11 May How To Select The Best Telehealth Platform That Fits Your Needs?
It only took a pandemic for the government and private insurers to approve payment for telehealth appointments to be equivalent to in-person visits. Congratulations, now you are ready to add telehealth as an additional service to your practice. How do you choose the telehealth solution for your practice?
Here are the key components to evaluate your future telehealth platform/vendor:
1. Software features
If you don’t need the software to make you eggs for breakfast, don’t buy one because it can. Before you call the first company that popped up after you googled “telehealth software,” make sure you have a list of features that apply to your practice. Divide your list into “must-have” and “nice-to-have” options. Your software features list should include options such as capturing medical history and updating patient medical records, links to billing the patient’s insurance, encryption & HIPAA compliance, to name a few.
You are about to make a crucial telehealth decision; most of the smaller practices might only get one shot at this. Make sure you invest in the right telehealth platform that allows you to do the things that fits your practice needs.
2. Relationship with the telehealth software vendor and or/platform
If the software is exceptional, but you have to wait for updates, improvements, or technical support too long, it might not be the best match. Too often, we see a software company going missing after the check clears. You should have an ongoing relationship with your software vendor, so do your research about the company as well.
3. Existing IT Infrastructure
The expansion of telehealth could create an additional strain for existing health IT infrastructure. Practices need to make sure their digital environment can support the tools required for a successful connection. Video conferencing is one of the most data-intensive barriers facing telehealth. Physicians need not only a secure connection but also a reliable one, so the video is clear.
4. Total Cost
The sky is the limit; but in telehealth platforms, your budget is the limit. Your potential telehealth vendor should walk you through the various line items on your estimate. Have a clear understanding of the one-time vs. monthly subscription vs. based on usage fees. Some examples of typical costs are hardware, initial setup, training of your staff, support, future updates, maintenance, and customization.
5. Telehealth Policy and Procedure
It is vital that your office workflow and staff understand how telehealth will work with your practice. The buy-in of your staff and patient is the key to your success in telehealth. Your medical staff needs to evaluate what patient needs to qualify for telehealth. You do not want to bring patients into your office when telehealth will provide the same outcome. However, redundancy created by telehealth visits only to ask the patient to come to your office in person may cause insurance denials and frustrated patients. Using an outside source to help evaluate your office workflow and policies can be the key to your success.
The US telehealth market is expected to reach around $10 billion by 2020 with high double-digit growth due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Physician’s practices need to think strategically about telehealth technology, patient needs, and sensible goals when choosing to launch a telehealth service.
Sunlit Cove Healthcare Consultants can help you review and decide, which of these factors matter most to your practice when choosing a telehealth vendor. Contact us or give us a call at 727.576.2903 to get started.
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