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By Nicholas Chepesiuk, founder and CEO, OnCall Health
Healthcare organizations and their providers continue to deliver virtual care using disconnected and disjointed point platforms, like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, which only offer simple video conference tools. Without an evolved telehealth strategy that relies on more than video conferencing, organizations will continue to see consistent patient no-shows, lack of positive patient health outcomes, higher inefficiency, and lost revenue.
As a leader in virtual care, I’m often asked how organizations can transition from their current virtual care state to a virtual care strategy that positions them for the long-term. I start by explaining that an effective telehealth strategy goes beyond point solutions – many of which were rapidly adopted during the pandemic to continue caring for patients – to deliver a cohesive, connected virtual care experience that touches every part of a patient’s healthcare journey. But how can organizations build a connected and informed telehealth strategy? It starts with digital admissions and ends with analytics and measurements, all connected through one continuous and integrated virtual care workflow.
Start with digital admissions
While virtual care has made care more accessible, it’s the initial digital encounter that can either make or break a patient’s experience. With this in mind, it’s important for healthcare leaders to develop their telehealth strategy by introducing an intuitive digital entrance – a “digital front door” – for patients to easily find and receive care. Unlike Zoom, complete telehealth solutions provide patients with a digital entrance to care. This can look like a booking page on your website that is easy to find or apps in the app store that patients can download and navigate with ease.
Stop wasting valuable appointment time
Technical issues arise all the time, and often right before an appointment. Because of this, providers and patients often troubleshoot during the appointment, wasting valuable care time without any support from their solution provider. A major advantage of leveraging a complete telehealth solution is the technical support and training they offer. For example, OnCall onboards patients to the platform immediately after booking. Patients test their devices and internet speed and can speak to technical support at any time. Building a virtual care strategy and the best patient experience starts with digital admissions, and continues with a comprehensive onboarding process that builds patient trust and confidence as they move through your virtual care programs.
Virtual care is more than a video call
Just like in-person care, your organization’s virtual care strategy should not start and end with a video appointment. Telehealth is more than a single video touchpoint and requires features and tools that make it easy to provide comprehensive care. This is where a complete telehealth solution can help. End-to-end virtual care platforms offer more than video calls, with instant messaging, group appointments, content sharing tools, and more – all managed through one solution. Not only do complete solutions offer these tools, but these features can also be configured and personalized according to the unique needs of provider teams, locations, patient needs, and care types. Personalizing the care experience empowers patients to have a hand in their healthcare decisions, and encourages them to complete their treatment.
Likewise, a complete telehealth strategy should offer the best provider experience, by combining automations and configurations to reduce inefficiencies. As comprehensive virtual platforms automate appointment reminders, file management, payment, and insurance, they remove the manual work associated with virtual care so providers and administrators can focus on providing care.
Measuring the impact of virtual care
Measuring the success of your virtual care strategy is incredibly challenging with a point solution. A major advantage of comprehensive telehealth solutions is the ability to measure the success of virtual care and its effects on clients and providers. With a detailed analytics dashboard and client health outcomes measurements, you’ll be able to better respond to and anticipate changes to client health, treatment, and program requirements along the way. Ultimately, a strong analytics tool will help you and your providers understand how your virtual care strategy affects your organization, including how clients engage with their treatment and how your business grows over time.
Adoption versus evolution
Finally, to truly evolve a telehealth strategy, healthcare organizations and their leaders need to look beyond point products to a unified, complete solution that enables providers to deliver comprehensive and complete care. To continue caring for clients even after the pandemic wanes, organizations need to evolve their telehealth operations and improve the delivery of their programs beyond video conference tools, which means changing how they think about telehealth. Telehealth is more than a video conference touchpoint and requires organizations to digitize and automate their programs from start to finish to improve the patient experience, maximize efficiency, and build a successful long-term business strategy.
Nicholas Chepesiuk is the founder and CEO of OnCall Health, a technology company that provides best-in-class software to healthcare organizations, startups and clinics to deliver and manage telehealth operations and programs. Under his leadership, OnCall Health is growing rapidly and is used by healthcare’s leading brands, including Allianz, Pyramid Healthcare Inc., and Shoppers Drug Mart.