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.
Beginning to offer virtual medicine services to patients is an exciting time for any medical practice. Not only does this allow for the clinic to rejuvenate itself, going in such a tech-driven direction can open up a world of opportunities as it relates to patient care.
Now, your clinic can begin seeing patients remotely, which will help keep your waiting room from getting too crowded and stop under-the-weather patients from having to travel to you for an appointment. What’s more, there is the possibility that your clinic’s ability to offer online doctor’s appointments could result in a more streamlined, day-to-day workflow.
However, as enthused as you might be, there is the chance that your initial foray into online medicine does not immediately take off the way you had hoped. While you may have great intentions, it is the patients and their willingness to participate in online doctor visits that’ll determine the success of your new service offerings.
Here is what to do if your virtual medicine initiative starts slow:
Just because you know the positives associated with having video calls with patients, you can’t assume patients will also understand – or be aware of – such positives.
If your clinic is struggling to book telemedicine appointments with patients out of the gates, it’s important to educate them about the option as soon as possible. Fortunately, this can be approached a number of different ways.
Firstly, a clinic’s physician(s) and clinical staff can take a few moments to briefly explain the practice’s virtual medicine services to patients, including how they work and which security measures are in place to ensure sensitive information is kept safe.
Secondly, educational materials like in-practice posters, flyers, or brochures can be left around the clinic for patients to grab if interested. Thirdly, use the clinic’s website and/or social media accounts as a place in which patients can learn the ins and outs about how to see a doctor online.
Get Staff Perspective
Within any professional setting, each employee will have their own unique perspective as to why something is going well, or could be improved upon. This sentiment certainly rings true when medical clinics begin offering telehealth services.
If patients are turning their noses up at the idea of having a live video chat online with their doctor, or are expressing concern over the logistics of having an online medicine appointment, staff will certainly hear about it.
As such, if virtual medicine services are not being taken advantage of by patients, clinics should have regular staff meetings in order to discuss the issues they’re hearing about, as well as what could be done to fix them.
Here, you could learn that the structure/processes put in place for patient video calls are not functioning as they should. You may also discover that the initial messaging is not working. This is where the team can come together and work toward viable solutions.
Target New Patients
Many patients are set in their ways and will never want to have an online doctor’s appointment no matter how much you encourage them to make a change.
However, there will be patients at other clinics who want a virtual medicine option, but are at clinics that refuse to embrace such technology. These individuals – if approached the right way via word-of-mouth or smart marketing campaigns – could consider switching their doctor if it means having more virtual care options available to them.
Think about young professionals in particular. They are busy and don’t want to devote an hour or two to an in-person doctor’s appointment. Thus, giving them a speedier, more efficient online option is highly attractive.