Telehealth is on the rise, and it’s not just because of the year-long pandemic. While COVID-19 has certainly contributed to increased adoption, telehealth is also growing due to broader acceptance of remote treatment by clinicians and patients as access to new technology expands.
For example, smartphones with high-resolution cameras and software with digital imaging capability have revolutionized wound care documentation and made remote care not only an option but an opportunity.
According to recent research, the provision of outpatient care via telehealth jumped significantly as in-person outpatient visits declined over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, with many providers adopting telehealth for the first time in their practices.1 For wound care clinicians in particular, making changes to patient care can bring on many uncertainties. While telehealth makes it possible for clinicians and specialists to extend care safely and effectively to patients through interactive technology, it is essential to understand how best to make these new tools meet their practice’s individual needs.
1. Choose the Right Technology
A state-of-the-art wound care software program facilitates the use of cutting-edge imaging using just an app on a mobile device. But it takes more than just a way to capture images; look for the system that fits your workflow and allows for administrative, clinician, and patient access at the touch of a button. Identifying a flexible technology that can be integrated with current systems enables a business to keep up with current demands, as well as grow, all while providing optimal care.
2. Engage and Educate a Solid Team
Assembling and training the right group of people to use the new technology is a fundamental key for success. Each person involved must understand the benefits of telehealth and their role in the patient care process. Enabling staff to function as a team and be as productive as possible means staying current with industry standards and providing ongoing training for everyone involved in the patient’s healing journey.
3. Stay Up To Date on Regulatory Guidelines
To meet regulatory and compliance guidelines, stay attuned to the inevitable changes that will be made in telehealth coding and billing. Choosing a program where this information is stored safely and easily will add to the ease with which all staff can enter in the necessary information. It also will ensure that patient information is protected, and your business receives proper payment for services rendered.
4. Provide Support and Resources to Patients and Families
An effective telehealth program provides a reliable way for clinicians and patients to communicate. The use of technology can sometimes be intimidating, and the support provided to staff must extend to the patients themselves. People’s confidence in the ability to engage with providers and make appointments and receive updates from their wound care provider helps to establish and sustain a continuity of care and a strong relationship with patients and their families.
Taking these steps to optimize your wound care telehealth visits will pay off in a higher standard of patient care, increased efficiency and greater staff morale.
Top 5 Digital Techniques to Reduce Hospital-Acquired Pressure Injuries
Prevent HAPIs and Provide Better Overall Care
1Jama Internal Medicine, Trends in Outpatient Care Delivery and Telemedicine During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the US, Sadiq Y. Patel, PhD, MS, MSW; Ateey Mehrotra, MD, MPH, Haiden A. Huskamp, PhD; et al, November 16, 2020.
Need more information? If you are considering telehealth or looking to maximize the effects of your existing program, check out these resources for more of the best practices: