Has the rise of virtual appointments impacted how you care for patients? As telehealth continues to become increasingly prevalent in medical practices across the country, it’s critical that providers across different specialties know how to help patients feel comfortable with this type of care.
Here are some key tips for improving the telehealth experience for patients:
Tell patients what they’ll need for visits.
When scheduling telehealth visits, it’s critical to give patients ample information about the equipment they’ll need to access their appointment. Depending on the telehealth software used by a practice, a computer with a webcam or a phone with a working camera may be necessary. Be sure to notify patients about all tech requirements upon scheduling, so patients have time to prepare accordingly. Never assume patients already have the equipment or technology needed for telehealth appointments and be ready to field questions about what they will need.
Avoid complex medical jargon.
When speaking with patients over video, it's best to avoid using complex medical language that could overwhelm or confuse them. For instance, the word "telehealth" may be unclear to patients who have never had virtual appointments. Instead, you may opt to use the phrases, "online appointment" or "video chat." It's also important to be careful about how you speak with patients about their medical conditions during appointments. Because virtual visits aren't as personal, be mindful of how you explain to patients their diagnosis or treatment plan. Rather than speak in technical terms, use more commonplace verbiage that patients can easily understand so they feel fully informed and comfortable with what to expect moving forward.
Give patients an opportunity to ask questions.
The sterile nature of telehealth visits can often make patients feel less comfortable asking questions. During and after each visit, asking patients if they have any questions about what was discussed will give them a chance to collect their thoughts and have any concerns addressed. You can also remind them of their access to your practice’s online patient portal in which they can get in touch with the practice and receive any additional follow-up information after their visit. Pointing out this resource as a great way to ask questions if any come up later can help patients feel more comfortable following up on those questions and getting the information they need.
Taking steps to make patients more comfortable with the telehealth experience will help them acclimate to this newer form of patient care. Regularly following the protocols above will make it easier for both you and your patients to adapt to telehealth appointments successfully.
Are you a provider looking for work right now?
Whether you’re seeking locum tenens jobs, permanent jobs, or positions that will allow you to utilize telehealth in caring for patients, we can help you take the next step in your career. Contact MPLT Healthcare and learn how our team can help you find what you’re looking for soon.