With so many physicians entering telemedicine, landing a job has become challenging. Physicians that don’t have excellent telemedicine skills will be replaced by those that do. More so, physicians must recognize that for those patients seeking telemedicine visits, the patient satisfaction scores are much higher than with in-person visits. Therefore you must provide a service worthy of your patient’s time to achieve high patient satisfaction scores. Without being well-liked, patients will quickly seek out others for their care. Thus, take the time to learn about what it takes to be a great telemedicine physician.
It’s a no-brainer, but it must be said…. Those personal qualities that have enabled you to excel at treating patients in a clinical setting as a physician are the same ones you need to possess to be a great telemedicine physician. You are expected to build rapport, demonstrate empathy, listen intently, clearly explain things, and provide a calming presence when interacting with your patients. This is expected of you whether you are treating someone in-person or remotely.
This article examines five things you should know about setting up your telemedicine clinic at home and five essential factors to excel at patient visits via telemedicine.
At-home set-up for telemedicine.
It starts by having the proper setup to host a telemedicine visit. It may seem simple, but having the right set-up is crucial to providing a great patient experience. This is not to be taken lightly. The user experience can make or break your patient satisfaction scores and, ultimately, your telemedicine career.…. Don’t F this up!
Enhance your user experience by making sure the following are taken care of.
#1. Good internet connection. Having a good internet connection is vital for audio and video feed.It is best to connect directly to your internet modem to ensure you have the best quality internet. If you can’t connect directly to your modem and the wifi is sketchy, consider getting a wifi extender like this one from Lenovo. (Log into your FlexMedStaff account to view discounts from Lenovo.)
#2. Good microphone. What is a telemedicine visit if the patient cant clearly hear you? Invest in a microphone or headset. Although there are good blue tooth options, you will have better quality audio by hooking the microphone directly to your computer. Check out Jabra and BlueParrott if you want a high-quality headset with noise canceling microphone. (Log into your FlexMedStaff account to view discounts from Jabra and BlueParrott.)
#3. Good camera. Do you want your patient’s to see you in 2D or 4k? Although most computers, especially Apple, have good built-in cameras, it may be worth investing in a more sophisticated camera so that your patients get a better experience.
#4. Good background and lighting. Look professional by staging a great background rather than using virtual filters. Make it appear like you are in an office by placing plants and a bookshelf in the background. Also, make sure the lighting is symmetric. Light bulbs and sunlight can brighten one side of your face and leave the other side unlit. Position yourself so that your face is well-lit on both sides. Consider getting a selfie ring light.
#5. No background noise. Don’t let your patient get distracted by noise from children, animals, and other household items. Ensure that you perform your telemedicine visits in isolated, quiet rooms. Consider noise-canceling microphones if you don’t already have one.
Five ways to improve your patient satisfaction scores.
As discussed above, the personal qualities that have made you successful in the clinic will also make you great at telemedicine. We expect you to interact with your telemedicine patients as you have with patients in the clinic.
We highlight five things that are uber important to obtaining high patient satisfaction scores as a telemedicine physician.
#1. Don’t be in a rush. As physicians, it’s customary for us to interrupt our patients. We are busy people, and we always have to see more patients and do more documentation. As much as you may want to, avoid interrupting patients when they are talking. In clinic, you may have ways to interrupt patients, which may look professional, but on telemedicine, it may come off as rude or arrogant.
#2. Ask for an assistant. Sometimes telemedicine visits can move along much more quickly if there is a family member or friend to help the patient. You can ask the “assistant” to be the videographer and/or help examine the patient.
#3. Share educational information. In addition to explaining the diagnosis and treatment plan to the patient, consider providing links to YouTube, websites, and other educational content (i.e., PDF) about the diagnosis and treatment plan.
#4. Discuss the follow-up plan. Sometimes telemedicine patients will follow up with you, and others won’t. Ensure it’s apparent to the patient how they can reconnect with you or what they can do if they need further help.
#5. Answer every question. No matter if you think the telemedicine appointment is going long, try to answer every question. These telemedicine patients expect you to answer every question, so do you best to do so. Learning how to close out a telemedicine session with patients feeling that all their questions were responded to will take time.
Telemedicine has become an increasingly popular way of remotely providing medical services to patients. Being a great telemedicine physician involves more than just being a treating clinician; it’s about providing an excellent patient experience. You will become a great telemedicine physician with high patient satisfaction scores by developing a good setup at home and learning how best to interact with patients through a video feed. Take the time to implement some of the suggestions above to better your telemedicine career.