Practices can struggle knowing essential requirements to start telehealth. Follow this 6 point criteria to get started.
Legal & Liability
Telehealth is a tool to deliver clinical care. Not a unique and distinct clinical service. Every state, country, medical association and governing body has rules for the practice of medicine. When providing care through telehealth, you must practice standard of care and follow the rules of medicine.
Things to consider:
● Do I need to have a license in the location the patient is located?
● Are there legal and liability groups I need to notify I’m doing telehealth?
● Does my specialty association have a position paper about telehealth practice?
● Do I need legal agreements with vendors or service providers?
● Do I need to update consent forms?
Telehealth has been practiced for over a decade. There is a depth of literature to support efficacy which makes telehealth low risk.
Technology & Security
Technology must meet security and privacy requirements of your country. Video feeds are sought after by hackers. Don’t jeopardize the security of your practice and patients. If a tech company cannot show security documentation to meet your standards, look for a different tool. There are plenty available that can meet strict security regulations and guidelines.
Clinical Champions & Workflows
Who does what and how do they do it.
Clinician champions are your #1 priority. Healthcare is adverse to change. The champion helps get your program started. If clinicians aren’t interested and don’t want to do it, it’s not going to succeed. The clinician champion is essential. They're the ones that help you drive and lead the new service.
Priority #2 is workflow. The workflow is logistics, process and clinical guidelines. It’s the steps you do on a daily basis in your practice. The things that get done automatically. How is the patient scheduled, confirmation call, labs collected, medication reconciled, checked in, roomed, follow up appointment schedule, etc, etc, etc. All the little things that are done on autopilot, must be transitioned or revised for your virtual service.
You can improve your current clinical workflow when implementing telehealth. If you see processes that don’t work or don’t make sense, eliminate them. Use your creation of virtual services as a spring cleaning of processes and habits that aren't serving you or your patients.
Love it or hate it, technology is not going anywhere in healthcare. Embrace it. Use it for your gain instead of it using you.
Get specialized training on how to start and grow your telehealth service. Think of it this way, you didn't DIY learning how to be a clinician. You got trained, had supervision and had people who helped when you started. Give yourself the gift of help for your telehealth program. You’ll enjoy it more and you’ll learn the freedom it can bring to your practice sooner.