How to Prepare Your Patient for First Telemedicine Appointment?

Telemedicine refers to the online one-on-one clinical sessions between doctors and patients. In the era of COVID’19, telemedicine has become even more relevant than it was a year ago. With an increase in demand for remote consultations from patients, many platforms, such as SmartClinix, that are HIPAA-compliant aim to provide doctors with seamless, lag-free communication with patients.

As useful as telemedicine is, some patients may show reluctance in using it, especially the older generation. This is because they are not as comfortable using technology and fear they may not get the same quality of service they would receive face to face. Luckily, most patients overcome this hesitancy once they are properly educated regarding the convenience of single-click scheduling of screening and tests. Following are a few telehealth tips for patients to help them prepare for their appointments so that they get the healthcare they deserve:

Get them comfortable with the technology

In advance to the arrival of the appointment date, it is important for the patient to know how to use the telemedicine application they would be accessing for their appointments. Before they do so, you should explain where and how they can download the application on their device. SmartClinix has apps available on both the App Store for iOS devices and the Play Store for Android.  To help patients with understanding the technology, you can set them up with a mock-appointment with your assistant. Doing this would allow them to learn their way around the application so that they are well-prepared and comfortable for their actual scheduled appointments.

Proper Wi-Fi connection and device(s):

All online consultations require Wi-Fi enabled devices. Before your patient’s scheduled appointment, they must ensure that they have a Wi-Fi connection strong enough to support undisruptive sessions. Additionally, the device they use for the appointment should have a high-quality audio and video option to make the whole experience seamless. This can be done with an audio and video quality test before the start of the session. The test is necessary to ensure that the patients do not miss any important points during the appointment just because of bad audio or video quality.

Ask them to write down and photograph symptoms:

It is important to remind the patient to write down all the symptoms they are experiencing beforehand so that they do not miss any of them. Similarly, it may be difficult and awkward to show the symptoms on video, which is why you should ask the patient to take multiple, well-lit photographs from a high-quality camera before the appointment. Progression of the symptoms should also be documented by the patient to understand the severity of the case better. SmartClinix allows patients to store all medical records on the patient portal, which makes reviewing and editing all the patient’s medical records and images easier for doctors.

Make sure any medical equipment you may require is within the patient’s reach:

In case you need to take the patient’s temperature or blood pressure, the devices should be available so that precious time is not wasted while they look for them. Asking the patient to take readings while on call can help you ensure they are following proper instructions, as you do not want faulty readings.

Request them to write down any questions beforehand

Your patient can forget any important questions they might have wanted to ask. It is wise to advise them to write them down prior to the appointment. Request them to keep a notepad in front of them so they can jot down any new questions that might arise mid-session. Towards the end, you can answer all the questions together, and encourage them to take notes in case they forget.

Private and distraction-free environment

For the appointment, it is crucial that the patient is in a quiet and distraction-free environment. You should advise them to look for a well-lit, comfortable, and discreet spot at their home. In case they need the emotional support of a family member or translation services, third parties can be invited to join the session with the help of the triage facility offered by SmartClinix. This facility can even be used for assistance if patients have hearing or visual impairments or to invite other medical professionals for a second opinion.

To make healthcare more accessible to everyone in the country, SmartClinix provides private sessions with healthcare professionals to avoid the social stigma attached to some illnesses. SmartClinix has therefore joined hands with the Aids Healthcare Foundation. By connecting patients with AIDS specialists across the globe, SmartClinix provides expert opinions needed by patients of HIV. Sign up today with SmartClinix as it is the best way to do telemedicine!

 

 

 

How to set up a telemedicine office

How to setup telemedicine office

The advancement of technology has redefined the world of healthcare. By coming into the mainstream, telemedicine has played a huge role in providing people with the necessary tools and resources for defense against the novel coronavirus and the limitations it has created between a physician and patient.

 

Through telemedicine, doctors can monitor the engagement and treatment of patients virtually. This practice also helps doctors in limiting the excessive usage of time, money, and resources.

 

Healthcare providers have come up with secure telemedicine platforms. These include HIPAA-compliant platforms like SmartClinix. Such platforms have the tools and resources necessary for conducting confidential consultations. Telemedicine has helped millions of people in their time of need. The pandemic has forced doctors to opt for telemedicine due to the coronavirus outbreak.

 

Although it may seem like a fairly new concept built to cater to the pandemic, telemedicine has been a part of the digital society for many years. Through telemedicine, practitioners can work from home, travel, and treat patients residing in several states with an appropriate license.  

 

It can be said that visual communication is in its prime at the moment. The pandemic has raised awareness all over the world, and people are slowly but surely shifting to digital and visual communication with the recent advancements in technology. You may have had all your questions about telemedicine answered by now. The next thing you will want to know is how to set up your own telemedicine office. The steps required to set up a telemedicine office are as follows:

 

Starting your telemedicine practice

Like all other businesses, telemedicine requires a learning curve, rules and regulations, and a financial commitment.

 

Telemedicine and the law

Doctors can consult their patients using an app, a smartphone, or other forms of digital communication. They can diagnose and treat illnesses with ease through virtual visits. Telemedicine platforms like SmartClinix serve a wide range of patients.

 

The first step is to familiarize yourself with the telemedicine laws of the state you intend to practice in. The American Telemedicine Association’s website and the state medical board can help you in educating yourself regarding these laws. For instance, some states allow doctors to consult with their patients virtually while sitting in their homes. Other states require the patients to be present in a medical facility to engage virtually with their consultants.

 

The second step is to know what Medicare will and won’t pay for. Strict reimbursement policies regarding telemedicine were placed by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) before the pandemic. The CMS broadened its reimbursement parameters in March to cope with the current situation of the USA. Now Medicare pays for the virtual visits between the patients and providers, such as nurses, psychologists, doctors, and licensed clinical social workers. As long as Covid-19 remains a public health emergency, the new guidelines regarding telemedicine will be implemented. 

 

E-prescribing also varies by state. The state medical board can help in guiding you with the telemedicine laws. In light of the pandemic, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has eased its restriction regarding controlled substances.

 

Telemedicine and technology

Technology partners are crucial in setting up a telemedicine office. Many video communication companies have created platforms like Zoom for the telehealth industries. While Zoom and Skype remain the mainstream form of providing telemedicine, a lot of software has been developed to safeguard privacy. SmartClinix is one such service that has built a HIPAA-compliant platform and ensures that physicians and patients can safely exchange private information.

 

Telehealth

‘ is used as a broader term for describing digital technologies that promote patient education and health. Telemedicine is considered a part of telehealth and is specific to patient/provider care.

 

While exploring telehealth vendors, look for a platform that:

Doesn’t impact network performance and speed.

Provides tech support for patients.

Consists of various customization features.

Includes built-in security features for the privacy of patient’s data.

Should have the ability to integrate with your EHR.

Satisfies your needs with minimal changes to existing hardware and software.

Should comply with state medical board regulations and HIPAA rules.

 

Starting your virtual clinic must seem like a daunting idea if you are new to the world of electronic-integrated practice. Launching your practice online is similar to starting a new business. You need to be clear and know the rules and regulations revolving around how you want to start practice. Give yourself time to learn and be clear about the number of resources you can comfortably use. The primary hindrance physicians face is the skepticism in patients to shift online. The introduction of complete telemedicine platforms and the pandemic has made the accessibility and necessity of e-health more evident. Recent studies go far enough to show that the patients familiar with telemedicine were interested in continuing to get healthcare through telemedicine and its undeniable benefits. Surveys show 74% of US citizens had no problems in getting help from doctors online. More than 60% said they had more satisfying results online. The overburdening of primary care doctors has made it evident that the number of patients willing to try telemedicine is significant.

 

You can start your telemedicine practice with a minimal budget and take it up according to the level of integration you want. Start with simply signing up with your details and making a payment of only $99 with SmartClinix and start practicing online or customize your solutions with special web developers. The process can vary from 2 working days onwards, depending on the complication of your workflow.

 

The range of telemedicine platforms, the tools, and the services they have to offer are vast due to technological advancements. Finding what is right for you depends on the workflow your practice requires and what your pocket can afford. Providing healthcare on basic video-calling platforms will make it easier for you to gauge what the world of telemedicine holds for you. It is essential to know which platform you wish to practice with and if it is adhering to you and your patients’ comfort level.

Types of electronic health record systems

An electronic health record is a software built to store patient files in an easily accessible database. EHR is a modern-day substitute for paper. The data accumulated inside the database contains every minute detail about the patient – such as detailed health history, allergies, blood type, reports, and diseases, etc. You could say that an EHR is a digital form of a patient’s medical history. 

 

This system has played an immense role in helping doctors improve the quality of services they offer. The benefits for both patients and doctors are increasing at a fast pace. More and more hospitals and private healthcare facilities are transferring from paper charts to electronic health records. These records can be accessed instantly, at any time or place. EHR could potentially be saving lives, time, and money. When doctors use electronic health records to keep track, they can use any computer to access a patient’s records simultaneously. EHR uses an algorithm that generates detailed and organized records of the patients and offers quality management. It also provides decisions based on evidence. This advantage can increase the efficiency of collaboration on many levels. It has also reportedly helped with the health-related safety of patients. The doctors and patients benefit greatly when medical errors are reduced through electronic health records. This system of information secures the patient files, automatically eliminating the possibility of transcription-related data errors.

 

 

 

Key Components of Electronic Health Records

 

An ancillary system like laboratory, pharmacy, or radiology has diverse healthcare components that are fully utilized by the electronic health record system. These components allow EHR to collect and merge data. A private interface is established between the ancillary system and EHR to transfer data. Doctors can access this interface by logging in through a portal. 

 

SmartClinix is a telemedicine platform that is fully integrated electronically through the EHR. With patient information logged in extensively, physicians can access data immediately, making treatment more effective and smooth.

 

Components of EHR

 

Patient Management Component:

This component has multiple functions related to the registration, admission, and discharge of a patient. The transfer of data is also a function of this component. It contains every single detail of the patient’s history, especially the demographics. The data collected is then used in the medical analysis of patients. A patient is assigned a unique ID known as a master patient index or medical record number upon registration. This ID is the core of the EHR as all the patient’s medical records are linked to it. Every time the patient visits the medical facility for a check-up, an encounter number is generated.

 

Clinical Component:

 

  1. The electronic documentation component can document notes like consultation notes and operative notes.
  2. The nursing component can collect critical information of the patient, such as vital signs.
  3. Computerized physician order entry (CPOE) can enter the requirements and needs of patients into the computer.
  4. The pharmacy system can maintain drug formulas and prescriptions.

 

Laboratory Systems Component:

 

An interface is used to establish a connection between the laboratory system and the electronic health record. This component also has multiple functions. The sub-components of the laboratory system handle schedules, billing, and combined orders from laboratories. 

 

  • Billing system:

 

The hospital billing system entails the charges and expenses spent on the caretaking of patients – hospitals generate claims using these charges. The insurance carriers receive the claims generated. This system also handles scheduling.

 

  • Radiology Information System:

 

The radiology information system manages the ordering procedures, the workflow of patients, images, and results. This system works alongside the picture archiving & communication system to carry out its duties.

 

Electronic health record systems are doubted when it comes to privacy. Using HIPAA-compliant telemedicine platforms like SmartClinix ensures that your patients’ privacy and security are maintained. In the US, the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights ensures that no private information is leaked. 

 

It is undeniable that EHR is the future of the medical industry. Better management of patient health updates and streamlined efforts to provide organized treatment ensured that EHR enhanced the privacy and security of data. Not only is productivity improved, but it is also easier to share information via electronics with patients, which in turn has them more involved with their treatment. The patient satisfaction index is higher as treatment is transparent, effective, and smooth.

 

The future of EHR is full of potential. Many improvements are in the pipelines when it comes to the development of EHR. Patients and physicians can look forward to reducing data entry burden, improved patient narrative, increased patient engagement, fewer errors when it comes to medication, remote monitoring, increased transparency, and stronger patient-centered care delivery.

Increase of Telemedicine during COVID-19

The novel coronavirus has struck the global population in harsher ways than anyone could’ve expected. That being said, with advancements in the telemedicine sector getting sped up, the field of telemedicine and telehealth has significantly benefited from this outbreak. While people have either chosen or been forced to remain restricted to their houses, the use of telemedicine has increased. Even though hospitals are open for the public at all times, people now prefer to stay at home to get treated.

 

The need for telemedicine

 

Telemedicine has played a huge role in revolutionizing the healthcare system, especially during the coronavirus. Over time, the need for telemedicine has been created amongst the population, mainly because it makes healthcare easily accessible. Modifications in technology have made it easier to contact doctors and physicians, making treatment possible through a smartphone. There is an urgent requirement of telemedicine in rural and distant areas where specialized treatment is not possible. Doctors can connect with patients through video or audio calls and diagnose the problem or even begin basic treatment.

 

With the arrival and rapid global spread of COVID-19, people have become more aware of the concept of telemedicine and its usage. Telemedicine was in a developing stage, in which it was not quite popular among the masses, but due to recent events, it has become a need. Hospitals and public spaces are more dangerous than ever, and if people face health issues, they can easily rely on telemedicine to contact a physician and get swift treatment. Fortunately, technology has also made it possible for doctors to hand out e-prescriptions online and schedule lab tests.

 

Telemedicine benefits and disadvantages

 

Keeping in mind the current state of life with COVID-19, telemedicine has made it possible for both doctors and patients to remain protected. With a higher risk of getting infected, physicians and doctors prefer telehealth to tackle the growing number of patients during this time. Even though telemedicine has existed for over 40 years, the fear of catching the coronavirus has led to patients switching to virtual healthcare. Most importantly, telemedicine helps save bed space and medical supplies. With severe patients being treated at hospitals, others are kept at bay to lower the risk of infection while treating them at home. However, certain equipment is necessary for doctors to conduct their telemedicine sessions, which can be equally costly. Time is precious, and telehealth keeps that in mind. Doctors can end up saving their time by using telemedicine since they don’t have to stay at the hospital until after work hours to look at patients and can also minimize their timings for each patient through telehealth. Another important benefit of telemedicine is that doctors feel relaxed and observe patients with more ease. With no rush and chaos at the hospital or clinic, doctors can give their full attention to a patient and treat them.

Even though telemedicine provides ease and safety to users, it comes with its disadvantages. Many illnesses and conditions cannot be treated through virtual care alone and require in-person treatment from the doctor. This leads to another disadvantage that diagnosis through telemedicine may not entirely be accurate since seeing a doctor physically is much different than through a video call. Telemedicine might be a lifesaver, but it requires substantial investment, and many small facilities might be unable to provide telehealth services to people around them. Technology keeps on getting updated with various innovations coming out each day, but these cannot be applied until some hefty costs are paid. Telemedicine can help diagnose illnesses and develop treatments for various diseases, but this comes with a big price tag attached to it, which not everyone can pay.

 

Telemedicine against COVID-19

 

Telehealth has become a priority for patients during COVID-19, especially for those who face the virus’s symptoms and require treatment at home. The situation has been highly challenging for both doctors and patients, but with the support of telemedicine, it has become possible to look after patients virtually. Using a smartphone, patients can contact a doctor and, if tested positive for COVID-19, can undergo treatment while remaining at home. A large number of patients have managed to recover through this method while isolated at home. 

Telemedicine has braved a war against the coronavirus, making it possible for people to stay calm and receive healthcare services for many diseases. It has played a huge role in confining people to their houses rather than stepping out in public spaces, which have a higher risk of infection.If you are considering telemedicine, or would like to provide expert consultations online without the hassle and risks of physical patient visits, SmartClinix can serve as an ideal forum where complete customized telemedicine solutions are available for all kinds of medical practices.