21 May Common Telehealth Mistakes To Avoid
Although COVID-19 has forced stay at home orders to reign over a large percentage of the global population, the need for medical care remains present. Many offices have started to incorporate telehealth services to help patients get the care they need from the comfort of their own homes. However for many practices, telehealth was not a service they offered prior to COVID-19, so there is room for error. Our team at Prescription PR would like to advise you on some of the most common telehealth mistakes so you can steer clear of them.
Not Communicating Your Services
One of the most common mistakes we have seen practices make is their lack of marketing for their capabilities. In the internet age, it is not hard for patients to find medical offices that offer the telehealth services that fit their needs. If you don’t advertise your offerings, you’ll be missing out on numerous patients. Our team does not want to see that happen, and can help you sell your telehealth services by doing the following:
- Updating your Google listings including Google My Business, Website metadescriptions, and provider profile accounts on platforms like Healthgrades to indicate you offer telehealth.
- Creating blogs and backend content pieces detailing your services.
- Posting your services on social media.
- Sending out e-blasts and newsletters.
Not Adhering To HIPAA Requirements
Applications such as Skype and Facetime are terrific for using video chats to keep people connected. While you may believe this is the perfect way for your practice to offer telehealth, you’d be mistaken. These applications do not adequately protect sensitive patient data and information. Although HIPAA has relaxed regulations in light of recent events, you need to think long-term as telehealth will likely be an important service stream as the world moves into a new normal. Click here to take a look at a recent blog discussing different HIPAA approved applications.
Failure To Test
Before using telehealth technology with patients, you’ll want to ensure that your setup is running smoothly and without issue. Unfortunately, may rush this. Doing so will create a suboptimal patient experience, leading them to post negative reviews online and have them seeking out care elsewhere. To avoid this from happening, we recommend you take a “family and friends” testing approach so you can test your capabilities with people you trust.
Check With Your Malpractice Insurance
Keeping yourself protected from medical malpractice always needs to be a top priority. Changes to your practice, such as adding telehealth services, can directly change your coverage and costs. Also, handling patients residing in different states can present potential issues depending on the care provided, especially if the patient resides in a state not covered by your medical practice insurance. Too many practices rush to set up telehealth capability without first checking on how it will affect them financially. To avoid this, contact your insurers right away when you begin to look at your telehealth options.
Check With Your Participating Insurance Plans
Many major insurance providers have now opted to reimburse for telehealth either at equal rates to office visits or partial rates. It is important to be aware of how each plan you participate in handles these claims. Click here for a recent blog discussing how to get reimbursed for telehealth!
Not Having A Plan
While offering telehealth is great for both your patients and your staff, blindly rushing into offering this service will cause more harm than good. Although it can be time-consuming, you must be sure you’ve set up a plan to integrate this new technology into your practice. Before opening your virtual doors, we recommended ironing out the following details to avoid any shortcomings:
- Communicate with your staff on how these services should be utilized.
- Find the optimal amount of virtual visits your team should schedule each week.
- Understand the types of telehealth visits you will be offering.
- Think of how you will utilize telehealth once stay at home orders have been lifted.
- Follow any changes to HIPAA requirements that are made regarding telehealth.
If there is any silver lining to be taken from the global pandemic, it’s that medical practices have begun to embrace new ways of providing healthcare. Services such as these are both extremely convenient to patients and can help keep both them and your staff safe. When your practice begins to offer this, contact our team at Prescription PR right away. We’ll help you create a telehealth marketing strategy, and inform you of more mistakes you should be looking to avoid.