Icon Rounded Closed - BRIX Templates

Telemedicine Practice Set Up Guide

Thinking to start telemedicine practice? We’re here to show you telemedicine doesn’t have to be complicated. Start off by familiarising yourself, your colleagues and patients with a telemedicine video visits, down to setting up a seamless clinic workflow with telemedicine software, you will realize how much you and your patient will love the convenience of telemedicine.

Start Telemedicine Practice Like A Pro

Telemedicine is the hot topic in health care. New lightweight technology is providing new ways for health and wellness industries to provide better services to their clients. By using video to see patients, doctors can improve their patients’ engagement, monitor their wellness, and save time and money.

If you’re thinking about telemedicine, it may seem overwhelming. How do I get started? What technology do I need? Is it legal in my state? Is it covered by insurance companies? How will I get paid?

In this article, we’ll focus on how you can painlessly get your staff and patients on board with the technology. The good news is that everyone and their grandmother are loving their digital gadgets from iPads to FitBits. So now is the perfect time to get your telemedicine practice out there. Now more than ever, wellness technology is inexpensive and can be used by anyone.

Get started now with these four easy steps to bringing telemedicine practice to your customers.

Start Telemedicine Practice Step 1

Start Using Video With Colleagues

While many people use telehealth and telemedicine interchangeably, it’s important to note that for legal and reimbursement purposes, these two terms may be defined differently. For example, In the United States, telemedicine usually refers specifically to live video consults; whereas, telehealth is often defined more broadly.

Telehealth is typically seen as encompassing elements of telemedicine, but it also includes administrative tasks, remote patient monitoring, and other non-direct interactions. In other words, all telemedicine activities fall under the telehealth umbrella, but not all telehealth activities are considered to be part of telemedicine.

For the purposes of this chapter we will use telemedicine to and telehealth interchangeably to refer to the more general definition as defined by WHO.

Start by using free VSee app

Of course, we think you should start with our free VSee app. It’s specially designed for telehealth calls (for groups, less than 7 participants is recommended although we’ve had as many as 25).

It allows you to

Don’t rush into telemedicine practice without the right equipment

Some companies rush into telemedicine when their computers don’t even have cameras! So take your time.
Be Aware of the Telemedicine Laws

It’s best to start with your existing customers. In certain states you are required to “establish a patient-provider relationship” in-person before you can start seeing them via telemedicine. Also double check that you use an informed consent form if you’re in one of the 26 states that require it. Each state’s rules are different so be sure to check with the states in which you will be practicing.

Start Telemedicine Practice Step 2

Get on Video with Patients and Observe

Once your team is comfortable using video throughout your organization, then it’s time to test it out with a few patients and clients.

You’ll find that most patients are eager to start using video. Survey research and years of experience have shown that downloading an application is no barrier to adoption.

Even if you serve an older population, you may be surprised at how willing they are to do video.
64% of consumers are willing to see a doctor over video according to a 2015 telehealth survey conducted by American Well”

1. Train your team to do some basic troubleshooting

They should be prepared to make the video onboarding smooth for patients. Usually clients just need some simple guidance – checking the spam mail for their invite, adjusting the audio settings, or setting up a webcam.

You may want to make your onboarding session separate from the actual consultation. At the very least, make sure you build in plenty of buffer time for the unexpected.

2. Observe and collect feedback

How your patients and providers use video and what sorts of issues they run into:
The key is to have patience and be willing to hold their hand as they get acclimated to video consultation.

Once you capture these data, you’ll get valuable insights into the technology’s limitations and possibilities, as well as your patients’ needs. You can later use this information to come up with a more customized telemedicine solution.

Start Telemedicine Practice Step 3

Add A Waiting Room, Set Up Your Workflow

Figure 3.1 Example virtual waiting room with Patient Sign-in (left) and Provider Dashboard showing patient queue (right)

Armed with feedback from your patient’s video experience, it’s time to start streamlining your online workflow. You may find that the stand-alone video chat application meets your needs. However, we’ve found that most practices want to be able to manage video visits similar to the way they manage physical doctor visits – which means going to Step 3: trying out a virtual waiting room.

For us, a virtual waiting room is a simple web page or link that you can send your patients. On that page, patients simply sign in and wait for the doctor. Doctors and/or staff are alerted when a patient enters. They also have access to the online patient queue and can start a chat or video call when ready. See the figure 3.1 above.

This may not be the case for other platforms, but we’ve found that this simple stand-alone WR model is a good stepping stone for new practices to get their feet wet & getting to your ideal telemedicine system. It’s also a perfect for practices that already have a practice management system and just want to add a simple video component.

Types of telemedicine workflow

Typically, we see practices using one or both of these workflows:
What’s great about the VSee Waiting Room is that it’s so flexible. It works with either workflow, so you can discover what you really need without going down a wrong path for too long. For example, it let’s you:

Find the right platform

That being said, there are a zillion other platform choices out there these days for your waiting room ̶ some are only for single providers, some are only for scheduled visits, some are only available as part of an EMR, some have device streaming.

If you’re doing gymnastics to make the technology fit your workflow, you either need to switch platforms or customize your platform. And truthfully, VSee may not be a best fit for you.

Once you have your waiting room, you’ll want to test it out your waiting room much like the way you tested the stand alone video chat out.
Integrate telemedicine feature to your website

Also think about how deeply you want to integrate the waiting room into your website. Depending on the platform you choose and the level of integration, you may need to get a special web developer. Also keep in mind that the deeper the integration, and the more complicated the workflow, the more time it will take to implement.

You’re like most providers, you’ll want to stick with your existing documentation and scheduling tools. If this case, you would want a stand alone virtual waiting room and patient portal. And when you’re ready, it can be customized.
What About HIPAA Compliance?

HIPAA requires you to have a Business Associate Agreement with your technology provider. This ensures that everyone who works with Personal Health Information (PHI) is responsible for it. HIPAA does not require encryption for compliance if it is unreasonable (e.g. too expensive) to implement. However it is in your best interest to choose a video provider that encrypts your data. Learn more about Videoconferencing and HIPAA-compliance at https://vsee.com/hipaa

Start Telemedicine Practice Step 4

Discover Your Ideal Telemedicine Practice System

By now, you should be a pro at video consultations, but you may find that you’re having to manage too many different programs or you may have custom features you want to add to your platform.Working with group practices and health systems, we’ve found that the ideal telemedicine system should tie together:
Figure 4.1 Custom telehealth chronic care dashboard with health device integration

Identify problem to solve with telemedicine

Depending on the platform you choose and the level of integration, you may need to get a special web developer. The deeper the integration, and the more complicated the workflow, the more time it will take to implement.

Clearly, this won’t be a one-size-fits-all kind of solution. You’ll need to identify the specific problem(s) you want to solve using telemedicine. You’ll also want to take into consideration the processes you already have in place and your observation notes from when you first started using video. If you don’t build in-house, you’ll have to find a telemedicine solutions provider that will work with you to provide design ideas and an implementation plan. The great thing is, you’ll have already laid the groundwork for getting your stakeholders to use the system.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a robust telemedicine platform will have to be updated and refined along the way. So make sure you choose a provider that communicates well with you and fits your organization’s work style. Also don’t expect to roll out a perfect platform. Start simple. Things will break and the features you thought you wanted will come and go. It’s a mutual process of discovery with worthwhile results.
Figure 2. Fitness and health tracker data visualizations for a custom telehealth portal

About VSee

Since 2008, VSee has been a leading company in the field of telemedicine. Doctors and hospitals rely on VSee for HIPAA-compliant video as well as several workflow solutions. VSee has designed and implemented telemedicine solutions for NASA, Walmart Clinics, Trinity Hospitals, and many more. Write to sales@vsee.com to schedule your demonstration.

Don’t let the technology hold you back.
Start doing telemedicine today!

Speak with one of our telemedicine experts, we’ll be happy to help

Get a Consult Now