Do you have to be a certified techie to get started using telehealth today? What are the basic requirements you need in place to offer virtual care? These questions come up often from health care providers around the world.
Providing your patients with virtual visits is simpler than you think — if you know what to look for in a telehealth solution.
Whether that be using video or an advanced system where you can provide remote exams. I can guarantee there is a solution out there for you. The demand for telehealth services has exploded today with the coronavirus pandemic.
Now is a perfect time to start up a telehealth practice. So — let’s discuss some technical requirements to consider to get you started.
Choose Your Software
The first step is to pick a secure telehealth platform. You might think you can offer virtual care through popular video tools like Zoom or Skype. This couldn’t be further from the truth, because those tools aren’t HIPAA-compliant at all.
Also, you don’t want to be a victim of the zoom-bombing phenomenon right now.
Can you imagine being on a Zoom call, and a patient is sharing their daily bowel habits with you? And suddenly, you find out there has been someone on the call with you — the whole time.
Sure, this scenario will be awkward for both you and your patient. But, what’s most important is to avoid any HIPAA violations.
A reputable business website put together a guide of the top 4 telehealth software today. They also include a questionnaire to help direct your decisions.
The key factors you want to consider in a telehealth software include:
- Ease of use
The bottom line is there isn’t a one-size-fits-all software solution. You must consider your practice’s current needs. Then, brainstorm ways to make the telehealth software work for your practice.
Know What Hardware You Need
If you don’t know which hardware to use with your telehealth software, what’s the use? It’s important to know if your software works with your patients’ smartphone, laptop, or tablet. So, how can you discover which devices are compatible?
Try asking your telehealth vendor which devices will work for their platform. In this way, you can get clear on what you and your patients will need for virtual visits. The operating system (apple or windows) the software supports is also important to know.
Most modern computers and phones come built-in with cameras and microphones. But some patients may need to purchase an affordable external microphone or camera. Your patients can purchase this before their virtual visit, but in most cases, they might not need to at all.
Get Fast Internet Connection
You and your patients should have a strong internet connection if you want your telehealth visits to be smooth. If the connection isn’t powerful enough, the video will be of low quality, and this can affect how your patients perceive you and may lower trust.
Don’t feel tech-savvy enough? No problem, click “GO” and bam you’ll get your computer’s results stat.
Here’s an example of a speed test result:
If your internet speeds are coming up short — you can reach out to your internet provider to request an upgrade suitable for your needs. Then, retest to see if there’s a noticeable improvement in your internet’s speed.
You can suggest your patients use an ethernet connection during virtual visits. If their WiFi isn’t fast enough. Or, they can hop on their cell phone if your telehealth software is compatible with their device. Either way, you can’t go wrong with faster data transfer plus crystal clear video.
Rely on Technical Support
Don’t worry. You won’t have to take on extra work all by yourself. Some telehealth platforms include ongoing support you can use to your benefit. While others provide support, but you’d need to pay a premium for it.
So, choosing the most user-friendly software ought to be top of mind for you. Then you might not need much support going forward. All telehealth platforms offer initial training sessions.
This period is known as implementation. During this time, they’ll configure your platform to match your preferences. Then your team will receive training. Get this, most times there isn’t any added cost to you.
Technical support can help:
- Prevent interruptions in care
- Ensure stable internet connection
- Address any software, hardware, and other technical concerns
Take advantage of this training period, so you can build towards success now and into the future. Also, remember that you can always use more technical support as you see fit.
You’ve Made It
A successful telehealth program’s recipe includes the following ingredients:
- A stable internet connection
- Use of devices compatible with telehealth software
- Accessible technical support (should you need it)
Everything else boils down to what you can afford and user-friendliness. The preferences and budget of a health system and private practice will be different. But that’s okay because there is a telehealth service out there for you. Ready to try telehealth in your practice?