You are likely in the process of moving all available visits to virtual care; with in-person interactions limited due to the coronavirus crisis, virtual care is now the only way to get most patients the care they need.
Moreover, it’s an important time to earn market share in virtual visits. Hospitals are up against telemedicine-focused entities, who compete in the virtual visit space. The rest of the article is about winning that market share as virtual visits are a very important way to keep revenue streams flowing at a critical time for hospitals.
Here are five steps to take in order to facilitate a successful rollout of virtual care:
1. Define Virtual Care for Patients and Visitors Alike
Virtual care, virtual visits, telemedicine, and telehealth all mean slightly different things to patients and clinicians. You need to define what your version of virtual care means.
2. Promote Virtual Care at Points of Conversion
Virtual care may be available for some or all service lines and physicians. Your organization is likely struggling with bringing on new physicians rapidly, and that availability will change weekly — if not daily.
3. Explain What Happens Next (in Advance)
There is no widely prescribed process yet for virtual care. Consumer expectations are fairly limited, often to only urgent-care visits from their phone, often through a third-party service, and usually for a nominal fee.
4. Email Out Changes in Status
If you’ve not yet communicated with patients about virtual care changes, email is a useful tool for addressing the exact populations that will be serviced by your new virtual care offerings. Many systems have seen success with emails through their EMR systems, such as Epic’s MyChart, that promote their new virtual care options.
5. Plan to Address Future Integration of Virtual Care Records
Making virtual care feel integrated into the rest of the system is a good first start — appointment reminders, follow-up emails, and other supporting documents may not be fully set up if you’re rapidly deployed a virtual care system.
The surge in demand for virtual care means many organizations are facing a “trial by fire” as they integrate this vital service into their offerings. However, taking control of this experience allows you to deliver on core promises of ease, stickiness, and pervasiveness in healthcare.