Want a Successful Virtual Care Visit? 6 Tips for Physicians Who Are New to Virtual Healthcare

Virtual care is growing more popular by the day among patients and physicians, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps a few of the reasons for its growing popularity include the ease of access to medical professionals that it offers patients, the additional revenue stream it offers physicians, and the safety from infectious disease that it offers patients.

At one New York hospital, urgent and non-urgent virtual appointments grew by 683 percent and 4,345 percent, respectively, between early March and mid-April.

The need to teach providers how to conduct a successful virtual care visit is obvious. These six tips will help physicians and clinicians offer their virtual patients valuable telehealth services.

6 Tips for Your Next Virtual Care Visit

Offering virtual health services is not as simple as transferring skills that providers use during in-person visits to virtual space, though many of those skills remain important. To summarize, providers need to communicate more effectively to compensate for the limitations of interacting through a digital medium.

Try these tips if you find virtual care visits challenging at first:

Introduce Yourself and Clearly State Your Role

As the provider, you are responsible for setting the tone of your virtual appointments. One of the best ways to present a professional, informative persona during these appointments is to introduce yourself and tell your patient what your role is as their care provider.

Make Your Patient Feel Comfortable

It is also important not to take on a tone that is too formal during the visit. You want to make your patient feel comfortable so that they open up to you about their concerns. When they describe the issue that they are having, make sure to validate their concerns verbally. You can also make them feel like they are being heard by addressing them by their name.

Discuss Confidentiality and Consent

Before the visit, be sure to confirm patient consent. At the time of the visit, also discuss patient confidentiality, especially concerning others in their end who might be able to hear your conversation.

Introduce Staff Who May Be Participating

Continuing with the confidentiality conversation, if there is anyone from your staff who will be participating in the virtual care visit, introduce them at the beginning of the appointment to avoid any surprises.

Collect Feedback on the Virtual Care Visit

Each virtual appointment presents an opportunity for you to improve your processes, so consider collecting feedback from your patient at the end of the visit. They may have some insights into how you can make your appointments more effective and more enjoyable for your patients.

Follow up with Your Patients

After your virtual visit, be sure to follow up with your patient. If you referred your patient to a specialist, make sure that they are able to connect, either online or in person.

Talk to Us about Implementing Your Virtual Care Services Today

Now that you understand a few of the keys to a successful virtual patient visit, get in touch with us to see how we can help you implement virtual healthcare for your practice.

Telemedicine vs. Virtual Care: What’s the Difference between These Two Key Terms?

Telemedicine vs. virtual care—these two terms are critical for the current technological revolution in healthcare. This article explains the difference.

With the advance of technology over the past decade, the healthcare industry is finally beginning to implement solutions that increase patients’ access to health professionals and lower the costs associated with care. What would have denied a patient the ability to see and speak to a doctor in the past—excessive distances and high fees have historically barred rural, low-income patients from routine and essential care—now are just a matter of scheduling.

As our industry adopts digital technologies, patients can now communicate via video, voice, and text with their providers, bringing the care of the doctor’s office to their front door. However, with these critical conveniences come some new terminology that can create confusion, among clinicians and patients alike.

Right now, many people are asking about how we should be using two key terms: telemedicine vs. virtual care. What do these keywords mean and what differentiates them? Let’s take a look.

What Is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine is a term that we hear more and more frequently. Some health professionals may assume that it is interchangeable with related terms, such as virtual care. However, in the telemedicine vs. virtual care discussion, telemedicine refers specifically to the diagnosis and treatment of a patient using technologies like video and voice calling, as well as messaging. Today, doctors can talk to and treat their patients without being in the same room as them. Telemedicine may include consultations, guided exercises, and referrals to local practitioners.

While telemedicine can provide patients with essential access to doctors and specialists, it also has disadvantages. Unlike an in-person visit at a doctor’s office, a telemedicine appointment does not provide clinicians with all the information that they need. Some conditions require physical inspections in order to diagnose and treat them.

What Is Virtual Care?

If telemedicine is the specific application of medicine using voice, video, and text technologies, virtual care is a broader view of digital healthcare. For instance, a clinician may use telemedicine to diagnose a patient’s condition but virtual care to follow up on their progress after a week. Practitioners use the same technologies for both. The primary difference lies in the scope of each term.

In telemedicine, the scope of the term is diagnosis and treatment. In virtual care, the scope encompasses all forms of digital communication between clinician and patient. Telemedicine is a form of virtual care, but not vice versa.

Telemedicine vs. Virtual Care: Using the Right Term When Educating Patients

As healthcare professionals, it is part of our job to make sure that our patients are informed and that they understand us. Digital technology helps open access to care for many people who were prevented from it before—but the use of these technologies can become confusing, even when we are just talking about them with our patients.

In most instances, physicians should use the term virtual care with patients to prevent confusion, as it is more inclusive and encompasses the nuances of the modern healthcare environment.

Let’s collaborate to give your patients all the healthcare possibilities they deserve.