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How to Choose the Right Telehealth Vendor for Your Practice

Posted by Teresa Iafolla, Mar 24, 2016

So, you're ready to add telehealth to your practice. But how do you choose the right telehealth solution for your practice?

There are two key parts to evaluating a telehealth vendor:

  1. Assessing the telehealth software solution
  2. Evaluating the company itself, and its provided services

In other words, you should always look at the software product you're buying and the vendor you're buying it from. After all, you'll likely have an ongoing relationship with this vendor.

To gather all the information you’ll need, always be sure to schedule a live demo of the software with the company. Have your list of desired features ready so you can ask questions as you see the software in action.

And speaking of the questions you should ask, here’s a quick walkthrough of the points you may want to consider as you’re evaluating each telehealth vendor. Some of these factors might be more important to you than others. But this list will give you a great starting point.

1. Evaluating the Telehealth Software

As you assess the company's telehealth software, ask yourself: Does the product let me do everything I need to perform a telehealth visit? Will it work for my use case and my specialty? Is it missing anything that will cause potential workflow issues for me?

Consider these questions as you walk through the 3 key areas of assessing the software - Engineering, Features, and Cost.

Engineering
How was the software built?

  • Is the platform easy to use? (remember, your patients will be using this too!)
  • Can you customize the platform to fit your needs?
  • What devices, systems, and browsers is it designed to run on?
  • Is it cloud-based or does it require software installation?
  • Does it have top-notch security (encryption, signed BAA, HIPAA compliance)?

Software Features
What functionality does the telehealth platform have?

  • Can the software deliver HD video?
  • Does is have built-in ePrescribe?
  • Does it have built-in billing?
  • Is there a mobile app available (be sure to ask about iOS and Android)?
  • How does it capture patient medical history and records?
  • Does the platform capture patient insurance?
  • Documentation:
    • Does the software allow me to record visit notes?
    • Does it easily transfer/export notes to my EMR?
    • Does it create a record that I can submit for billing or use as appropriate documentation of the visit?

Cost
What's the total cost to use this software?

Have a rough budget outlined and have the telehealth vendor walk through the various costs. The expenses can vary widely based on the technology and your use case. For example, at eVisit, we merely charge a monthly subscription fee and a one-time implementation fee to access our entire software solution and services.

Here are some examples of common costs:

  • Monthly or annual subscription fee
  • Equipment & set-up needed
  • Training
  • Support & implementation costs

Other potential costs to consider:

  • Server & software installation costs (minimal if the solution is cloud-based!)
  • Patient marketing materials
  • Customizations to be made to the platform for your practice
  • Ongoing maintenance or software upgrades
  • Education resources/certifications/other

Checkout our online ROI calculator to see how much revenue you could generate from our eVisit telehealth platform.

2. Assessing the Telehealth Vendor & Services

Beyond the telehealth software itself, what services does the company offer? Does it offer ongoing technical support and help getting your telehealth program up-and-running? Is its mission and values aligned with your own? Do you like the company?

Make sure you consider these three key areas about the telehealth company and its support services:

Technical Support

  • Do they offer technical support for your staff and for patients?
  • Is the tech support by chat, email, or phone?
  • During what hours?
  • Any additional cost?
  • Quality? (is it outsourced?)

Implementation Support

  • Do you have a customer success coach to walk you through telemedicine workflow questions and best practices, step-by-step?
  • Do you have someone committed to getting your program launched successfully?

Company Approach to Service

  • As you’re researching the software and talking with the vendor, is the rep consistently friendly and helpful?
  • Does someone answer right away or get back to you ASAP if you leave a message?
  • Are they transparent about answers to your questions?
  • Do they have a content program for customers, offering information on news and best practices in the telemedicine field?
  • Do they provide valuable information to current clients, even after launch?

You may also want to look at the company's mission and values and whether they have physician leadership (a sign they really know physicians' workflows and care about their customers).

Review this list and decide, which of these factors matter most to you when choosing a telehealth vendor? Create your list and have that ready as you talk with your list of potential telehealth companies.
What other things are you looking for when evaluating telehealth software companies?

 

We'd love to hear what you want in a telemedicine platform.

Share your thoughts in the comments!

Topics: billing, eVisit Blog Posts, Practice Management, practice mgmt, revenue, ROI, telehealth, Telemedicine, telemedicine vendor, vendor

Teresa Iafolla

About Teresa Iafolla

Teresa Iafolla is an expert writer, researcher, and content wrangler who has previously worked as director of content marketing for a telehealth company and associate editor for a healthcare publishing company.

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