How to Sustain Telehealth Success by@devinpartida

How to Sustain Telehealth Success

Telehealth has been revolutionary for standard check-ups, diagnoses and prescriptions but it can never completely replace in-person care. Practitioners must be authoritative and trustworthy to foster strong relationships with patients. Hospitals should provide underprivileged groups with resources to find locations with reliable WiFi. Healthcare facilities should sign up for accreditation programs and video conference courses to gain experience and credibility with standard telehealth practices. Healthcare professionals must also strengthen their WiFi and close out of other tabs during video calls to avoid lagging.
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Devin Partida

Devin is the Editor-in-Chief of ReHack. She covers cybersecurity, business technology and more.

Telehealth’s virtual healthcare methods have taken the medical industry by storm since COVID-19 began. It has been instrumental in getting at-risk patients the care they need without exposing them to the virus. The pandemic might be winding down, but telehealth is here to stay. Here are five measures healthcare professionals must take to sustain telehealth success.

Prioritize Patient Privacy

Patient privacy has always been a top priority in healthcare, but it’s even more important in a virtual setting. Video calls between doctors and patients are now open to cyber criminals. Someone can hack into the call without either party’s authorization and learn information about the patient’s health records. The same thing can happen to private online chatrooms.

Practitioners should use multi-factor authentication and encrypted links to prevent hackers from accessing their telehealth calls. A virtual private network (VPN) is also a wise investment.

Another security concern might arise based on the callers’ locations. People in the call’s vicinity might overhear sensitive details if both parties don’t choose their locations carefully. It’s critical that patients make their telehealth calls in private rooms to avoid eavesdroppers. 

Provide Equal Access

One of the modern healthcare system’s main problems is the inequality of access to basic treatment. There are many people who don’t have the resources or skills to get the full scope of telehealthcare:

  • Elderly and disabled people
  • Those with limited internet access
  • Non-English speakers

Hospitals should provide these underprivileged groups with resources to find locations with reliable WiFi. Schools, libraries and community centers are the safest places. If a bilingual practitioner isn’t available, the facility should provide non-English speakers with translation tools and add custom captions to the video calls.

Regain Patient Trust

Healthcare providers must be authoritative and trustworthy to foster strong relationships with patients. Since telehealth is still fairly new and takes place in a virtual setting, facilities need to earn their patients’ trust all over again. They should sign up for accreditation programs and video conference courses to gain experience and credibility with standard telehealth practices.

Physicians and patients alike lost faith in America’s healthcare system during COVID-19. Practitioners are already fighting an uphill battle, so they need to do everything they can to bolster their resumes and reputations.

Make the Presentation Look Professional

If healthcare facilities want patients to take telehealth seriously, then need to make the calls look professional. First, the room needs to have a strong overhead light source that makes the doctor look friendly and welcoming. The sound quality needs to be crisp and coherent so both parties can understand each other.

Eye contact is another important factor that ensures the patient feels heard and appreciated. The camera should be parallel with the doctor’s eyeline to encourage trust and thoughtful conversation.

Healthcare professionals must also strengthen their WiFi and close out of other tabs during video calls to avoid lagging. Miscommunications happen over video calls all the time because of weak internet connections. Both parties can become easily frustrated during shoddy video calls, which would strain the all-important doctor/patient relationship.

Know When to Meet In Person

Telehealth has been revolutionary for standard check-ups, diagnoses and prescriptions. However, it can never completely replace in-person care. Practitioners need to know when to bring patients in for a real visit. Many people are still anxious about visiting healthcare facilities, but you can’t let those feelings interfere with the in-person treatment they need.

Sometimes doctors won’t be able to accurately evaluate a patient’s symptoms over a video call. Diagnostic errors are already frequent enough, so facilities can’t afford to make costly mistakes and compromise telehealth’s integrity.

Telehealth is Just One Step

For all of its positive qualities, Telehealth is just one step in a long journey toward successful healthcare reform. One in five Americans can’t afford the treatment they need. Checking off these five boxes will help sustain telehealth’s success and create a system that’s affordable and accessible for all.

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