The outbreak of COVID-19 changed everything about how we did business. Healthcare services are still as crucial as they were before, but now we have the added responsibility to protect patients when they seek medical care. Lockdown regulations and restrictions make it difficult for doctors and patients to connect sometimes. Patients are fearful about leaving their homes and being exposed to germs from others, especially with the number of people affected by the virus.
Although you may not be able to have patience in your office, you can still maintain contact with them through telemedicine. Wait, what is that? Telemedicine is an old term that few people would recognize. With all the technology we have now, it is seldom used but an effective method for remaining connected. Many practices are adopting the practice for the first time, so there may be a learning curve for doctors and practitioners. It is easy to get started and VA.care will show you how. You will see that it is easy to stay connected with your patients.
Getting Started With Telemedicine
The basics of telemedicine is a software program that doctors and patients can use to connect and communicate with one another. All you need to use this technology is a connection to the Internet, audio, and video capability. You can use dedicated software, or choose from several video applications that people often use for conference calls but that can be used by anyone. Here are the top applications we recommend:
Doxy: Doxy has been on the market since 2014 and is a dedicated telemedicine app. It meets all HIPAA and HITECH requirements. The app offers features such as live chat, HD video capabilities, and personalized waiting rooms. There are 3 versions of Doxy. The basic version is free, and while it only has LD video functionality, it includes unlimited minutes and sessions to get you started. The Professional ($35/mo) and Clinic ($50/mo) versions provide enhanced functions including HD video and audio-only calls.
Google Meet: Google has its own version of meeting software. Meet makes video calls easy and accessible. Setting up a video call is easy and all patients have to do is click the link in the email you send them. It works from anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection.
The communication on Google Meet is crystal-clear and the video quality is very good. The connection is secure and encrypted for privacy. Another benefit is that it is free to use. If you would like more enhanced features, you may opt for the paid plans offered such as Basic ($6/mo), Business ($12/mo), and Enterprise ($25/mo).
Zoom: Zoom is another video conferencing app that is very popular these days for a number of reasons. More people are using this medium to conduct meetings for sales teams, school courses, and more. Zoom uses HD video capabilities to deliver high-quality video conferencing for virtual meetings. The basic plan is free to use, but they do have paid plans offering additional features not available in the basic plan such as Pro ($14.99/mo), Business ($19.99/mo), and Enterprise ($19.99/mo).
How is a Telemedicine Call Conducted?
To conduct a telemedicine call, make sure you have all the software and hardware needed for video calling, and your Internet connection is strong enough to support that function. If your video tends to lag or freeze, you may need to increase your Internet speed for the video to stream smoothly.
You can use a headset and microphone, or utilize your computer’s webcam and built-in microphone to conduct the calls. When you’re ready to start the meeting, all you do is send the link to your patient. This can be set up ahead of time and the link sent in an email with the date and time of the appointment.
Once the patient clicks the link, they will be taken to a virtual waiting room. They will be placed into a call queue which the practitioner can see. This way, doctors can see each patient, document the visit, and nurses can perform related tasks and run triage of the most important cases.
To see a patient, the doctor can access the call queue and click on the patient link being taken directly to the meeting room. The doctor can choose to record the session and document the patient record at a later time. You will need to obtain the patient’s permission to record the call, but if they understand it helps make the appointment go faster they will most likely agree.
Virtual Solutions Provided By Virtual Assistants
VA.care can assist you with any administrative task needed. We offer Virtual Medical Receptionists to handle phone calls, Medical Scribes to take notes during patient visits, and Medical Assistants to support office staff and patients. A Virtual Assistant can easily adapt to telemedicine procedures, as this is how most of their work is performed anyway. They can join the consultation and take notes during the session.
VA.care offers world-class Healthcare Virtual Assistant services for just $9 per hour with no contracts. We provide virtual staffing and can connect you to a virtual assistant within 24 hours.
Setting the service up is easy. There are no additional setup fees, no contracts, and no minimum terms. You only pay for what you need and that is it. Our Virtual Medical Assistant services are an excellent value for the money, saving you hundreds of dollars in recruiting and hiring expenses.
Your Virtual Medical Assistant will adapt to your office and learn the procedures that you used to integrate effortlessly into your office. Soon they will be working as efficiently as any other member of your staff, but one who doesn’t call out sick or get a flat tire.
VA.care is here to help you keep your focus where it should be, on your patients. Let us handle the documentation and back-office tasks for you.