The use of telehealth it has expanded dramatically during the pandemic, but not all patients are well equipped for a video visit.
Telehealth: There are some things you can do to be prepared for these scenarios
Technical difficulties can make video visits difficult at times. Some patients do not have the necessary device or sufficient internet speed. Others may have a hard time understanding how to use technology (especially if they need to download a new app).
Sometimes technical difficulties can occur on the part of the doctor.
There are a few things you can do to prepare for these scenarios. Some practices have a sample letter that they send (via email or “snail mail”) to patients prior to their appointment asking them to test their device to see if it is compatible with their telehealth platform.
The letters can include some brief instructions for using the platform and reminding patients to stay close to a reliable Internet connection during the visit.
The letter may also include options for what to do if the technology does not work on the day of the visit, such as rescheduling if there are problems with the connection. As well as converting to an audio-only phone visit if the patient cannot access the video. During the COVID-19 public health emergency, many types of telehealth services are delivered with audio only.
Have a second evaluation for telehealth visits
Patients who are comfortable using the Internet but do not have a strong enough connection for video visits. They can solve their problems through online digital assessment and management (which has been refundable since 2020). This includes sharing prerecorded text messages, photos, or videos through a patient portal or other secure platform.
Another thing you may want to consider is having a second evaluation for telehealth visits. That way, you can display the EHR on one screen for documentation while talking to the patient on the other screen. Simply explain what you are doing so patients will know why you occasionally break eye contact.
Lastly, it is also helpful to ask patients to submit vital data such as weight and blood pressure prior to a telehealth visit, as you will not be able to take these measurements as you normally would on an office visit.
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