How to stay competitive through virtual health

Patients increasingly expect virtual care options such as online bookings, secure messaging and videoconferencing from their healthcare providers. Here’s how to establish a high level of trust with your patients as you roll out telemedicine.

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In an environment where patients have increasing control and expectations for their care experience, providers have unique opportunities to improve communications with their patients. Virtual health is one way to build trust and connection for those times when an in-person meeting isn’t necessary.

As healthcare providers grappled with how to continue delivering care at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine provided an efficient way to streamline appointments where physical interaction wasn’t required. Many providers have since discovered the competitive advantages of virtual health options.

If your healthcare organization is still questioning whether to adopt virtual solutions for the long-term, consider the results of a survey by Econsultancy:

  • 94% of patients under age 35 stated they would consider switching to a new healthcare provider to access services like virtual care and online booking
  • 75% of patients expect the same experience from healthcare providers that they get from other businesses
  • 92% of patients surveyed said that they research healthcare options online before making a decision

Patients increasingly expect options such as online bookings, secure messaging and videoconferencing. Virtual health options are key to remaining competitive.

Build trust with virtual health

To establish high levels of trust as you implement telemedicine, keep the following in mind:

Familiarize yourself with the tools:

Nothing can ruin trust faster than someone who doesn’t know how to use technology. Be sure clinicians know how to properly use the conferencing tool so they’re ready to connect as soon as the patient is available. Knowing the tool well will also allow it to be a conduit for communication and not a point of distraction.

Privatize your office or setting:

It’s not just your connection that needs to be secure. When clinicians  meet with patients virtually, they should be in a private location in the clinic or medical office, such as an exam room or office. If they’re in a remote location, they should find a room where they can shut the door.

Give patients clear instructions:

Be sure patients know how to dial in via phone, computer or tablet. If there are language or technology barriers, find someone in the office who can help orient the patient to the system before the appointment. This process will streamline the appointment for the clinician so the sole focus can be on the medical concern, not the technology.

Use multiple layers of security:

Security is of primary importance as you implement virtual health options. Choose secure connectivity options, such as dedicated connections or VPNs, and protect your network with a firewall. Make sure that whatever platform you’re using for virtual meetings is secured on your end to maintain compliance. Be sure your Internet connection is secure, and use a videoconferencing platform that offers end-to-end encryption.

Allstream has the videoconferencing solution to help you improve your patient experience and stay competitive in a virtual world. Check out our website to learn more.

Images: Lordn/iStock

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