The telehealth genie is out of the bottle, and there’s no going back. In the midst of this pandemic, our team at Dayton Children’s Hospital is hyper-focused on making sure that our referring physicians, as well as our own specialists (employed or independent), are engaged and have a comfort level with video visits.
Why? Because this is how we can best serve our patients and mitigate against losses. With so many patients now experiencing telemedicine by necessity, doing it right means we get properly reimbursed in the short term and adopting best practices to meet the continuing demand for telehealth in the long term.
As time moves forward, and we begin to come out from under this cloud, we need to be poised for success in the virtual visit world. We all need to continue to ramp up so when we get the ‘all clear’ we will be already on our way. The ones in the lead will benefit when the dominos begin to fall. And they will fall.
Here are 3 things to do now so you are positioned for the future:
Support Community Physicians
First and foremost, we want to partner with and support our community physicians in every way that we can. Many of them are still independent and don’t have the resources offered by a big system. So, we’ve taken the time and pulled together power point presentations, webinars and phone calls to share all that we are doing as a system to help them thrive in this new world. There is good news for practices of any size that haven’t adopted a telehealth platform yet. Apps like Zoom and Doxy.me are free and user-friendly.
You may be aware that telephone calls and virtual visits are being reimbursed the same as in-person visits. Acceptable platforms are Facebook instant message and Skype, but not TikTok or Facebook Live. (Leave those for your friends!) I can tell you that children, parents and caregivers love the convenience, and anxiety-reducing benefits of these first-time video calls.
Listen to Problems to Provide the Right Solution
We are working to hear and understand the voice of our specialists when conducting these video calls. This applies to physicians and advance practice providers alike. Our team is conducting weekly virtual calls with each service line group to support them. On these virtual TEAMS calls, we also learn about barriers to adoption. We want to hear about everything, from technology issues to patients who are multi-tasking (unloading the dishwasher) while trying to talk with the doctor. We can work behind the scenes to help create a successful encounter if we know the issues.
As a physician liaison, you could offer to document some patient stories for your tech-savvy doctors. Who knows? They are likely to appreciate your interest in helping them succeed. Just be creative and ask, or you’ll never know when you could have hit a home run.
Share Information Across Your System
Another result of this collaboration is that we are mining great patient success stories that we can repurpose in a variety of ways. These real-life experiences help us learn more about our patients’ needs. We can use this information to enhance our web pages and create a great online experience for our consumers.
We are aggregating all this physician feedback in one place and sharing it across our system. Now more than ever, we need to learn from each other and build momentum as we try to serve our patients in meaningful ways and assure physician satisfaction at the same time.
This article was originally published by Tiller-Hewitt, an organization that works with healthcare organizations nationwide to develop and execute strategic growth programs. To learn more, visit their COVID-19 Volume Recovery Efforts resource guide.