Creating Value In Your Telehealth Strategy

Every health care provider in the country is looking for way to become more efficient and impactful when it comes to delivering care.  With a growing population and increased demands being placed on every care giver along the lifetime care journey, having a plan to stay relevant, competitive and clinically effective in today’s healthcare environment is key and it also has to include a strategy to include a smart telehealth program and telehealth strategy that includes licensed nurse base care.

Telehealth encompasses everything from managing patients with complex conditions like diabetes as well as providing on demand access to licensed nurse triage and care in a compassionate, fast, clinically and cost-effective manner. Telehealth services can provide extreme value, once integrated into your overall care giving portfolio.

There’s no golden ticket when it comes to developing your telehealth strategy. While the challenges you face to serving the growing needs of your expanding patient population may seem specific to you, just about every provider in the country is struggling to find the right mix of live care, remote care, staffing and technology.  The right telehealth solution with a focus on nurse triage can solve all of those issues. However it must start with removing the outdated thinking in terms of ROI or dollars saved, and to start thinking about the added value created by a telehealth strategy that focuses on the patient.

The best telehealth strategies include various components and should have the following to be most effective:  Nurse based triage, protocol and clinical directive customization, self-triage for mobile based solutions, store and forward and asynchronous capabilities, reporting and EMR integration.

Telehealth Has To Have A Live Care Component – Always!

One of the biggest lessons we have learned over the past 9 years is that patients do not like to tell their story over and over again to different providers, nurses, call center operators, etc….   With the right Telehealth solution, patients can receive the care they need immediately without having to retell their symptoms or concerns repeatedly either to call center operators (associated with the outdated medical call center model), through web based applications that just take input but don’t forward it to caregivers for review or simply leaving messages on phone systems hoping someone will get it and respond.  With the right telehealth solution, either live nurse triage or mobile based solutions monitored by live nurses, patients can be diagnosed, contacted and provided care in a matter of minutes all while minimizing the time and effort of having to restate the patients symptoms over and over again.

Nurse And Physician Burnout Is At Its Highest Level Ever 

Never before have we seen nurse and physician burnout at the levels it is today.  Telehealth can help the strain on providers by giving them time to focus on higher need patients in person while diverting those that just may need to speak to nurse to the telehealth center.   Also, after hours and weekends can pose even more strain on an already time constrained staff, this is where telehealth can really provide exponential value.  There are only a few providers in the country that can provide licensed nurse based care after hours and weekends and when you partner with one that can provide a telehealth solution that not only provides live care but can either interface directly with your EMR or generate a SOAP note, that will significantly cut down on both cost, patient concerns and staff burn out.

Reduce Your Overall Costs

When implementing the best telehealth strategy you can significantly cut your overall costs. There is significant investments that needs to be made when building your own telehealth center.  These costs involve building or leasing space, investing in a HIPAA compliant communication platform and hiring staff specific to telehealth.  These costs can add up and time to recoup the investment can be long and sometimes impossible.   However if you partner with a provider that does this day in-day out you can be up and running with a full cloud-based phone system, licensed nurses, customized protocols and full visibility into the call volume and statistics within weeks.  There is often times a small start up fee and ongoing costs associated with either your call volume or patient size.  However we must caution that you should not be forced into a model that relies solely on minutes used.  This is an old medical call center model tactic that forces you into a care model that is centered on making the calls as short as possible.  In today’s environment you want a telehealth provider that is focused on patient care and satisfaction, no matter how long the call takes.

Over the past few years the many barriers to telehealth have begun to disappear. Recent studies reveal that both patients and physicians have begun to embrace telehealth, with nearly most patients surveyed expressing comfort in remote visits, diagnoses and treatment plans.  There is no longer any excuses for healthcare providers of any type to continue to ignore telehealth.  Patients are already moving to a world of on-demand access to quality, compassionate and convenient care. It’s up to providers to now join the masses and adopt a new patient centered model that can provide care 24/7 while helping to reduce the burden of burnout, patient satisfaction and costs.

If you’ve been struggling to find the right telehealth strategy for your organization, contact us today to start a conversation. We’d love to help.

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