While virtual care has been slowly gaining acceptance over the last few years, the COVID-19 pandemic pushed many practices and health systems to quickly adopt emergency telehealth solutions to meet the basic needs of providers and patients. Many turned to cheap teleconferencing software like Zoom, FaceTime, and Skype to connect providers with patients face-to-face, which kept many from delaying care in the early uncertainty and upheaval caused by the virus.
But those temporary solutions were designed for boardrooms and living rooms, not operating rooms and clinics. Eventually, even the smallest practice will outgrow these solutions and need to transition to a virtual care solution designed to scale to their specific needs.
Here are 10 signs you’ve outgrown your virtual care solution.
1. Your solution requires patients to download an app.
Requiring patients to download an app to perform a virtual visit adds an unnecessary barrier to care. Mobile apps require a certain level of technological proficiency that not every patient has. They require a smartphone or other device with enough storage to install a new app. And they require internet or data connection fast enough to complete the visit.
Virtual care should reduce barriers to care, not add to them.
2. Your solution doesn’t adequately protect patient data.
“Zoom-bombers,” people who hack into conference calls to cause mischief, are just one of the pitfalls of choosing a platform that was not designed for telehealth. After coming under scrutiny, Zoom has put in additional security measures, but they still don’t offer true end-to-end encryption. Zoom still leaves many backdoors for hackers to steal data and even install malicious software on users’ devices. Neither Skype nor FaceTime are HIPAA compliant, either.
Don’t let a “simple,” bandage solution put your patients’ data at risk — doing so will leave your practice vulnerable to malpractice suits.
3. Your solution forces you to change your workflow instead of adapting to what works best for you.
Out of the box solutions are not readily customizable, which means your providers have to take additional steps before and after their virtual care sessions. Every additional click your provider makes and every change made to their workflow reduces efficiency, creates additional room for errors, and contributes to provider burnout.
Your virtual care solution should support your own established, proven workflows.
4. Your solution doesn’t integrate with your EHR.
Your providers can’t launch a video call within the EMR—unless you pay more licensing fees. Reimbursements are slow to come in because your virtual care platform doesn’t track expenses, document receipts, or keep up-to-date with allowable reimbursements. Your providers spend an additional 2 hours on data entry for every hour they’re with their patients.
Without a doubt, EHR integration is the number one way to improve efficiency, reduce data entry error, increase actual time clinicians spend with patients, improve clinician satisfaction, and even increase reimbursements. Your virtual care platform should be able to integrate with your calendar and practice management system so you know which providers are available for virtual consults across all your system locations. And your virtual platform should be able to easily manage intake and triage, correctly routing patients based on their details.
Your virtual care solution should increase your capacity efficiently and improve patient and provider satisfaction.
Transforming to a Virtual Clinic.
Download the playbook to learn how another health clinic switched from Zoom and grew from 0 to 3,782 virtual visits a month.
5. Your solution leaves patients feeling like their virtual visit was impersonal, lacking the familiarity and warmth that your practice is known for.
When you don’t get to design the workflows of your virtual care solution and are forced to adapt to a generic method, your patients will feel the difference. If the very process of the virtual call frustrates your patient, no amount of “webside manner” will make up the difference. Your patients may delay care until they feel comfortable to return to the familiar, preferred in-person visit.
Your virtual care solution should be as unique and specialized as your practice.
6. Your patients complain about wait times and connectivity.
One of the reasons virtual care is so enticing to patients is the time it saves them from sitting in a waiting room. But if they are spending thirty minutes or more waiting for their doctor to become available for a video chat, or waiting for connection speed to improve enough for the call, they will grow frustrated and give up.
Virtual care connections should happen as quickly as a phone call can be made.
7. Your solution creates extra work for your providers
If your virtual care solution is not integrated with your EHR, your providers typically open a new program or window to begin a virtual call. This requires creating and entering a new username and password, learning a new software interface, and then going back to the EHR to enter clinical notes or whatever would come next in their workflow. They may need to switch back and forth between user accounts, too. The more places a provider must sign in and the more programs that must be learned, the less likely your solution will be used.
Your virtual care solution should be easy and enjoyable for your staff to use.
8. Your solution doesn’t make it possible to leverage other team members or third party providers.
When you need to hand off your patient to another team member or invite an interpreter to the meeting, it should happen as seamlessly as it does in-person, if not more so. Popular teleconferencing solutions will not let you connect a patient from one call to another without dropping someone from the call prematurely. Escalating a call or routing a patient to someone else sounds like wishful thinking—but it shouldn’t be. Access to interpreters should be easy and immediate any time of day, without having to negotiate a number of contracts.
Your virtual care solution should enable meaningful connections.
9. Your solution is cost- or time- prohibitive.
Popular telehealth solutions often require expensive hardware to work. Others charge a premium per provider per month and limit the number of visits each month. Additional features or integrations that you request, such as ADT, EMR, billing, and management systems, cost an additional fee. It quickly adds up. When you don’t know how long virtual visits will be reimbursable at the same rates as in-person visits, every additional expense counts. Likewise, you can’t afford a solution that takes 6 months to a year to implement.
Your virtual care solution should save your practice money and should be up and running in weeks, not months.
10. Your solution doesn’t scale.
Your current plan limits the number of visits it will support, which isn’t keeping up with your patients’ demand for virtual visits. You chose virtual care to be able to see more patients, to give your providers more options to provide care, and to expand access to care for those most vulnerable. As your practice grows and changes to meet the demands of your communities, you will need a virtual care platform that can grow and adapt with you.
Your virtual care solution should be flexible so you can provide better care for more people
Don’t let your virtual care solution keep you from providing the best care for your patients. White label solutions, like what Bluestream Health provides, will help you give your patients the best virtual care experience possible.
No app download necessary – even facilitate a landline call as needed
Transfer patients within 30 seconds
Launch video from EMR with a single click
No special hardware requirements
Interpreting available 24/7
Reasonable SaaS license fee
Built for healthcare with industry-leading security and privacy
Scalable for small practices to large healthcare systems
Contact us today to see how you can deploy a fully-configured solution within a week. You’ll be surprised by what’s possible!