This article was originally published in March 2019 but was updated in June 2022.
While telemedicine is a relatively known technology in the medical field, there are still nurses, physicians, and other healthcare professionals who are unfamiliar with how to best apply it. Although telehealth is widely used, there are certainly special considerations and staff training for telehealth that need to take place to ensure its sustainability.
Here are six tips for introducing or onboarding your staff to telemedicine and telehealth:
1. Schedule telemedicine education and training with the vendor
Many vendors will offer telehealth training programs for new clients at the beginning of their relationship, and some will even come back for additional training upon request. This is something that, without a doubt, should be part of your implementation process and be repeated when onboarding new staff to your team. If your vendor isn’t available for live training staff training for telehealth, ask whether they offer video training as an alternative and request telehealth training modules from them that you can share with your team to help with any ongoing training requirements or support.
2. Collect and publish FAQs for staff to reference
It’s no surprise that using new technology such as telemedicine can be intimidating, especially for those who’ve never worked with an intelligent health system before. Your internal team members will have a lot of questions — answering them is an important part of telemedicine education and training. You can hold Q&A sessions with providers on an individual level to get many of the questions addressed, but you may consider publishing the most frequently asked questions for staff members to reference.
According to Healthcare IT News, some of the most common FAQs that physicians have about telemedicine include:
- How does telehealth work?
- Is telemedicine legal?
- What conditions should I treat with telemedicine?
- What kind of results can I expect to see from telehealth?
- Why is telemedicine worth implementing and using?
Questions may vary based on how much experience your new staff members have with telehealth training certification.
3. Arrange a mock system test
Your staff can highly benefit from doing a test run on the telehealth system before they start seeing patients live. Staff training for telehealth can only go so far, and a mock trial gives individuals the opportunity to test out different connection methods, features, and various uses of the equipment and feel a sense of comfort in using telehealth on a regular basis. You can arrange a mock system test at one of the program’s endpoints or set up a room in your facility that works as a lab for your team to run test telehealth training modules of the equipment and technology so they can feel confident and comfortable with it.
4. Send staff for on-site visits
Staff members will get used to working on one “side” of the telehealth consults, but it can benefit them to know what’s happening on the other side of care. In a Telehealth Network Training white paper by The Northwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center, it’s recommended that during telemedicine training for physicians, coordinators, and other healthcare providers, these workers visit network sites to see the conditions in which the other end of care is delivered and get a sense of the challenges or issues that could occur in the future if something goes wrong on their end.
5. Provide additional training opportunities
Individuals will absorb the educational material on telehealth at different rates. Therefore, you should plan on holding additional sessions of staff training for telehealth or handing out informational resources on a regular basis to ensure new care providers maintain comfort with the new systems. Even your seasoned staff members can benefit from a telehealth refresh, especially because the technology is constantly changing.
6. Have patience
You must make a commitment to being patient. Learning how to work with a modality that’s unfamiliar will take lots of practice, and time is of the essence when it comes to telemedicine for beginners. With the right amount of training and dedication toward using telehealth, your team will become properly informed and understand how to work optimally with the technology. As leaders, it’s critical to be supportive and have patience throughout the journey of telemedicine education and training if you want your facility to be successful as a whole.
At AMD Global Telemedicine, we provide telehealth solutions that integrate seamlessly and are designed to help new users navigate the system with ease. For more information on our telemedicine products, contact us today.