Working Together: VirtualMed Teams Simplify Complex Telehealth Implementation
While telehealth programs can provide outstanding patient care virtually, these programs require a seamless team approach to launch successfully and sustainably. To get an idea of what it looks like, I'd like to share a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what it takes to get a telemedicine program up and running, and how our team at VirtualMed rises to the challenge.
Solving unique situations
First, our sales team works to understand each health system's unique needs and circumstances and builds foundational relationships to present a telemedicine solution that genuinely addresses the problems to be solved. With a fully executed agreement, multiple areas within the VirtualMed team mobilize promptly.
Leading with focus on value and benefits
The first stop is the project management office, where a project manager is assigned to lead every new client through their telemedicine implementation, regardless of specialty or subspecialty. The focus is on ensuring each telemedicine implementation's total value and benefits are recognized for every client. This includes efforts like a comprehensive assessment of stakeholder requirements across each of the health system's locations, examining clinical and technical workflows to gain efficiencies and alignment, and reviewing credentialing processes to understand state and payor regulations and timelines relevant to the implementation. The PM ensures the people and information are in place to move forward as quickly as possible, removing any roadblocks along the way and helping to accelerate adoption.
Aligning with your staff culture
Once the client's physician requirements are confirmed, the VirtualMed recruiting team immediately mobilizes to identify physician candidates who meet the scope of work. Just as important, though, is finding telephysicians who can integrate seamlessly into the hospital staff's culture, policies, standards, technology, and workflows. This attention to detail positions the telephysician to positively impact both hospital staff and their patients.
While recruiting may seem like something that should start earlier, we have found that in most cases, frontline stakeholders tend to request specialization so that patients with broader needs have qualified clinicians capable of treating those multiple needs. For example, it is not uncommon for a client to want telepsychiatry for various ages – such as care for patients 12 and below, care for patients 12 to 18, and care for patients 19 and older. Recruiting to meet each client's unique needs is a differentiator for VirtualMed. Tailoring the physician panel to align with the client dramatically impacts the program's success.
A neutral perspective on technology
Concurrent with recruiting efforts, our technology team promptly confirms that technology procurement, system access, and call center plans are in place. Keep in mind that with little fanfare, the technology team also ensures that each clinician has direct access to the client's EMR system in order to document into the system in real time. Our neutral approach to seamlessly incorporating telemedicine with a client's existing technology means we work hard to understand the systems, processes, and requirements at play.
Meeting regulatory requirements
Concurrent with the technology team, our credentialing team mobilizes immediately. Behind the scenes, this is one of the most time-consuming aspects of telehealth. The team must simultaneously tackle licensing, credentialing, privileging, and in some cases, payor enrollment, where there can be varying requirements between the client, state, and payors. Sometimes the approach is credentialing by proxy; other times, this team coordinates closely with a client's MSO. The credentialing team also handles malpractice coverage for clinicians and the client. One of the most significant challenges is completing all of these steps promptly before launching the telehealth program.
Delivering long-term program support
Our clinical operations team builds relationships and a strong understanding of the program, people and processes they will support long-term. Once the telehealth program is live, VirtualMed's clinical operations team takes over support for the client and works to ensure clinician and client satisfaction. This team manages physician schedules, ensures ongoing onboarding and training needs are met, and confirms pathways are open for healthy client communication.
Concurrent with the clinical operations team, our accounting team seeks to understand the client's specific financial needs. This includes timesheets and invoices so that as soon as the telemedicine program launches, billing runs as smoothly as possible.
For every one of the steps above, VirtualMed Staff adheres to all standards set by The Joint Commission. We diligently align with their best practices through 6+ years of successful site surveys as a telehealth company.
That's a lot! The effort of so many teams doesn't just speak to what is needed to launch telehealth. These steps generally must be revisited over the lifespan of the program. This ensures that programs are well run, communication is consistently effective and assessed, and adjustments are continually made so qualified clinicians meet the volume of patient evaluations.
VirtualMed relies on its talented, committed teams to keep programs up and running and perform properly as needed. Moral of the story: telehealth programs might be complex, but a high-quality telemedicine partner enables hospitals to see more patients with excellent care.
- Jack Williams
If you'd like a custom telemedicine solution for your hospital, get started with a consultation today!