How To Overcome The Challenges In Implementing Telehealth?
A survey found that nearly 50% to 80% of the medical visits were conducted via telemedicine at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. This drastic revolution of telehealth has transformed the interaction between healthcare providers and patients.
As we already discussed the benefit of telehealth in our previous blog, here are the challenges in implementing telehealth and the best ways to overcome them.
1. Privacy And Security Concerns
Security and interoperability presented challenges for these providers because disparate healthcare organizations were required to communicate information. To overcome these issues, grantees coordinated common security technologies, including firewalls and encryption, while sharing and maintaining security protocols.
This required cooperation between different healthcare providers and the coordination of departments beyond IT. The report pointed out, “Changing organizational policies requires buy-in from organization leaders who understand the value of telehealth for providers and patients.”
2. Patient Satisfaction & Retention Concerns
A common myth among critics is the concern of an impersonal patient experience due to the virtual environment of a telehealth visit. It is often assumed that because patients and providers are communicating through a video screen and that visits are briefer than your traditional in-person visit, a virtual visit will lack a feeling of human connection and cause issues with patient satisfaction. This is a myth; patients often have lesser feelings of human connection during an in-person visit than during a telehealth visit.
Asking patient-centered questions about their goals for care at the beginning of the visit can open a healthy discussion between provider and patient. If the patient is new to the virtual visit experience, providers can educate them by discussing the aspects of the visit and virtual care, so they know what to expect and feel more comfortable.
Making direct eye contact, actively listening, and not interrupting when the patient is speaking can all improve the patient experience during a virtual visit. Creating a welcoming virtual care environment with quality telehealth-appropriate cameras, natural lighting, and room aesthetics can also improve the patient experience.
Organizational culture changes as part of any telehealth services offering. Gaining the buy-in of stakeholders is imperative in any new service line. Yet the grantees found that because patients saw many different providers within a healthcare organization, telehealth helped facilitate a team-centric approach that lent itself to coordinated care.
The challenge of coordinating care improves with telehealth because it eliminates geographic distances that stymie communication between providers and the providers and their patients. The study said, “Telehealth supports and enhances team-based care by connecting providers remotely to foster collaboration and health information exchange.”
4. Rural And Remote Access
Those living in rural and remote areas have the most need for telehealth services, since they may have trouble accessing specialists or even a family doctor. However, these remote patients may face barriers to access.
The patient may only be able to access telehealth services at a clinic, requiring travel. This clinic must have the proper technology, such as connected blood pressure monitors and other testing equipment, as well as someone on staff to coordinate the consultation.
To access telemedicine remotely, the patient or clinic must have internet service capable of handling video communications. Rural customers often have trouble finding affordable, reliable internet. The broadband internet services common in cities are often unavailable in rural areas, and in remote regions, even cellular service may not work. Overcoming rural and remote access challenges requires infrastructure commitment, whether from the government or providers.
Based on the research conducted by Grand View Research Inc., the U.S. telehealth market is expected to reach $2.8 billion by the year 2022. Worldwide, it may exceed $40 billion. So, healthcare providers who do not adopt this growing technology will be at the risk of losing patients.
Ready to implement a telehealth platform for your practice?
Vozo telehealth solutions will be the best choice to deliver care remotely. Our HIPAA-compliant, easy-to-use Video Visits, secure messaging, easy patient scheduling, and patient portal help you to provide better care for your patients and results in improved patient satisfaction.