for disaster – especially if your patients need time to figure out how to see a doctor online.
Patients will appreciate such accommodation, especially those concerned that not understanding video conference technology could result in you skipping over their appointment entirely.
Offer Tech Support When Possible
Everyone who works at your clinic needs to be well-versed in the telemedicine solution being used internally. This knowledge will not just help staff get through their days; it’ll also help patients having difficulty with their online doctor’s appointment.
Some will need assistance finding the right link to access their appointment, or assistance getting their video and audio feeds working correctly. Your team having this shareable knowledge will help expedite an appointment and see that it happens when it’s supposed to.
As an added layer of assistance, make virtual medicine service instructions available on your clinic’s website and/or social media accounts.