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.
Without question, introducing telehealth services to your medical clinic will not just heighten your practice’s ability to better assist all patients, it will also show that you are unafraid of diversifying how you do business.
Now, none of this will initially come easy. Clinical staff will need to be trained. You, as well, will have to ensure your virtual medicine comfort level is highly tuned. Then there will be the matter of promoting your online medicine solution to patients and providing them with enough information to get excited about participating in online doctor’s appointments.
Once all of that is accomplished, it will come time to start booking online doctor visits. While this may sound simple (since your clinic has been successfully booking patient appointments for years) it can be a challenge to balance virtual visits with the ones actually happening at your clinic.
Thus, it is important to strategize ahead of time to determine how your clinic’s hybrid appointment schedule can avoid going out of sorts. Here is how to go about doing that:
Designate Times for Patient Video Calls
While it could be tempting to indiscriminately toss patient video calls into a schedule filled with in-person appointments, those could prove to be a problem.
Yes, you may at first have zero issue going back and forth between medical clinic appointments and online doctor visits, but eventually this ambitious approach could get the best of you.
In many ways, it can be challenging enough to get from one medical clinic appointment to another in a timely fashion. When you toss virtual medicine appointments into the mix, you are all of a sudden going back and forth from person to computer, to person, back to computer - caution is being thrown to the wind.
What’s recommended is dedicating specific chunks of time each week, or each day, to online medicine appointments. This way, you can stay at your device and see patients in that capacity, without having to wonder if your next appointment is at your physical clinic, or your online clinic.
Do Not Overbook Patients
It must be recognized that even if a patient expresses interest in telemedicine, they may not exactly know how to participate in such appointments. As such, online appointments should be relatively spaced out.
When this happens, you leave yourself breathing room in the event that a patient has trouble logging into their appointment, or has difficulty figuring out what to do once the video call with you has begun.
If you schedule too many online doctor visits with patients not 100% up to speed with telehealth, it is a real possibility that your schedule for the day could be tossed into chaos. When this chaos occurs, good luck getting affected patients to continually come back for online appointments.
Provide Patients with Tech Tips in Advance
When it is known that a patient is brand new to telehealth, there could be hiccups along the way. As previously discussed, some will not know how to best use the technology and their inexperience could lead to scheduling issues.
One way to ensure this does not always happen is to provide patients with help resources in advance. This could include a page on your website that offers tech tips related to the telemedicine solution your clinic uses; video tutorials on social media; or even take-home brochures housed at the clinic.
For an even more direct approach, attach such tech tips to any appointment reminder you forward to a patient. Keep it to the point and informative, while also linking to other online resources your practice has shared.