For any healthcare provider, delivering an outstanding patient experience - and administering the essential care needed for patient health - is always a primary goal. So, it may not come as a surprise to learn that a growing number of medical providers are adding telehealth to their list of services to serve patients better.
Among the many telemedicine platform benefits is the capability to implement a streamlined, convenient patient experience that addresses health needs in a new, more flexible manner. The right telehealth solution makes healthcare more accessible in a myriad of ways, promoting improved patient outcomes overall.
However, not every telemedicine platform is created equally - so, how does a provider choose the best telehealth solution for your practice and your patients? Similar to the decision-making process involved in any major change in services, a provider should carefully consider patients' expectations.
What do patients expect from a modern telehealth platform, and what does that mean for healthcare providers and facilities searching for the ideal solution? Keep reading for a detailed discussion covering these critical questions and their answers.
Key Expectations for Telehealth Platforms for Patients
Naturally, a well-designed telemedicine solution will provide outstanding functionality for the providers using it. However, even more important is its ability to meet (and even exceed) patients' expectations.
Many patients are well-versed in what a virtual platform can and should offer in our technology-driven world. But at the same time, many aren't particularly tech-savvy but know exactly what they want from a healthcare provider. A high-quality platform for telemedicine will ensure that all patients' needs are adequately met, no matter where they fall on the technology spectrum.
Here are five considerations for providers to consider when selecting a patient-centered telemedicine solution.
Patients expect a hassle-free, accessible experience.
One of the biggest reasons patients are drawn to telemedicine is the promise of an easier, less stressful approach to healthcare. From the beginning, telehealth has been touted as the ultimate in convenience - so a telemedicine platform should be designed to measure up.
And yet, according to the AMA, around 13 million older adults experience significant barriers to using telemedicine. From inexperience with technology to a lack of compatible devices, many challenges can hold patients back from what should be a positive telehealth experience.
For providers, it is essential to be aware of how user-friendly a specific platform may or may not be. Patients need to be able to access a platform with ease, without going through cumbersome processes and time-consuming setups. Simplicity should be a major focus, though that doesn't necessarily mean providers or patients should sacrifice advanced features or thoughtful options.
Providers should look for a telehealth platform with features and characteristics such as:
Compatibility with both mobile and desktop devices
No downloads are required for use
One-click access to telehealth communications
Built-in features such as scheduling and payment processing
For example, with UVO Health, patients can access telehealth video communications with a one-step text message (SMS) link. The connection is instant, and the patient never needs to download or install any software or plugins to get started.
Patients expect reliability.
We've all dealt with the frustration of online connectivity issues, glitches, and other tech problems. And while it's impossible to exist in a digital world without ever encountering an issue, it shouldn't be something that arises when a patient seeks medical care.
The best telehealth solutions are engineered for optimal connectivity, ensuring reliability for patients and providers alike.
Patients expect their information to be secure.
Standard video conferencing options, such as Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime, are not designed for use in which security is of paramount importance. These applications are not encrypted, nor are they equipped with the security features necessary for proper patient protection.
As such, applications such as these are not compliant with HIPAA. Healthcare providers should only rely on HIPAA-compliant platforms for ethical and legal reasons. Often, patients trust that medical professionals and facilities are taking the steps needed to safeguard their data and private information - it's rare that a patient will even think about asking whether a platform is HIPAA-compliant.
UVO Health is fully compliant with all HIPAA regulations, and we even offer a HIPAA-compliant recording feature that you won't find from any other telehealth solution out there. Additionally, our platform aligns with all federal regulations and expectations for security, including GDPR, HITECH, and PHIPA/PIPEDA requirements.
Patients expect clear, effective communication.
As any healthcare professional knows, communication is foundational in quality relationships with patients. Through effective communication, a provider establishes trust, conveys a certain level of capability, and ensures a successful interaction with each patient. This principle doesn't change when the relationship moves to a virtual platform; if anything, communication becomes even more invaluable.
Telehealth solutions can be equipped with various tools for communication, ranging from high-quality video and audio to automated appointment reminders. Also, patients should know exactly what to expect before, during, and after a telehealth visit.
Here's how UVO Health has developed a platform that's primed for easy communication:
Easy scheduling that includes appointment reminders for patients and providers
HD video and audio for an experience that matches the quality of an in-person visit
Customizable virtual waiting rooms, so patients can know that their provider will be available shortly
Implement Telehealth Services with Solutions from UVO Health
Both patients and providers stand to benefit significantly from the new possibilities offered by telemedicine, and our healthcare system as a whole also has plenty to gain. However, the quality of a telehealth platform makes all the difference - so providers should make their decision with the utmost care.
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