Implementing Telehealth & Virtual Services Without Ruining Patient Engagement or Experience
A High-Level, Philosophical View of Telehealth, Virtual Service Delivery, and a Hybrid Model of Healthcare
Here’s the deal: telehealth has always been on the sidelines. It’s been a tool that some clinics have used when appropriate, but regulations and reimbursement guidelines have made it relatively inconsequential in the greater landscape of healthcare delivery.
Well, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve noticed telehealth became a big deal in 2020. Every healthcare organization, system, and clinic implemented some sort of “virtual care” option for those unable to obtain in-person healthcare services during the height of the covid-19 pandemic. Now, many of these telehealth rollouts checked the box as “minimally viable”, but they lacked some important and necessary pieces to make them sustainable for the long-term.
In fact, when I was consulting for Georgia’s Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities, one of my projects involved developing the operational and clinical guidelines for telehealth service delivery across the statewide integrated clinical support services (a Telehealth Roadmap of sorts).
That project (which was discussed in Forbes), coupled with my consulting work in the private sector highlighted two great struggles that many organizations face when implementing telehealth or virtual service delivery: 1) you need to develop a specific workflow and process for handling virtual service delivery (and it’s notably different than in-person treatment processes) and 2) the impact of poor patient experience is AMPLIFIED when the patient isn’t on-site. If you’re moving to adopt telehealth, you MUST understand how to deliver real, human connections and experiences in that environment, or you’ll end up with poor clinical outcomes, decreased patient engagement, and low patient satisfaction.
A Report on Telehealth & Virtual Service Delivery
All of the conversations & work I’ve been involved in around telehealth, virtual service delivery, and hybrid models of healthcare led me to develop this report on telehealth. The report, titled Telehealth & The Future of Healthcare, outlines both the operational procedures and technical/clinical pieces that must be in place to successfully implement virtual service delivery. However, it also lays out a high-level, philosophical view of telehealth & virtual service delivery and how they fit into the greater fabric of healthcare in general.
What’s in the Report?
✅ Part 1: Telehealth Fundamentals
✅ Part 2: Challenges & Pitfalls of Telehealth
✅ Part 3: Offering High-Value, High-Impact Services
✅ Part 4: The Real Value – Relationships
I think the biggest takeaway that I want you to walk away with is the idea that telehealth is so much more than “zoom calls” with your doctor or clinician. Clinicians (and patients) must take the viewpoint that telehealth &/or virtual service delivery isn’t a specific service or treatment, but is rather a tool in a clinician’s toolbox to address whatever the diagnosis or condition is.
A hybrid model of health will dominate the future of healthcare; where virtual service delivery blends seamlessly with in-clinic or in-person service delivery. Telehealth, and all that it emcompasses, has the ability to radically transform the way healthcare is delivered. IT even has the ability to change payment & business models. We just need to think a little bit more broadly and creatively when it comes to how we define “telehealth” and how we educate stakeholders about it.
If you want to take it to the next level, our program, The Telehealth Roadmap™ helps healthcare organizations implement virtual service delivery in a way that maximizes patient engagement & experience, improves clinical outcomes, and moves towards that hybrid model of healthcare that we know will be the future of the industry.
Do you have any tips or strategies successfully implementing telehealth? Share any additional resources that you found helpful in the comments below!
For more informational reads, check out our Insights Page to see all the articles we’ve published to date, recent podcast episodes, and links to past webinars. Click here to head over to our resources section and check out our variety of clinical and professional resources aimed at increasing your knowledge and skills. If you’d like to make some changes in your clinic or health center, and would like some help, check out our consulting and advisement services or contact us to see how we can help you break out of the norm and provide a truly impactful patient experience.
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. He has experience in a variety of rehab settings, working with patients recovering from a variety of injuries and surgeries. Rafi has worked in a variety of settings, from orthopedic and musculoskeletal rehabilitation, to academia, and even healthcare consulting. He spent the majority of his clinical experience working at Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center, where he was the lead clinician and clinical education coordinator for the outpatient specialty rehab program. In this role, he treated many veterans with chronic pain and helped to establish an interdisciplinary pain management program. 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. He also has experience as a core faculty member at Augusta University’s Occupational Therapy Program, as a Licensed Board Member on the GA State OT Board, and he serves on the Board of Directors for NBCOT. He works to help healthcare clinics and organizations deliver uniquely impactful patient experiences by improving service delivery through training & advisement and through courses & training programs.
Work With Us
If you’re ready to craft a strategy to help your organization bring in more clients, retain them throughout their course of care, and create uniquely impactful patient experiences, then reach out. We’d love to talk with you about how Rehab U Practice Solutions can help.
What we can help you do:
✅ Train your staff and clinicians to be able to confidently communicate the value your organization provides…
✅ Leverage best practices, new technology & telehealth, and marketing/messaging to maximize patient engagement & retention…
✅ Develop a system that keeps patients & clients happy, engaged, and satisfied throughout the entire process of care…
We help you not only craft marketing messages & campaigns that build that know, like, & trust value you need to convert leads into scheduled clients; but we also work with your clinicians and staff to make sure that, once a patient decides to schedule an appointment, you have a system setup that keeps them happy, engaged, and satisfied throughout the onboarding, treatment, and discharge process.
In short, we help your whole organization become focused on the most important thing in healthcare: people – the people who work for your organization, and the people who your organization treats and serves.