4 Questions to help Doctors Choose a Telemedicine Provider

If you are at the stage where you are considering adding a telemedicine service to your clinic, there are several key questions to ask first.

1) What do I want to use Telemedicine for?

This may be the most important question to answer. Take some time to consider how and why you are interested in a telemedicine service.

For many doctors, the chance to blend both remote and in-person visits is appealing due to the time saving and potential increase in revenue.

A study by FierceHealthIT shows that a telemedicine visit can save as much as $100 for patients. As this can be very appealing for your patients, it can drive new revenue to your clinic.

Above and beyond this, it may also help to reduce the amount of patients who need to visit you face to face, freeing up wait rooms, and lowering the amount of sick patients in the clinic. These are also appealing factors for both the team and patients who are frustrated with long wait times, or are traveling a long distance to see you.

2) Which vendor will best meet my needs?

Next on your list of considerations is which vendor will suit your individual needs. This is a subjective choice based on factors such as:

  • customization of the technology
  • usability of the app
  • integration with current technology such as EHR
  • setup cost and ongoing fees
    As a general rule, most telemedicine services will run on all platforms, and offer high level security, but it is worth confirming this as well.

As a general rule, most telemedicine services will run on all platforms, and offer high level security, but it is worth confirming this as well.

Finally, you may like to consider how difficult it will be to switch telemedicine vendors if you are not finding the service valuable.

3) What kind of support and updates are available?

After you find a telemedicine provider that matches your needs in terms of function and usability, the next step is to consider support.

Many telehealth vendors will offer some level of setup technical support or trouble-shooting if things go wrong. Also consider billing and payment. Will this be a streamlined process, or will it become complicated the more you use telemedicine with your patients? Also ask how often the software is updated. Are they using the latest back-end technology to ensure smooth clear video and audio? Are all diagnosis codes current? What about integration with other types of technology? These are some simple considerations that will help you decide which vendor has the best level of support for you.

4) How can I train my team to setup the service?

Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of implementing telemedicine is the training process for your team. As with any new technology, you need time and understanding to get comfortable with it before using it with patients.

Your team may be somewhat resistant to the new method of patient consultation, simply because they haven’t had a chance to use it themselves.

Doing some trial calls as a team is a great way to get a sense of the process. You may also need to create new policies and procedures around what can and cannot be offered by telemedicine within your clinic. At the very least take some time to meet as team and discuss the integration before starting. It is very important to consider the impact of telemedicine on both your team and your patients. From there you can better prepare for the introduction. You marketing of the new service should be word of mouth to begin, and as you get more comfortable, you can begin advertising the service more widely.

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