How Can Providers Ensure Quality Care Through Virtual Visits?

A crucial challenge posed by the pandemic was transitioning from in-person clinical service delivery to virtual service delivery. When I was a consultant for a state department of behavioral health and developmental disabilities, I was tasked with developing the standard and clinical operational procedures related to virtual service delivery. This required putting a process emplace to ensure quality care through virtual visits. This process involved developing protocols and standard operating procedures for services traditionally rendered face-to-face, now going virtual.

The first thing is understanding the limitations of a virtual visit. Physical touch, for instance, cannot be replicated virtually. However the key to successful healthcare service virtually lies in focusing on high value, high impact services you provide as a clinician and leveraging them during the virtual visit. In an outpatient orthopedic world, one might argue that hands-on manipulation or stretching are of high value. But digging deeper reveals that any clinician’s true value in any interaction is knowledge translation.

We have this vast range of clinical knowledge and technical skills at our disposal which we apply to each patients individual circumstances ‍️ Our ability to do so forms the core component of a successful virtual visit. For delivering quality care through these visits it could involve educating caregivers about safety measures or walking individuals through their specific diagnosis’ care process.

We must remember not to get hung up on what we can’t do because we aren’t physically present with our patients but rather focus on what we can achieve – effective knowledge translation. This will ensure valuable sessions where patients and stakeholders understand its worth even without physical presence It also allows us to affect change via lifestyle management or behavioral adjustments tailored specifically according to each patients needs. Leveraging your clinical expertise on patient-specific situations is where real value lies especially when dealing with virtual visits.




The Age of Virtual Visits

So, how can providers ensure that patients receive quality care through virtual visits? This question has become more pertinent than ever since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. A few years ago, I was consulting with a state agency and we were tasked with shifting everything from in-person clinical service delivery to virtual service delivery. We had to develop protocols and standard operating procedures for delivering services that had traditionally been delivered face-to-face.


The Limitations and Opportunities of Virtual Visits

In transitioning to this new mode of healthcare delivery, it is vital to understand its limitations. For instance, physical touch or direct manipulation is off the table during a virtual visit. However, instead of focusing on what cannot be done virtually, our efforts should center around leveraging high-value services which are deliverable through this medium.

I hail from an outpatient orthopedic background where one might argue that our hands our ability to manipulate or stretch constitute our main value offering. But if you delve deeper into this matter, you realize that any clinician’s true value lies not just in their skills but also in knowledge translation – Our ability as clinicians to take a broad spectrum of clinical knowledge and technical skills and apply them specifically tailored towards each patients individual circumstances.


Leveraging Knowledge Translation for Effective Virtual Care

The real value we bring as clinicians comes from understanding each patient’s context and situation before applying our expertise accordingly – And this remains at heart even during virtual visits! In fact, research suggests focusing on knowledge translation could enhance the effectiveness of such meetings significantly.

For example; caregivers could be trained over video calls about specific safety measures or care techniques required by medically complex individuals under their supervision. Alternatively, these online sessions could serve as educational platforms where patients are guided through their respective processes for managing specific diagnoses.

Its natural when considering telehealth consultations feel concerned about not being able physically examine your patient.. How do we make this work? The key here lies within the concept: focus on providing valuable insights using your clinical expertise tailored towards each person’s unique circumstance rather than dwelling upon physical limitations inherent within digital appointments.

This approach ensures no session goes wasted – Patients along with their stakeholders (like support teams) continue feeling confident regarding efficacy despite lack traditional proximity between doctor-patient relationships usually fostered within clinic settings. Be it promoting behavioural change lifestyle management etc., leveraging your professional know-how towards improving health outcomes remain core aspect regardless whether interactions occur virtually onsite!


How has your organization ensured quality during virtual visits?


For more content like this, check out our Insights Page and check out The Better Outcomes Show. Or if you want to humanize healthcare through your business or organization, learn how Rehab U Practice Solutions can help here! You can also schedule a call with Rafi to discuss your company’s positioning strategy and brainstorm a business development plan here. Check out Rafi’s latest book, Better Outcomes: A Guide to Humanizing Healthcare, on Amazon!

Rafael E. Salazar II, MHS, OTR/L (Rafi) is the Principal Owner of Rehab U Practice Solutions and the host of The Better Outcomes Show and the author of Better Outcomes: A Guide to Humanizing Healthcare. His career trajectory includes 12+ years of experience in healthcare management, clinical operations, programmatic development, marketing & business development. He even spent some time as an Assistant Professor in a Graduate Program of Occupational Therapy and has served on numerous boards and regulatory committees. He has worked on projects ranging from patient engagement initiatives to marketing communication campaigns to a multi million dollar project assisting the State of Georgia's Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities transition individuals out of state institutions to community residences. His work on Telehealth has been discussed in Forbes.

Today, Rafi helps innovative healthcare companies like technology startups, platforms, SaaS companies & innovative healthcare organizations develop effective positioning strategy and business development plans through his consulting work. He also leverages his experience as a professor and academic to speak and train on the topics around humanizing the healthcare experience & healthcare innovation. In addition, Rafi also owns and operates ProActive Rehabilitation & Wellness, a multidisciplinary outpatient clinic treating patients with musculoskeletal pain.

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