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.
We have all come to learn that there are a number of benefits patients get to take advantage of once their doctor offers virtual medicine services. For instance, they no longer need to commute to every appointment; take time off of work; sit in a crowded waiting room, etc.
However, some patients – even ones aware of such benefits – will still initially refuse to have a live video chat online with their doctor. Yes, you will of course continue to see them in an in-person capacity, but also feel passionate enough about the possibilities of telemedicine. As such, you shouldn’t give up on trying to get these patients interested in virtual visits with their doctor.
In these circumstances, though, you have to show some tact. Doing so will make it far more likely that some of the initial naysayers will come around.
Here’s what to do if a patient initially refuses to participate in an online doctor’s appointment:
Respectfully Ask Questions
When you see a patient in-person after they chose not to meet with you on a video call, inquire about their concerns. You will find some people say the process wasn’t properly explained to them, or that they are not technologically sound. You will also just have those individuals who prefer an in-person consultation.
Although you likely won’t convert all patients, having a conversation about telemedicine could help some of them come around to the idea of it. Sometimes, people need to have a 1:1 experience to best understand a change in routine that directly impacts them.
Attempt to Ease Fears and Concerns
On occasion, you will come across a patient who is intrigued by the idea of virtual medicine, but has specific hang ups about it. For instance, privacy is understandably a big deal for a lot of patients.
While there is an understandable fear about important medical information leaking online, you have to reassure your patient that the telemedicine solution you use is keeping their details safe.
Banty Medical, for instance, is HIPPA/PHIPA compliant for online medicine. What’s more, end-to-end encryption is used to keep all appointments private and secure. Last but not least, Banty does not collect or store anything disclosed during a doctor-patient virtual visit.
Don’t Push Too Hard
Throughout these conversations, it’s imperative that you don’t push patients too hard about adopting virtual medicine. Not everyone will be comfortable making such a decision on the spot, and would rather have time to privately deliberate.
If you try to speed past a person’s wishes, they will feel pressured and – maybe in some cases – bullied. At this point, getting someone to commit to an online doctor’s appointment will become near impossible.
In other words, do your best to persuade, but stop-short of making a full court press.
Have Helpful Resources Available
From online doctor appointment scheduling to which equipment needs to be used for an online doctor’s visit, some patients will stay away from having a video conference with their physician until they understand all the ins and outs.
An easy way to quicken this process is to make straightforward, yet informative virtual medicine resources available to patients. This could come in the form of in-clinic posters and brochures. Or tips and tricks can be shared on your clinic’s website and social media channels.
Keep these resources highly accessible and easy to understand. This should help get some more patients onboard with your telehealth initiatives.
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