Keys to making telemedicine a personal experience

Jan 29, 2016 / Planning for telemedicine /

 

When patients come into a health care facility, the last thing they want is to feel like just another chart in a tall pile. Patients want personalized experiences that leave them feeling valued and encourage them to trust those responsible for their care. While telemedicine has changed a lot about the health care field, it has not changed that desire. Consequently, to increase patient engagement and outcomes, it's important to make sure that you leverage telemedicine in a way that creates a personal experience for patients. Doing so will optimize your telehealth tools and ensure that you're getting the most out of your telemedicine strategies. 

To improve remote care for patients, try these three key strategies to make the telemedicine experience a more personal one. 

1. Gain perspective 

An easy way to ensure that telemedicine is a personal experience is to take a walk in the patient's shoes. When you set up your telemedicine training program, create opportunities for the trainee to experience use from the patient side. Doing so will give providers a better idea of what their patients are experiencing when they video chat. You can also have staff members try the tools in the consultant and presenter roles to give staff members a clearer understanding of those functions as well. 

"Practicing creating a personal experience will make a big difference."

2. Practice for perfection

There's a reason why people say practice makes perfect. Rehearsing an action helps train your body and mind to ensure that future performance is spot on. Consequently, when it comes to telemedicine use, practicing creating a personal experience will make a big difference. Making eye contact, for example, isn't always natural when using a webcam. Staff members should practice looking into the camera when speaking to make sure that patients get the kind of eye contact they would have during an in-person meeting. 

While presence is important, be sure that you don't neglect the technical side of telemedicine use when it comes to practicing. Becker's Hospital Review recommended holding training sessions to make sure staff are comfortable using the equipment. If the provider is preoccupied with trying to figure out how the camera works while talking to a patient, for example, the experience will seem clumsy and much less personal. 

3. Plan ahead 

Few things are more awkward than starting off a conversation on the wrong foot. The same is true of telemedicine. Preparing your greeting in advance will make sure that the remote encounter starts off well, setting the tone for the entire conversation. If a consultant or other remote provider is on the line, make sure that you're prepared to make those introductions as well. It may be helpful to give staff members an introduction template to ensure that they start remote appointments off smoothly. Use of telemedicine can have numerous advantages for improving remote care, but making the experience as personal as possible from the beginning is key for improving patient engagement and outcomes.  

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