Telehealth offers significant benefits for patients by removing the need to travel to see a physician in person. This has been profoundly beneficial during the pandemic and will continue to deliver benefits well into the future. For example, patients in regional or remote areas can use telehealth services to access specialists and other care providers without having to travel to cities. Patients can manage chronic conditions in the comfort of their own homes. And integrated health records can make it easier for physicians to diagnose and treat patients without requiring them to recite their medical history ad nauseum.
Despite the benefits, the remote healthcare experience isn’t without its challenges. Connectivity issues, user error, and the distractions created by using a computer to interact with someone can mean that the telehealth experience remains inferior to the in-person experience. However, it doesn’t have to remain that way.
At Logicalis, we work with partners and healthcare providers to optimise existing solutions and leverage new digital tools to provide better experiences for patients and frontline healthcare workers. We’ve put together a four-step process to help healthcare providers develop telehealth solutions that drive better experiences for their patients and workers:
- Find what works for your patients: telehealth can significantly improve access to medical practitioners for many Australians. While it can be lifechanging, it’s only effective as a tool if it works for both patient and practitioner in terms of delivering medical advice and support. It may not be the right approach for patients with communication issues or requiring manual therapy or support.
- Identify and develop a clear communications channel: integrating online or app-based booking systems can help to streamline the booking process for many patients. This helps reduce the volume of calls staff need to manage during business hours, providing time to focus on other priority tasks. However, these must be supported by efficient communications channels, such as follow up or reminder texts or emails to patients to prepare them for their appointments. This workflow must include reminders for patients regarding the medium their appointment will occur in to help reduce the confusion that sometimes occurs regarding whether an appointment is to be held remotely or in person.
- Prepare your patients: while COVID-19 forced many Australians to adjust quickly to (and embrace) telehealth services, some patients may have felt underprepared or uninformed. It’s critical that healthcare workers can effectively prepare and communicate with their patients ahead of time to prepare them for what’s needed and involved in a telehealth appointment. Do they need to have access to video, or can it be done over the phone? Will they need to arrange payment for the service or will this be bulk-billed? At a practical level, do they know how to use the technology required for a telehealth appointment, or will they be accompanied by someone who does?
- Invest in supporting solutions: to make telehealth effective for both patients and health workers, it’s essential that healthcare facilities invest in relevant tools that underpin telehealth service to help the solution run smoothly. This may include video technologies, apps and online booking systems, communications tools, and more. Without this investment, healthcare workers may struggle to provide an effective telehealth service for their patients.
Investing in the latest technologies is a critical step towards improving the experience of patients and healthcare workers. For more information on how Logicalis can help you transition to telehealth and digital healthcare solutions to better support your workers and patients, contact the team today.