Telemedicine is all about providing health care to patients who are distant and not physically present at a clinic through the use of telecommunication and information technology (IT). It’s used to overcome distance barriers and make medical services better especially in underdeveloped locations like rural areas where they are not consistently available. Telemedicine also is helpful in critical care and emergency situations.
Telecommunication evolved and advanced in the 20th century thanks to the development of communication technologies and IT. These techniques allow communications take place between the patient and the medical personnel with ease and reliability and enables the transfer of medical data like scans, health history and vital signs from one source to the other. Today telemedicine uses video conferencing, advanced diagnostic software supported by distributed client applications and high-tech devices that make home care possible.
Telemedicine has already changed health care for better and patients are becoming more and more open to it as it allows them a lot of conveniences especially when a health care service is far away. Along with the patients, health care providers are also enjoying the benefits of these tech advancements by admitting fewer hospital re-admissions, more satisfied customers, better care outcomes and profitable practice.
While telemedicine is gaining popularity, some problems might happen with treating patients that way. There are some elements that patients expect like empathy and trust from a health care provider regardless of the nature of a consultation.
The following suggestions will help providers make their virtual appointments more successful and smooth.
1. Have high-quality equipment for your consultations
It may seem like an expensive transaction, but it’s a good investment that will be beneficial for you in the long-run. The best quality equipment will make your telemedicine appointments go smoothly with the patient as it will minimize any communication issues. It’s also crucial that professionals have a high-quality webcam to be able to see the patient clearly without any glitches. Patients will feel comfortable when they can look at the physicians clearly, and this is of utmost importance because the video is really the only way the patient can have a more personal interaction with the provider.
Secondly, sound equipment must also be of high quality so that the messages sent from one party to the other may not be lost. High-quality speakers and microphones must be used by physicians. It may seem like a hefty cost but in the long run better equipment will pay off with happier patients and regular appointments.
2. Dress professionally
Being a healthcare professional, it’s crucial that you always dress appropriately when you are consulting a patient and providing your services. If you present yourself to your patients in a professional manner, they will feel more comfortable and confident with you.
3. Be punctual
People prefer telemedicine services for the convenience they offer. There is no time wasted in the waiting room like in a real visit, and it is not professional if a health care provider makes their patient wait too long on the computer for an appointment.
To ensure this, a notification system can be set up that will let you know when your patient is around. Professional telemedicine solution providers can help a physician set these features up and running within no time.
4.Work from a professional space
It doesn’t matter where you choose to work from like your home, your office or the examination room. But you do need to take care of the fact that your room is clean, quiet and distraction free. It’s best that the professional sits at a table or desk with the needed documents and files before starting so that there are no interruptions.
5. Be thorough with each patient
Just as you would prepare for regular consultation, make sure you go through your patient’s charts and complaints before the virtual appointment. When you familiarize yourself with the patient and their medical details you can make the session productive and smooth for both of you.
6. Be an effective communicator
Some telemedicine health care providers may not know that it’s important to always look your patient in the eye when talking to him instead of looking at their face on the screen. This means that you should look directly into the webcam so that the patient can feel connected to you.
Other than this, it’s essential to be a good listener and listen carefully to what your patients have to say and give them positive feedback like nodding to let them know that you understand them. You have developed more empathy for the patient than you would in a traditional office environment as you need to win the trust of a patient who is not actually with you. Lastly to ensure effective communication, always ask questions to further clarify any confusions before ending the conversation.
7. Give proper post appointment instructions
Telemedicine visits can be a little more confusing as compared to traditional visits at an office as there are no written instructions. So it’s much more important that the patient is given proper instructions with all the necessary details mentioned to pick the electronically prescribed medication and to have a follow up a virtual appointment.
Physicians must double check that all the information that they gave is passed correctly to the patient. You must also ask the patient how their experience is with the virtual session and then use the feedback to improve their next appointment.
As more and more people embrace telemedicine as a way to access healthcare, it becomes ever more critical for care providers to incorporate the technology into their practice and keep up with the evolution and introduction of new features that take place. With that, a good first impression made during a session is bound to make a lasting relationship as the entire deal is dependent on winning the trust of the people who are not used to a lot of technology in most aspects of life, mainly middle-aged and older patients.