If your practice has been waiting for the right time to embrace a telemedicine strategy, the wait is over. Telemedicine is no longer a brand-new, untested experiment—it’s used in over half of all U.S. hospitals, according to the American Telemedicine Association. Reimbursement is expanding, with Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance plans coming on board in various states. And with the Affordable Care Act encouraging cost-effective, results-driven models of care, it’s a great time to transform your practice with a robust telemedicine program.
However, as with any endeavor, careful planning will help your goals become a reality. As you map out your telemedicine strategy, watch out for these three common pitfalls:
Not having a plan
Telemedicine is a tool. As with any other tool, using it properly requires knowledge and understanding. That mastery can guide you as you formulate your goals and determine how telemedicine can help you achieve them.
For instance, when shopping for equipment, don’t go overboard; look for secure video conferencing services and accessories that enhance your physicians’ area of focus. After all, a rural family practice has very different needs from a stroke center, and their tools reflect this difference.
Going beyond your scope of practice
As we hinted above, make sure that your new telemedicine goodies are the right fit for your patients, personnel, technological capabilities, and training. This helps you get the most out of your investment. Perhaps the best way to make your telemedicine debut is to buy for your current needs. As your staff become accustomed to using the technology, you can expand your offerings. A modular or flexible service, such as swyMed, can handle a growing telemedicine practice with ease.
Separating telemedicine services from in-person services
When you’re just starting out, avoid the temptation to keep telemedicine segregated from your daily interactions. Instead, integrate your new service into your standard procedures early. This will help your practitioners understand and adjust to telemedicine as just another tool for providing the same, high-quality care that they offer during office visits. As a result, your staff will be better equipped to take full advantage of the flexible and seamless nature of telemedicine.
As long as your clinic stays focused on your goals and avoids the mistakes described above, you can design and implement a strong telemedicine strategy that will serve your practice for years to come. If it all feels overwhelming, don’t panic; telemedicine experts with vast resources and experience are available to assist you. Most importantly, hang in there—it will be worth it!
To learn more about how swyMed can complement your scalable telemedicine strategy, contact us today!