Last Updated | January 17, 2023
Executive Summary – Implementing Telehealth In Primary Care
Are you in search of implementing telehealth in primary care? Well, you are at the right place. Tech innovations have improved the delivery of healthcare services and telehealth is one of the most promising advents. It improves the accessibility of healthcare services for everyone without compromising on quality. Read on as we break down how telehealth can be deployed to deliver the best primary care…
Introduction – Implementing Telehealth In Primary Care
The accessibility and advancement of healthcare services have been the focal point for years, and with the advancement in telecommunication technologies, the provision of healthcare services has considerably improved. It has impacted how medical and healthcare services are delivered. For this reason, implementing telehealth in primary care has become important.
It’s meant to bridge the gap between patients and healthcare providers, making sure that every patient gets the service they deserve, irrespective of their location. It’s improving the accessibility of healthcare systems. So, let’s see the ways of effectively implementing telehealth in primary care!
What Is Telehealth And How Does It Work In Primary Care Settings?
Telehealth is a relatively new approach and implementing telemedicine in primary care allows organizations to deliver remote health services through real-time communication – both patients and doctors can use visual and audio equipment. Implementing telehealth in primary care means that the information will be exchanged through different communication networks.
Implementing telehealth in practice allows doctors to monitor the patient’s health status and offer medical recommendations, treatments, awareness, and consultations. Implementing telehealth to support medical practice also means patient empowerment because they are equipped with the information to manage tough situations.
In addition, doctors can share information through different communication channels, which helps with quicker diagnosis, better therapeutic interventions, prevention of diseases, and improved awareness. Telehealth in primary healthcare creates a new communication channel that improves the sharing of important medical information and also allows doctors to help people in rural and remote areas.
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The Benefits Of Using Telehealth In Primary Care
Implementing telehealth in primary care is one of the best ways of providing healthcare services to people in remote and rural areas, or people who don’t have access to a medical facility. There are many other benefits of leveraging telehealth, such as;
- Reduces Pressure On Healthcare System
Patient access to healthcare is a significant issue and not many patients have access to healthcare services due to appointment availability issues and long waiting times. These challenges will only increase in the upcoming days but telehealth will help deliver sufficient care to the patients without spiking the costs.
- Eliminates The Rural Barriers
Telehealth can easily address and remove barriers associated with delivering healthcare services in the country’s rural areas. According to research, one out of four people living in remote or rural areas haven’t been able to get the healthcare they needed because there was no healthcare institute available. Having said that, implementing telehealth in primary care will ensure every patient has access to healthcare.
- Helps Patients With Mobility Issues
Many patients struggle to reach the hospitals for an appointment because of their mobility issues. However, telehealth offers healthcare provisions through phones and laptops, so the patients don’t need to undergo the stress of commuting for one hour for an appointment.
How To Get Started With Telehealth In Your Practice?
Before you start implementing telehealth in primary care to improve outcomes, it’s important that you have to determine the current technology you are using and locate a reliable telehealth vendor that can utilize the available resources and add some new ones to create a new solution. In addition, you have to select vendors that are HIPAA compliant as you will need to enter to HIPAA business associate agreement.
There are some other preliminary questions that you’ve to ask yourself;
- What data encryption and protection technology the vendor uses?
- Do you’ve to sign a contract?
- Does the vendor’s plan include new hardware or equipment?
- Will the vendor add the waiting room feature?
- Are there scheduling and appointment features available?
- Can patients give consent to receive healthcare through an online channel?
Tips For Making The Most Of Telehealth In Your Practice?
With telehealth, healthcare professionals have cost-effective and safer ways of providing services to patients, even if they are located far away. However, to leverage all the benefits of telehealth, we are sharing some tips that can help;
- Make sure your office is quiet whenever you have to contact the patient to provide telehealth services – it’s recommended that you select a room with closed doors
- Make sure there are various communication channels available for healthcare providers to offer consultation, including but not limited to Facetime, Google Meet, and Zoom
- Invest in a high-quality microphone and a headset to ensure error-free and clear communication. It ensures that you can hear the patient and patient can listen to your instructions as well
- Make sure the internet is strong and stable. It’s better to choose a wired connection as it’s free from signal interferences
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Is Telehealth Effective For Primary Care?
Yes, the consultations delivered through video conferences and voice calls are as effective as one-on-one sessions and they can improve medical outcomes. In addition, various studies have shown that patients are happier and more satisfied with the services as they get dedicated time with the doctor without commuting and waiting for their turn.
How Do You Implement Telehealth Services?
Implementing telehealth services or undergoing healthcare app development isn’t as challenging as it sounds but it’s important for healthcare professionals to define their reasons for creating the telemedicine program. Once the goals have been set, follow the below-mentioned steps;
- Create a cross-functional team that involves healthcare professionals and staff to keep a tab on the progress
- Set the rules, reimbursements, and protocols to prevent exploitation of the services
- Look for a reliable yet HIPAA-compliant telehealth solution vendor. In addition, you’ve to discuss branding, user-friendly interface, security, integration, and reimbursement with them
- Integrate and implement the telehealth solution and it’s recommended to prepare the cloud
- Always ask for feedback from staff as well as patients to improve the telehealth system
- Last but not least, measure the performance against the set goals and make changes accordingly
What Is Required To Implement A Telehealth System?
There are various requirements when it comes down to telehealth or IoT healthcare solutions, such as;
- High-end webcam for video conferences
- Telehealth carts, which include a storage system to store the hardware appliances and mobile frame
- Telemedicine software
- High-speed and active internet connection
- Data backup system
- Medical accessories to administer healthcare provision
- Wireless scale to ensure correct readings
- Tablets for remote access
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On a concluding note, implementing telehealth in primary care has become an apt way of delivering healthcare services to everyone, including people living in rural and remote areas. However, it’s important to hire a reliable telemedicine software development company, such as Folio3, to ensure a compliant and practical solution.
Identify opportunities and address barriers to the implementation of Telehealth in rural areas.
What are the challenges associated with implementing telehealth in primary care?
Some of the common challenges associated with implementing or developing a medical app for telehealth are distrust in the ability and reliability of technology, payments, and policy and privacy implications. In addition, there are various jurisdictional and regulatory issues.
How do overcome the challenges associated with implementing telehealth in primary care?
These challenges can be overcome by implementing a flexible approach and focusing on the regulations. In addition, the healthcare providers have to consider the practice’s culture to create an excepted healthcare delivery mode.