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.
As virtual medicine services continue to grow in popularity, it is understandable that not all healthcare professionals are excited about making the transition. Not because of the technology and the learning that needs to be done in order to use it. Sometimes, the hesitation could be a result of not knowing how patients will react to change.
If you have a practice with a wide cross-section of patients, the odds are high that a faction of this group will have little interest in participating in an online doctor’s appointment with you. Often times, this reaction is a result of individuals falling into a comfort zone that they don’t want to interrupt.
However, one way to inspire change is to show these skeptical patients all of the pluses attached to being able to have a video call with their doctor. There are plenty, to be sure, but let’s start with the ones that can most easily be communicated.
The Convenience is Real
When someone books an online doctor visit with you, they can easily log into the appointment no matter where they might be. Whether it’s from home, an office, or while travelling, a live video chat online with you can be had.
Where this is truly helpful is when patients of an advanced age, or physical disability, need to see their doctor. Instead of making these individuals exert too much energy by commuting to the brick-and-mortar clinic, schedule video calls instead for appointments that do not need to be in-person.
Busy adults who are trying to balance their home and professional lives will also benefit from doctor-patient video conferences, as this will mean one less time-consuming activity being dropped into their hectic schedule.
One of the first pushbacks you will have from patients is the perception that having an online doctor’s appointment will be hard for them. In reality, this will be said mostly by those who are not comfortable with video call technology, or those who have never used it before.
At this juncture, it is your responsibility to explain how easy your virtual medicine solution is and explain why it would be important for the patient to give it a try.
If the patients buys in at this point, be ready to offer educational assistance. This can come in the form of having clinical staff provide quick tutorials to patients. What’s more, telemedicine resources can also be made available on the practice’s website and/or social media accounts.
Another way to go is to be super-traditional and make instructional brochures/flyers available at the clinic. That way, curious patients can pick one up when ready and discover for themselves how easy online doctor visits can be.
The Personal Connection
It is true that some patients will think that a virtual medicine appointment will lack the personal touch they’re used to when visiting the clinic.
Yes, communication will be had from a distance, but there is still a ton of face-to-face interaction being had during a telehealth video call appointment. Additionally, this format will help you better recognize any ailments/issues a patient might be having, then if a patient only wanted to do remote doctor’s appointments over the phone.
What is most important here, though, is to communicate with your patients that they will not be receiving a lackluster, or less-than, medical appointment when presented with the video call option.
If anything, these patients are receiving an experience that is fulfilling and far less exhausting than the norm.