Telemedicine has been gaining popularity over the last few decades. It’s not just for rural areas with limited access to medical care—it’s also a great way to get easier consultations on common problems, and it can make it easier for patients to follow their doctor’s instructions. As more healthcare providers add this feature to their roster of services, it’s important to understand what makes telemedicine both an effective and efficient solution. In this post, you’ll find out about the best practices for telemedicine that result in better relationships and more open communication between doctors and patients.
Start with the Right Tools
In order to have a successful telemedicine program, there are certain tools that are vital. Without these tools, it would be difficult to provide quality care and maintain communication between providers and patients.
Some of the essential tools for telemedicine include:
- A secure video conferencing platform: This is necessary for protecting patient privacy and ensuring that only authorised individuals have access to patient information. It also allows providers to see and hear their patients, which is essential for providing quality care.
- A reliable internet connection: This is essential for maintaining communication between providers and patients. Without a reliable internet connection, providers would not be able to attend to their patients, which could lead to delays in care or even missed appointments. Additionally, a slow and intermittent connection can cause lags in audio and video transmissions that can result in miscommunication between providers and patients.
- A HIPAA-compliant messaging system: This is necessary for sending protected health information (PHI) between providers and patients. It ensures that PHI is kept confidential and secure, and it allows providers and patients to communicate essential information without having to worry about privacy breaches.
- Telemedicine software: This software allows providers to document patient encounters, order tests and prescriptions, and send referrals electronically. It also helps to streamline the process of billing and coding for telemedicine visits.
Set Up Your Audio and Video
Whether you are using a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer, there are a few things to keep in mind when setting up your camera and microphone for a telemedicine visit.
First, find a well-lit area for your visit. Natural light is best, but if that’s not an option, try to sit near a lamp or other light source. This will help the patient see you better on their screen.
Next, position your camera at eye level. This will help prevent neck strain and ensure that the person you’re speaking with can see your face clearly.
If you’re using a built-in camera and microphone (like on a laptop), make sure nothing is blocking them. That includes items like papers or books stacked on top of your computer. If possible, use an external camera and microphone for the best results.
Finally, test your audio and video before your visit starts. This way, you can troubleshoot any issues beforehand and have a smooth visit.
Make Patients Comfortable
In order to make patients more comfortable during a telemedicine consultation, it is important to ensure that the technology is set up correctly and that the patient understands how to use it. The provider should also be aware of any potential technological issues that could arise during the consultation.
It is also important to create a comfortable environment for the patient. This may include using softer lighting, tidying up the background, and providing a quiet space for the consultation. The provider should also be sure to introduce themselves and put the patient at ease.
Finally, it is important to be aware of body language and tone of voice when communicating with a patient via telemedicine. The provider should maintain eye contact and speak in a clear, calm voice. To ensure that doctors maintain an appropriate “webside manner,” simply follow these tips:
- Make sure to introduce yourself and explain the purpose of the consultation.
- Ask questions and actively listen to patients’ answers.
- Use open body language, such as keeping your arms uncrossed and making eye contact.
- Avoid distractions and give patients your full attention.
- Follow up after the consultation to see how patients are doing and if they have any further questions or concerns.
Set the Mood
There are a few different options for what background to use when consulting with patients via telemedicine. The most important thing is to have a clean, uncluttered background that is free of distractions. This will help the patient focus on the consultation and make the session more productive.
If possible, it is best to use a plain white or light-colored background. This will help the patient see you clearly and make it easier for them to focus on what you are saying. If you cannot use a plain white or light-colored background, try to avoid using patterns or busy designs that could be distracting.
There are a few different schools of thought on what doctors should wear during consultations. Some believe that it is professional and comforting for patients to see their doctor in a white coat, while others believe that the coat can be seen as a symbol of authority and make patients feel uncomfortable.
In general, it is best to err on the side of caution and dress more formally than you would if you were seeing patients in person. This means wearing pants or a skirt and a button-down shirt or blouse. You may also want to consider wearing scrubs if you have them, as they will give the impression that you are taking the consultation seriously.
As the world becomes more and more connected, telemedicine is becoming an increasingly popular option for people who need medical care but cannot or do not want to travel to a doctor’s office. While there are many benefits to this type of care, it is important to be aware of best practices in order to ensure that patients are getting the most out of your telemedicine experience. Hopefully these tips will help you implement telemedicine into your practice in the future.