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.
When a medical practice makes the wise decision to introduce a virtual medicine component, it is possible that the clinical staff will feel a bit uneasy about the changes forthcoming. This could be a result of not being tech savvy and/or disinterested in change.
For the doctor, however, it is their responsibility to get staff up-to-speed with such a rewarding initiative. You see, even though bringing a video call service into a medical clinic looks easy on paper, it is not something that should be haphazardly dropped at the feet of staff to figure out.
As such, in order to go about things the right way, early discussions need to be had in order to quell any nerves or resistance. These conversations should focus on the following points:
Training is a Gradual Process
Right away, the clinical staff will wonder just how much training will be involved ahead of the launch of a practice’s virtual medicine initiative. In reality, there is not a fixed amount that can be applied to all clinics.
Most of the time, this will depend on the telehealth solution being used; staff size; available training hours; as well as how quickly everyone on the team is able to get a hang of the technology.
To ensure the transition into telemedicine goes well, virtual visits should be offered gradually and not to everyone right away. This will allow the team to train at a reasonable pace and understand how to use the technology in real-time, with real patients.
Online Doctor’s Appointments are Attractive to Patients
For years, many patients have only ever experienced in-person medical appointments. However, now that online medicine is being practiced by an array of healthcare professionals, patients are beginning to understand how attractive online doctor visits can be.
Right off the bat, they no longer have to take a broad amount of time out of their day to accommodate a medical appointment. By having a virtual medicine option available to them, patients will be attracted to the fact that certain health matters can be handled from a distance.
Not only does this save an individual time and energy, but it also allows them to not leave work when it is inconvenient to do so. What’s more, a live video chat online with a doctor keeps a person from being exposed to possible viruses/illnesses that could be spread around the waiting room of an in-person clinic.
Once these notable perks gain steam, the clinical team should expect the medical practice to see a boost in patient activity and community reputation.
Some Patients Will Need Added Guidance
Even after a staff is trained and a portion of patients have become comfortable with the online medicine initiative, not all will be able to adapt quickly.
Frequently, medical clinics will find a faction of their patient list will be interested in having an online doctor’s appointment. However, from a technological perspective, will not know how to begin. As a result, the clinical team will need to be ready to provide rudimentary tech support to help an appointment begin when it is supposed to.
In an attempt to minimize last-minute tech troubles experienced by patients, the clinic should make resources available to patients in advance of a video call. This can include – but is not limited to – email blasts that feature “how to” instructions; a well-versed FAQ section on the practice’s official website; or instructional videos on social media.
No matter which path a practice chooses to take here, it can’t expect all patients to seamlessly switch over to virtual appointments. Having knowledgeable, helping hands can make the process smooth for patients.