Telemedicine: Content for the Next Medical Frontier
If your organization is fully integrated with an electronic health record (EHR) system, you may soon be taking the plunge into telemedicine. Plan now for how you’ll communicate the value that telemedicine offers patients.
Start With “Why” Messaging
When you’re explaining the value of telemedicine, speak to your patients, not every stakeholder in the game. They need to know what’s in it for them.
First, start with what telemedicine is:
Telemedicine offers an opportunity to interact face-to-face with a provider through secure, easy-to-use audio and video connections. It offers better, more timely access to providers.
Next, explain how the patients will benefit:
- Comfort and convenience
- Cost savings
- Safety and security
Comfort and convenience
Patients no longer need to get in their car and travel, then wait (and wait) in a room with sub-par Wi-Fi to see a provider. They can remain comfortable in their home or office.
Those with chronic conditions stay close by the family and caregivers who provide day-to-day support.
No time away from work, no need to hire a babysitter and no travel costs. With telemedicine, patients keep more of their money in their pockets.
Safety and security
Patients can receive care more easily. They can remain engaged, follow through with their care plan and easily keep appointments.
Because of the secure nature of the electronic health record, patients can rest assured that the real-time interaction with their provider is secure.
Explain the “When and Where”
Give your patients the practical information they need: when and where they can use telemedicine.
Telemedicine is not appropriate if a patient needs a hands-on examination or testing. But according to the American Medical Association, upward of 70% of office visits are information-related only.
Here is a good summary of when patients may interact with telemedicine. Choose those that relate to your organization:
- Procedure management:
- Informed consent before procedures
- Follow-up visits
- Post hospitalization care
- Remote patient monitoring
- Management of:
- Chronic health conditions
- Medications (pharmacological management)
- Health and wellness:
- Annual wellness visits
- Support for smoking cessation and substance abuse
- Weight loss support, nutrition therapy
- Referrals to specialists
- Mental health: Evaluation and treatment, including talk therapy
- Older adults: Monitoring elderly patients in assisted living facilities to determine if hospitalization is necessary
- Pediatrics: School-based telemedicine to gauge the severity of illness/injury and decide next steps
End With the “How”
Include a call to action so people can sign up and learn how to use your telemedicine services. Include the fine print. Patients must:
- Agree to the terms and conditions
- Have access to broadband connectivity and a computer
Extend the convenience of telemedicine by providing information on how they can access technical assistance if and when they have questions.