The healthcare industry is quickly tipping to more digital formats, with telehealth care access becoming all the more common for patients with low-acuity health needs. But as more patients and providers hop onto the technology, it will be important to understand the communication strategies best equipped to deliver a positive patient experience.
Telehealth is not a new healthcare technology. For years, providers have touted the tool as key for bridging geographic care disparities, supporting patients accessing mental health treatment, or helping busy parents get their children treatment in between busy schedules.
But for all that time, full adoption of direct-to-consumer telehealth has been tepid. Despite some interest, patients didn’t always know how telehealth worked, had apprehensions about care quality, or weren’t aware whether their healthcare payer would cover the service.
Those concerns are falling by the wayside, and quickly. As the nation grapples with the spread of the novel coronavirus, telehealth is stepping in as a key means for maintaining patient access to care.
Primarily, the tool provides an avenue for patients to receive care without exposing them or their providers to the highly contagious virus. This is important for low-risk patients experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, as well as those who still need access to mental health or chronic disease management.
But as new patients and providers flock to the technology, questions about patient experience naturally arise. Will these patients who may be largely unfamiliar with telehealth be satisfied with their treatment?
Medical professionals utilizing telehealth may consider reviewing communication best practices for telehealth technology. This tool introduces new challenges to the patient-provider relationship, and although those hurdles are not insurmountable, they will require a shift in communication strategies.