How to overcome common challenges during telehealth implementation

May 14, 2019 / Telemedicine implementation /

Telehealth implementation can be an exciting process for facilities, physicians and patients alike. However, the idea of changing up traditional practices to conform to a new and improved technology-based solution may be overwhelming for those involved, as there will naturally be some barriers along the way.

Understanding the most common challenges that are faced during this process early on can help facilities avoid coercion and instead let telemedicine do exactly what it was created for: delivering care more conveniently without taking away from the quality that patients are expecting to get out of a care plan.

Here are some of the most common challenges faced while implementing telemedicine, and how to overcome them:

Justifying the ROI

Administration may be on the fence about telemedicine because of what they've heard about the cost and process to go live. These individuals are comfortable with current processes and may not be on board with making an adjustment that comes with a price. However, the administration must think about how healthcare has changed over the years, and how the landscape is only going to continue to transform - specifically to more technology-based care solutions. To help administrative staff better understand the value of telemedicine, Becker's Health IT & CIO Report recommended reminding them about the return on investment that comes with telehealth. It can help the facility build a strong team of specialized doctors, assist more patients to reach specialists and reduce readmission rates, all of which can increase ROI.

Demonstrating the value of telehealth is not always about the dollars saved.Demonstrating the value of telehealth is not always about the dollars saved.

Impacted workflow

Physicians, staff members and patients may be overwhelmed by the telemedicine implementation process because it's going to change the current system each department has in place. Yes, telehealth will certainly impact workflow, but by no means will it do so in a negative way. David Thompson, MD, CEO and chief medical officer of Health Navigator, told Health IT Outcomes that telehealth solutions can streamline a day in the doctor's office to move more quickly, efficiently and effectively.

"Telehealth platforms can help your staff capture each patient's reason for the call or visit quickly, prioritize care delivery, suggest the best treatment guidelines, and identify additional information resources," Thompson shared.

Lack of physician or patient engagement

Physicians who are set in their comfortable ways of healthcare delivery could potentially show pushback when it comes to a new system. Incorporating technology and digital devices into their current practice might seem like more of a distraction than a solution. Telemedicine user Andrew Watson, MD, a surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh's Medical Center, recommended sitting down with these physicians and emphasizing what makes telemedicine so great.

"Telemedicine is what the patient wants; it is the future of healthcare."

"Remind physicians that telemedicine aids population healthcare," Dr. Watson told Becker's Health IT & CIO Report. "Telemedicine is what the patient wants; it is the future of healthcare. That should speak to physicians."

Most consumers are comfortable with having online interactions on a daily basis. According to a study published by the American Journal of Managed Care, 79% of patients found it easier to find a convenient time for a follow-up telemedicine visit than a traditional office visit.  There are however, some patient groups who are still intimidated by receiving their healthcare through digital technologies.  To get past this barrier, it's important to keep patients educated about your new telemedicine services, whether it's covered by insurance and how it can benefit their overall health and wellness with its quality care and convenience.

By working with a trusted vendor from the start, you can rest assured that the implementation process will run seamlessly. At AMD, we're always available to help guide you through the new system until you feel comfortable navigating everything on your own. As part of the implementation process and guidelines for best practices, we offer onsite or virtual training for your clinical or IT teams.

For more information on our telemedicine and telehealth solutions, contact us directly today.

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