This blog was originally published in September 2020 and was updated in August 2023.
Over the past decade, telehealth has become increasingly popular as a means to provide care to patients. However, the adoption of telehealth services has become more of a priority for healthcare providers since the onset of the pandemic. In fact, according to a GoodRx survey, over 60% of physicians and nurses plan on using telehealth in combination with in-person visits in the future.
With this increased desire for telehealth from both providers and patients, many healthcare organizations are quickly trying to onboard telemedicine and telehealth technology and train staff on new workflows. Telehealth is only as effective as the team utilizing it, so it’s of the utmost importance to certify that healthcare staff know the ins and outs of the system in place.
Here are a few things you can do to train and support your team during telehealth implementation to ensure you’re creating a sustainable care plan for patients:
1. Make training mandatory for your staff.
During the onboarding process, your telehealth vendor will be your biggest ally in properly training your staff. After all, they want your organization to succeed with their system in place. A solution vendor will typically provide you with initial training with their program, and it’s important that every user is required to attend and receive the same cohesive instructions. They may also help you identify key training areas so you can continue to refresh training in the future.
If some of your staff is unavailable for initial training, see if your vendor offers additional virtual sessions that can be scheduled at a later time so no one gets left behind.
Check out the CETF Customer Story to see how the telehealth training impacted the success of their program.
2. Simulate real encounters for practice.
While onboarding telehealth, it is best to continuously run different scenarios to test your equipment capabilities, remote physician connectivity, and comfort with the adjusted workflow. Having staff complete a mock run of daily routines and unexpected occurrences with the telehealth system builds confidence and helps your team become familiar with their technology and equipment.
This is also an opportunity to teach some basic troubleshooting skills to staff, which is key to creating a sustainable telehealth program. Simulated telehealth encounters will help ensure the technology serves as an extension of your patient care delivery model.
3. Communicate with staff frequently.
Deploying a telehealth solution doesn’t end after running an initial training session. You should make it a habit to check in with your staff frequently to make sure they are utilizing the technology appropriately. This serves as an opportunity to connect with your staff, answer any lingering questions, and further identify areas that still need improvement. Remember, you can always reach out to your telehealth solution vendor for continued support and additional training if needed. Sometimes, a refresher course is needed once you have been practicing the workflow for a short period of time.
It may be best to designate a task force or sole party to handle internal telehealth communication and handle questions from staff. Then, create a schedule of follow-up telemedicine training for physicians to show your organization is committed to digital transformation.
4. Measure training success using telehealth metrics.
Finally, it’s important to create measurements for your staff so they can understand where they are succeeding and what they need to improve during the onboarding process. The American Medical Association recommends identifying the goals of the telemedicine program and then determining which metrics make sense to track that progress. This can involve reducing costs, increasing access, and evaluating patient and provider satisfaction.
These telemedicine metrics are essential for improving training and the overall program, but don’t forget to check in to ensure staff and patients are satisfied with the solution. Over time, these metrics may change and include new goals as your organization and telehealth capabilities grow.
AMD Global Telemedicine has more than 30 years of experience with telehealth implementation at healthcare organizations around the world. We have learned through the years that the telemedicine solution has to integrate seamlessly into your existing workflow and provide an experience as close to “in-person” as possible. We understand that staff training for telehealth can be difficult, so we are dedicated to supporting your staff to make sure they will be confident in navigating the system.