Understanding customers is a necessity for any business. The same is true in healthcare. As the telehealth market rapidly expands, doctors need to learn what their patients’ concerns are and how to solve them.
In this article, we will examine a few general areas where patients are concerned with telehealth. We will then address the various methods doctors are using to combat these concerns.
Specifically, we will discuss concerns over:
- Quality of Care
- Health Information Security
- Technical Ease and Accessibility
The Concern: Low Quality Care
Some patients think that when they schedule a virtual appointment with a new doctor, that doctor will somehow be less qualified than their existing ‘brick and mortar’ clinician. Approximately 47% of patients are worried that they will receive lower quality care if they use telehealth and they worry that telehealth will open the doors to doctors who are poorly trained and underfunded. Thankfully, patients who have previously been seen at your office will already know the quality of your care.
The Solution: Provide reassurance to the hesitant new patient by taking the following steps:
- Use quality camera equipment
For a minimal investment you can purchase a quality webcam or phone – a great way to ensure your patients can clearly see you as the visit progresses.
- Read the patient’s medical record before the visit
Knowing in advance your patient’s general medical history and immediate reason for making an appointment ensures that their time is not needlessly wasted going over what should already have been clear.
Find a room that has good lighting and is relatively quiet. Be aware of what’s in the background, you should be working in a clean, undistracting environment.
- Use telehealth technology that is integrated with your EHR
Using a telehealth platform that is compatible with your electronic health records will give you the ability to quickly and efficiently survey patients and offer appropriate advice.
- Practice telehealth visits with non-patients, prior to going live
This is essential. Practicing telehealth visits will help you find common technical bugs and audio/visual problems before the patient enters the virtual exam room.
The Concern: Health Information Security
Patients want to feel secure and they need to know that using telehealth will not result in their health information falling into the wrong hands. Roughly 39% of all adult patients worry that telehealth equates to insecure information and potential data leaks.
The Solution: To reassure your patients, communicate the following:
- All doctors respect the patient’s right to privacy
- Your practice is using HIPAA-compliant telehealth technology
- Every doctor receives a background-check
- Each patient’s health information is kept completely secure and is never made public.
The Concern: Technical Issues
COVID-19 has forced many elderly patients to seek telehealth in lieu of in-person visits. Some of these patients may not be technologically savvy and therefore worry about the difficulty that may be associated with a telehealth visit. An estimated 39% of patients worry about experiencing technical issues with their telehealth visit.
The Solution: To enhance your patients’ experience make sure your platform is simple and easy to use. Do not overwhelm patients with ads or dropdown menus, but instead opt for a clear, uncomplicated platform that is easy for the patient to access.
Patients are Generally Comfortable With Telehealth
Despite having many concerns, patients are still opting to use telehealth. An estimated 88% of U.S. adults are receptive to the idea of using telehealth to receive medical consultations. As technology progresses and increasingly becomes a part of the modern standard of care, even more adults will turn to telehealth to satisfy their healthcare needs.
As the dust begins to settle around the COVID crisis, telehealth has emerged stronger than ever. With utilization rates at more than ten times their pre-pandemic level, telehealth seems to have taken on a permanent status within healthcare IT. If you’re looking for a telehealth solution that is easy for your patient to use, secure, and delivers high-quality virtual experiences, check out MTBC’s talkPHR telehealth solution.