The definition of features that a provider needs to present the best possible care to their patients will always change. This is because the technology that now builds quality care is constantly changing, making healthcare a metamorphic field. One tool that has made its way into the field and is not going anywhere anytime soon is telehealth. While this tool has been in the field for the last 10-15 years, it continues to develop and simplify how providers are able to deliver high-quality care to patients who not only need it but are actively looking for it. It is important that providers not only offer telehealth to their patients, but they also need to understand the different functions that a telehealth tool can offer. Some vendors in the field claim to offer ground-breaking software but do not offer you these unique and essential functions that a provider needs from their telehealth software.
1) Text Notification
Patients know the feeling well. They are moving through their day and the feeling of instant panic hits the pit of their stomach because they realized their appointment with their physician slipped their mind. While telehealth has done wonders in making the meeting with a physician a much more convenient process by allowing patients to meet with their provider from the comfort of their own home, it needs to go a step farther. The first function a provider needs from their telehealth software is text notifications. With this function, patients get a text notification, shortly before the visit is scheduled, to remind them to stop whatever it is they are doing to take a few moments to focus on their personal health. This function, in contrast to traditional phone calls, is more likely to remind the patient who might have otherwise ignored an unknown number calling them.
2) Geo-Based Pharmacy Recommendations
Electronic prescriptions changed the lives of patients who were in a hurry to pick up their prescriptions and move forward with their day. This still rings true today as the lives of patients are more on-the-go than ever. The factor that has changed is that patients no longer pick up their prescriptions at the same pharmacy every time. Sometimes they have an errand across town or are sick while they are an hour away from home. The telehealth function that is helping patients access their prescriptions in the most convenient way possible is geo-based pharmacy recommendations. Providers are able to recommend that closest pharmacy to a patient based on their location so that the patient does not have to wait to get their prescriptions and start the road to recovery. Telehealth helps the patients receive quality care even though they are on the go.
3) Seamless Integration
Finding ways to offer patients holistic care is important, there is no doubt about it. Engaging the patient in a way that is simple and easy for them helps them care more about their health and is part of the reason telehealth is so important. It is also important that the provider has all of the tools they need readily available to treat their patients via telehealth and part of that is having telehealth software fully integrated with the office’s Electronic Health Record (EHR). Communicate with your patients while simultaneously viewing their medical history. This equips the provider with the tools they need to holistically care for their patient even though they are not there with them in person.
4) Secure Messaging
A problem that arises with patients is even though they come into the office, or visit via telehealth, they sometimes leave the office confused or forgetful. Even though a care plan is set in place, the patient could be fuzzy on the details or forget specifics of the conversation that was just had. The fourth function that providers should see form their telehealth provider is secure messaging. This means a safety net for your patients so that they no longer forget the details of the visit. They can receive a secure message both in their patient portal or in the form of a text with a review of their visit. This last reminder can be the very thing that makes sure your patient understands how to take their medication properly or remind them to ask clarifying question via their patient portal.
These four functions of telehealth should be represented from a quality software provider. Look for text notifications, geo-based pharmacy recommendations, total integration, and secure messaging from your telehealth provider in order to make your virtual appointments a success.
Interested in a telehealth solution for your practice? Contact our team for a free demo to see how telehealth works.