4 Questions to Ask Before Partnering With a Telemedicine Technology Provider
Telemedicine and telehealth technologies are transforming the way that doctors and patients interact with each other. They’re also improving access to care for many individuals. That said, anytime a change is introduced to an existing system, there’s always a transitionary period during which challenges are to be expected.
Avoiding Workflow Disruption
When it comes to implementing new technology in healthcare, any system that may cause disruptions and deviations to workflows, processes, and the quality of care is often met with hesitation because the services impacted by the transition have a direct impact on the lives and well-being of actual people.
While introducing a telehealth platform is always done with the intention of improving the quality of care and patient outcomes (while simultaneously streamlining systems and procedures for healthcare staff), it requires special attention to detail. Healthcare facilities, especially those with limited staffing, rely on tried-and-true workflows to ensure that the care of patients is consistently met with ease, continuity, and proper attention.
Before partnering with a new telehealth technology provider, it’s absolutely crucial to make sure the telemedicine solution doesn’t disrupt workflows because the effectiveness of those workflows can quite literally keep people alive.
The Battle With Burnout
Add to this that healthcare workers are already battling unprecedented burnout and turnover, thanks in part to the weight that the pandemic placed on the healthcare system. For nurses specifically, the integration of a new telehealth system needs to be seamless, easy to use, and simple to learn. Nurses juggle both medical and administrative responsibilities and are often bogged down with maintaining EHRs and paperwork; adding a new system to that can worsen burnout.
Burnout is a leading cause of the loss of employees in a field that’s already dangerously understaffed, and budget decreases, salary cuts, loss of benefits, excessive work hours, and lack of support all add to it. By the end of 2022, one-third of nurses intend to resign as a direct result of the stress that comes with all of this. Telehealth technology should boost nurse retention — never hurt it.
As healthcare leaders vet telehealth solution providers, it’s key to know that those partners understand healthcare (not just technology) and are equipped to make the transition as smooth as possible. Coming to potential technology vendors with these types of specific questions will help ensure that implementing telehealth technology won’t disrupt things beyond repair.
1. What is the launch timeline?
You need to know how quickly you want to launch telehealth technology in your organization versus how long it takes a partner to deliver, train, and implement the technology. It’s important that your timelines match so that you don’t add extra stress to your staff or patients.
When making a timeline, be sure to factor in adequate time to train staff. Don’t put them under the pressure of knowing everything from day one — provide some time between installation and organizationwide implementation for troubleshooting and possible retraining if necessary.
2. How much does the solution cost?
Know what your budget is first. Ask the provider what the monthly and initial setup costs are and what, if any, ongoing fees you should expect. Understanding cost upfront will help you decide quickly whether a partner will be a good fit.
When you ask about cost, also ask for case studies and customer references. One of the great aspects of telehealth is that it improves access to care and saves money in the long run, both in terms of care reimbursement and lowering readmission rates for many patients.
3. What type of workflow is needed?
What type of workflow is needed for their technology solution to succeed and perform optimally? Will their technology streamline and automate procedures, allowing for more time to be spent between patient and doctor? When prospective partners ask us questions regarding workflow, we always let healthcare staff know that integrating technology solutions like AMD AGNES Connect helps support clinical needs without replacing existing workflow.
AGNES also mirrors the workflow of a typical physical appointment, saving time and allowing your staff to focus on the patient. Our platform seamlessly integrates with EHRs, collects patient data, and adds newly collected vitals to that existing patient’s health record.
4. What in-house support or training services do you provide?
Does the partner you’re considering provide technical support and in-house training? Will they be available for meetings and project coordination? A good partner will offer continued support and pivot with you as your practice grows and your needs change.
Delivering a consistent level of care for your patients is always your top concern. It should also be the number one concern for a telemedicine solution provider when you plan on implementing new technology in healthcare. By understanding the needs of your organization and staff and by asking the right site-specific questions to telehealth providers before committing to a relationship, you’ll be able to reap the many benefits of telehealth technology innovations without adding to the workload of your already overburdened nursing and healthcare staff.
Curious to see how partnering with AMD fits your healthcare organization? Book a demo with us today.