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.
It is understandable that you may be a little nervous introducing virtual medicine appointments to your practice. After all, you, the clinical team, as well as your roster of patients have grown accustomed to certain routines.
Although online doctor’s appointments are easy and secure to conduct, there is no telling how everyone involved and invested in your practice will react to it. Some staff and patients could see such a switch as a forwarding-thinking, necessary step for the practice to take. Other staff and patients, however, may view it is an intimidating change to the norm.
All of that said, if you believe making online doctor visits to patients is the right thing to do, go with your gut. Skeptical staff and patients will eventually wrap their heads around the change and begin to trust what you are attempting to do.
Once you get to this stage of the virtual medicine integration process, you will begin to learn a ton about your staff, patients and overall practice, including:
Ability to Adjust on the Fly
Once your whole team has come to embrace online medicine, you will be impressed by your practice’s ability to adjust on the fly.
For years – maybe even decades – you and the clinical team have found a rhythm as it relates to how to handle in-person medical appointments. Everyone has grown to know and embrace their roles in that format and become rather reliable along the way.
However, you should expect this reliability to seamlessly transition to telemedicine initiatives. Yes, it will take some time for everyone to know the ins and outs of the practice’s virtual medicine solution, but once they do, watch out!
Soon, the team will be operating like a well-oiled machine and it will feel as if your practice has been offering patients video calls for years on end.
Your Patients are More Flexible Than Expected
One of the last things any practice wants to experience is causing rifts with patients. Unfortunately, the introduction of telehealth solutions could lead to such troubles if not approached the right way.
Some patients will be concerned at first, while others will be ready to jump in with both feet. While the former group of individuals may take some work, the latter will prove to you just how flexible your patient base can be.
You will quickly learn which faction of patients are most receptive to virtual medicine offerings, as well as why they have chosen to go forward with these types of appointments. Gaining this knowledge is important, as it’ll help you keep this individuals aboard, as well as better approach those who are unsure if they want to have a live video chat online with their doctor.
The Ability to Educate
Following up on that last point, you will see just how great your team is at educating individuals who are hesitant about booking online doctor’s appointments. Now, how one practice decides to educate patients about virtual medicine versus others will differ.
That said, you and your team will quickly learn which educational methods prove most fruitful. Perhaps quick conversations at the front desk between staff and patients work best. Or, maybe a more passive approach like waiting room brochures, flyers and posters could do the trick.
If these methods don’t help boost patient acceptance of your telehealth initiatives, perhaps the practice will find an online approach (i.e., an FAQ section on the practice’s website, social media tutorials, etc.) that’s suitable.