Patient Preparedness – Telehealth and Virtual Visits
The following question and answers come from posts on SHSMD’s online discussion groups.*
Join the conversation at my.shsmd.org.
Q. We adopted telehealth/virtual visits last year on a new platform. We’d like to help patients be more prepared before a scheduled appointment. What have you done to help with preparedness and patient adoption of virtual visits? What has been most effective in communication?
A: You are not alone. Preparedness and familiarity with the technology impact whether the virtual visit will be successful from the patient's point-of-view. A handful of things I've seen that work well include:
- Upon scheduling, segment patients where this is their first virtual. Provide short tip sheets.
- Redesign clinic workflow to ensure someone on the team (such as a patient service rep or medical assistant) is available to help prepare "first time" patients. Check to see if there are questions.
- Provide extra time, or even schedule practice sessions, for first time visits — like you might for a new patient visit.
Patient and provider endorsements in communication can help with adoption by emphasizing ease of access and convey clinical efficacy on the provider side.
A: Such a great question! To address this issue, we had a medical assistant (MA) phone the patient 15 minutes prior to their appointment (they were informed to expect this call) so that the MA could troubleshoot connectivity, audio, etc. with the patient. That way when the provider joined the appointment the patient was all set. This helped ensure that providers would not have address technical issues with patients.
We also created an online resource page for MyChart, explaining set up, etc. That page has served as a great resource for our patients and also our staff as they are working with patients.
*The answers to the above question are excerpts from MySHSMD discussions. In some instances the responses have been edited for grammar and/or brevity purposes for Community Connections.
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