So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and adopt a telemedicine solution in your practice or organization. Here’s to better patient outcomes, higher revenue, and a more efficient care delivery process!
Before you experience any of those benefits, though, you have to successfully get your new telemedicine program off the ground — and that involves a bit of strategizing. With that in mind, here are six tips for making sure your telemedicine program is a success:
1) Do your due diligence.
You can’t just flip the switch, so to speak, and expect the patients — and profits — to come rolling in immediately. In other words, you need a plan — one with carefully calculated projections around initial telemedicine visit numbers, associated staff resources, and a breakdown of operating costs versus revenue.
Then, once you actually pull the trigger, make sure you consistently measure and track those data points. That way, as this article explains, you can get a rough idea of what your ROI is within a few months of your telemedicine launch.
2) Form a team and designate a captain.
As with any business project, success is more likely to happen when specific people are held accountable for that success. So, figure out who in your organization will lead the charge to implement your new telemedicine program. Depending on the size of your office, you may want to form a team — with a captain — or simply designate a single point person.
Either way, keep in mind that people tend to be more invested in new projects when they are passionate about those endeavors. Thus, I’d recommend steering clear of making this an assignment. Instead, ask for volunteers — and be sure to communicate your enthusiasm for the incredible potential of this new technology.
3) Know the rules.
This sort of goes hand-in-hand with doing your due diligence, but it’s important to recognize that the rules for reimbursement of telemedicine services aren’t always the same as they are for traditional medical care. In other words, there may be limits on the types of patients you can treat via telemedicine as well as which telemedicine services are reimbursable.
Regulations vary from state to state and payer to payer, so you’ll need to sort out the details of your state’s law and the billing guidelines for all of your major insurance carriers. That way, you can make sure you stay well within legal bounds — and avoid delivering any services for which you cannot receive payment.
4) Enlist the right technology partner.
Your telemedicine platform should make the whole launch process easier. That means picking a partner that not only has HIPAA and other security considerations on lock, but also features an intuitive user interface and a simple installation process.
Bonus points if your telemedicine platform allows providers to connect to patients anywhere, anytime, from virtually any web-enabled device. After all, the more virtual visits your practice is able to conduct, the better your telemedicine ROI.
5) Flex your marketing muscle — internally and externally.
For your telemedicine program to truly take off, you have to foster buy-in — among providers and patients alike. So, take the time to educate your staff members on how the solution works, what kinds of patients and clinical scenarios are ideal for telemedicine, and why leveraging telemedicine whenever appropriate is mutually beneficial to your organization and your patients (hint: it boosts revenue and patient engagement). Then, encourage them to present telemedicine as an option to their patients.
If you have a marketing email list (i.e., a list of patients who have opted into receiving non-clinical messaging from your organization), you may want to craft a message announcing your telemedicine launch. You’ll also want to make sure potential new patients know that you offer a telemedicine option.
In addition to including it on your website, be sure to update all of your ads — especially the digital ones — and other marketing materials (brochures, pamphlets, etc.) with this information.
6) Monitor feedback and metrics.
Remember those projections you established under step number 1? It’s important to consistently track your practice’s progress toward those goals — and update or increase target numbers as necessary. That way, you can see whether your current telemedicine strategy is working — or if you need to course-correct.
Additionally, I’d recommend surveying patients and providers to get a pulse on their thoughts and feelings about your new telemedicine program. You may get some good ideas on how to tweak your processes to ensure even greater satisfaction — and success.