There are many synchronous and asynchronous telemedicine solutions available. It is important to correctly identify and assess your needs as well as understanding your options before starting telemedicine practice.
When choosing a telemedicine platform consider the following questions:
Do you have the hardware and connectivity needed for telemedicine software?
Check if your practice has sufficient devices that are up to date with the latest version of applicable browsers & operating systems. In addition, consider whether practitioners will use their personal devices to conduct telemedicine appointments. Check the connectivity requirements needed for the selected telemedicine software and ensure any system prerequisites such as a specific browser etc. are also taken care of.
Do you need a telemedicine solution that will allow you to monitor your patients’ biometrics data coming in from their wearable devices?
If the answer is yes, seek out telemedicine solutions that include or integrate with remote patient monitoring systems. Check which systems and type of devices they support, and if those devices are in line with the ones your patients are using. If none of the telemedicine solutions currently support the preferred integrations, it is important to look for telemedicine solutions and vendors who provide a path to adding those functionalities in the future.
Will your patients benefit from you offering telemedicine?
There are a number of ways your patients benefit from Telemedicine such as easy follow-ups, timely adjustments to their treatment plans, medication prescription renewals, and better management of chronic diseases and conditions. It is important for you have a program to educate your patients on the benefits of Telemedicine and help them transition into an integrated in-person and virtual care model.
Does the telemedicine solution you are considering offer free trial to try it out before committing?
It is beneficial that you do a trial run on the telemedicine solution before deciding to use it. Check if the telemedicine solution you are considering offers free trials.
Is the telemedicine platform easy and quick to use for your patients who might not be tech savvy?
Choose a telemedicine platform that is intuitive and does not involve too many complicated steps to execute a virtual appointment. The telemedicine platform should be simple enough such that any first-time user of any age and having minimal experience in using computer or mobile applications can use it with no additional guidelines and handholding.
Can you and your patients conveniently use this telemedicine platform from different devices like mobile phones or tablets?
Gather information on the devices and browsers that the platform supports. Some patients may want to join via tablet, a MacBook, a smartphone, or a PC. Some of them might involve downloading the app or additional software while others might just work on existing browsers on your devices. The more diverse set of devices and browsers the selected telemedicine platform supports the better it is with regards to convenience and flexibility.
Does the telemedicine platform you are considering offer you a plan that fits your ways of working? Does it allow requests for enhancements and customization based on your needs?
Every practice has different needs. Before choosing a telemedicine platform, look into the plans it offers and asses how each of them ranks against your needs. Additionally, make sure that they respond to customer feedback by discussing and delivering the requested features that will add value to you and other users of the platform.
Is the telemedicine platform compliant with HIPAA, PHI, and PCI regulations? Are they following the best security practices?
One of the key hurdles practitioners face for telemedicine is the security concerns involving privacy and data. This is why it is important that you seek a telemedicine platform that describes in detail how it assures security and compliance with respect to applicable regulations. Attention should be paid in particular to HIPAA compliant hosting architecture on enterprise level hardware or Cloud systems, architecture with separate web and database environments, password encryption, encrypted link between a server and a client at all times, amongst many others.
Does the telemedicine platform you are considering offer online or in-person training for your team?
Selecting and implementing a telemedicine platform is the most important step in the process of embarking on a telemedicine program. However, if you and your team do not know how to use the tools to its full extent, you will not benefit from telemedicine. You and your team receiving adequate training is very important step in running a successful telemedicine practice. Make sure that the telemedicine platform you are selecting offers the training that fits your needs and preferences. Most common practices for training can consist of online tutorials and documentation, scheduled online sessions with an expert, or in-person workshop. However, in-person support is the most preferred and helpful mode of training and implementation assistance.
Does the telemedicine platform you are considering have extensive online tutorials and resources to help you get started easily?
In addition to training, it is good to have access to online resources that can help you quickly get the information you need. Video tutorials covering different modules can assist you while you are getting started with the telemedicine platform or when you simply want to learn more about a feature of the telemedicine platform. In addition, frequently asked questions can be a great resource when you need to clarify something or when you are facing an issue.
Does the telemedicine platform offer tutorials and help content for your patients as well?
As patients will be joining for their appointments from their homes, you may not always be able to assist them if any issues arise. Additionally, patients may be accessing the telemedicine system from a different kind of device than yours. Hence, it is necessary that the telemedicine platform has resources for the patients, instructing them how to join from different devices or browsers that the telemedicine platform supports. In addition, an easily accessed FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section for patients and the ability to contact application support for help can improve patient adoption of telemedicine.
Does the telemedicine platform you are considering offer easily accessible support and maintenance for both you and your patients?
It is important that the telemedicine platform you are choosing is offering accessible support for both you and your patients. If you are experiencing any issues with the telemedicine platform, there should be resources that you can look into including frequently asked questions and tutorials, as well as a support email and/or a phone number you can contact for assistance.