Virtual healthcare is known by many names these days – telemedicine, telehealth, digital medicine, it keeps going. Whatever the name, this digital mode of care is expanding rapidly in response to the needs of the pandemic and the growth of new technology. This rapid expansion has been accompanied by some growing pains and common pitfalls – some of which healthcare organizations have learned the hard way.
Here we list the most common telemedicine problems currently standing in the way of smooth virtual care implementations and experiences:
7 Common Telemedicine Problems
- Changing Policies: Telehealth policies changed rapidly in response to pandemic conditions. These policy changes allowed telehealth to be used in situations where it had not been previously. Although many of these changes have been extended or have become permanent, it is essential to keep monitoring them to avoid noncompliance.
- Reimbursement: Virtual care programs are an important link between providers and patients, but without the right billing and coding in place, maximizing reimbursement may be difficult. Without first building an efficient system to drive revenue, virtual programs can be very costly.
- Maintaining Data Privacy: Protected health information (PHI) is controlled under HIPAA, HITECH, and other federal regulations. Virtual care programs that don’t meet compliance standards can be very costly in the form of fines for each patient occurrence.
- Regulations: Physician licensure and credentialing for telehealth can also meet some challenges, especially if providers are engaging with patients across state lines. Keeping track of virtual boundaries can be a complicated job, especially with multiple locations and providers.
- Interoperability: Virtual care needs to be integrated care. If the telemedicine platform doesn’t “talk” well to the electronic health record (EHR), mistakes can happen, and frustrations can mount quickly. Interoperability with the EHR, as well as peripheral remote equipment and other systems is a necessity for success.
- Technical Support: A successful virtual care program relies on behind-the-scenes support. Without accessible and sustained IT support, both providers and patients can reach a level of frustration that harms implementation and drives down usage and engagement.
- Organizational Culture: A culture of innovation, teamwork, and willingness to change is crucial when adopting new technologies. Connecting with key stakeholders and providing plenty of information about the benefits of virtual care can help build engagement in the telemedicine program.
Overcoming these common problems in telemedicine is crucial when developing a virtual care strategy. Bluestream Health is the experienced, agile, and user-friendly virtual care platform that is a true partner in the process.
Let Bluestream save you from costly telemedicine traps and establish virtual care the right way – the first time!