Telemedicine: Common Mistakes

Telemedicine is easy to set up but not easy to run. As a Hospital (IT/Operations) Administrator or Practice Manager, you should avoid these common mistakes when setting up telemedicine.

There has been a surge in the practice of telemedicine because of the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdown, and restrictions imposed thereof. Telemedicine usage in India has increased to 300% in the last couple of months to meet immediate healthcare service requirements.

Non-Compliance in Telehealth

Several enterprises have rolled out telehealth applications that have introduced misconceptions which can be addressed only by vendors compliant with the IT Act, HIPAA (not applicable in India but needed for Patient Privacy and Protected Health Information), and Medical Council of India, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. The vendor should also have a deep understanding of hospital information systems, processes, and how hospitals run their services.

Not Enough Marketing

Rolling out the telemedicine application is not an end in itself. You should create awareness on the availability of telemedicine services to get people to start using telemedicine.

When they are aware, they will start exploring the services based on their need. It’s a good idea to post a demo on how to schedule a consultation, the details of services or specialties available over telemedicine, and the benefits of telehealth consultations on your website or your social media. This will increase your visibility and that of your patients opting for telemedicine/digital health services.

One way to immediately get your existing patients to use telemedicine is through a broadcast message via text, email, or the good old telephone call. This will help kickstart your telemedicine consultations.

Missing Appointment Time

Punctuality is vital to successful telehealth calls. Doctors must ensure that patients are not waiting for long on a telemedicine schedule, be it audio or video. In addition, call coordinators must ensure that they effectively communicate punctuality guidelines to the patients.

Doctors need to align their calendars daily so that they don’t miss their appointments, followed by a quick check of the camera, mic, and speaker settings along with internet connectivity. Patients, on the other hand, need to create a checklist of the issues, symptoms, and any other problem areas for discussion with the Doctor.

Inadequate Clinical Reporting

Out-of-the-box telemedicine solutions do not have the ability to integrate with your clinical management system, resulting in reporting inadequacy. This can be solved by providing the metrics required for clinical reporting and ensuring that your providers have access to these reports. However, the best way to solve this is to integrate the telemedicine solution with your Hospital Information System (HIS) or Practice Management System.

Disregarding EHR integration

The chances of clinical errors increase with stand-alone telehealth solutions in which the staff documents patient information in both the telehealth application and EHR. These clinical errors can be eliminated if the clinical and administrative data of the patient is sent automatically to the EHR systems. This integration will majorly help in the continuity of care and clinical decision-making accuracy.

The MyTeleOPD Digital Clinic has overcome more than all of the above drawbacks to provide seamless telemedicine consultations not only during a crisis such as COVID-19 pandemic but also during ordinary times. Having taken the opportunity to learn, we are now the real enabler for Doctor-Patient Consultations.