The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted our views when it comes to many things in life, but one is how and where our healthcare is provided. Most hospitals, clinics, and health systems implemented telehealth platforms during this pivotal time to ensure their patients were receiving the care they needed while complying with restrictions on in-person care. Overall telehealth was implemented as a temporary solution, but new data, legislative, and regulatory changes have been put in place with the aim of making telemedicine a permanent fixture of healthcare provision. Recent news articles and user stories have shown us that not all telehealth platforms are created equally.
Here we have compiled a comprehensive list of the top 10 things to consider when choosing a telehealth platform in this post-pandemic world:
1. Ease of Use: Look for telehealth software that is user-friendly for everyone involved in the process like your patients, providers, and hospital administrators. Platforms that have an intuitive interface and make it easy for the user to navigate through the system are crucial to ensure a seamless experience.
2. Compatibility and Integration: Ensure that the telehealth software can provide you with a view of the patient's medical record. This will expand your scope of practice dramatically, while also providing peace of mind for your patient and doctor that they are being treated with the medical information necessary to make an informed diagnosis. We recommend a platform that is EHR agnostic due to the many challenges associated with EHR-integrated telehealth.
3. Security and Compliance: You should aim to prioritize the security of patient communication and data at the top of your list. Look for a platform with enterprise-grade security you can trust. A few compliance certifications to look for are HIPAA, GDPR, HiTrust, SOC2, and End-to-End Encryption.
4. Video and Audio Quality: Opt for software that boasts strong audio and video quality, as well as support for patients and providers if connectivity issues should arise. Robust video, audio, and chat capabilities will enhance the overall effectiveness of your virtual care delivery model.
5. Accessibility and Device Compatibility: Consider whether the telehealth platform is accessible on all devices your patients and providers may be using such as web browsers, iPhones, Androids, etc. This ensures patients can easily connect with the provider for their appointment regardless of their preferred device and allows the patient to use a device they’re already comfortable with as opposed to learning a new system just to be able to partake in telehealth.
6. Appointment Scheduling and Reminders: Look for software that has dynamic scheduling capabilities and benefits the whole team like giving providers access to control their daily schedule, tasking administrators with rescheduling, and patients with appointment reminders all within the same platform. Implementing efficient scheduling practices can help you manage your provider workflow and reduce no-show rates from patients.
7. Telehealth Features and Customization: Look for a solution that can brand the entire user interface to your organization to continue to foster a relationship of trust between patient and provider. It is also important to consider the methods offered to connect with a patient such as video calling, audio-only calling, and chat capabilities all within one platform provides flexibility to meet every patient's needs.
8. Technical Support and Training: Ensure that the software company you are looking at views your relationship as a partnership and is there to offer continuous training and support from the onboarding process forward. A support team that you are familiar with and can trust to be responsive is crucial to your organization's success when problems arise.
9. Charting and Prescription Integration: Look for a telehealth platform that allows your provider to do the time-consuming work within the platform, rather than having to switch between multiple systems to complete the appointment and after-session duties. For example, choose a platform that would allow your provider to chart within the system and e-prescribe for the patient they just saw- without ever having to log in to a new platform.
10. Reviews and User Feedback: Before finalizing the decision with a telehealth software company, make sure to do your research on reviews and ask your point of contact with the organization for some case studies or user feedback from their other customers.
Choosing the right telehealth software is essential for delivering high-quality virtual care and ensuring a positive experience for your patients, providers, and administrators. By considering these top 10 factors, we are confident that you can make an informed decision that aligns with your practice’s needs while also enhancing the experience for everyone involved.