“What’s the difference between a physician staffing company and a full-service telemedicine partner?”
That’s not the setup to a witty punchline; it’s a question we often hear at VirtualMed Staff. A full-service telemedicine partner provides much more than just the physicians. In fact, when you look at the services and benefits that a telemedicine partner provides, physician recruitment represents only a piece of the overall telemedicine puzzle.
Here’s a look at all the pieces a full-service telemedicine partner provides and how it enables hospitals and healthcare systems to grow and sustain a successful telemedicine program.
What is a full-service telemedicine partner?
A full-service telemedicine partner, like VirtualMed Staff, manages many of the responsibilities of a telemedicine program for healthcare systems and hospitals. From recruitment of qualified physicians, credentialing, project management, to ongoing client support, full-service telemedicine partners provide experience and industry knowledge to augment a healthcare facility’s existing workforce and improve patient care.
A full-service telemedicine partner uses an internal team of experienced physician recruiters that manage the entire recruitment process. From recruiting, vetting, interviewing, and identifying the best cultural fit for each client, the team removes the burden of building a physician panel from the healthcare facility. It’s not staffing a physician; it’s finding clinical expertise and ensuring they have the proper webside manner to provide quality care to patients in a virtual setting.
Additionally, recruiting physicians who want to work virtually is different than hiring in-person physicians, something many healthcare facilities aren’t accustomed to. For starters, there’s a larger geographic pool of candidates to target and identifying, marketing, and recruiting those candidates requires a different approach than a typical onsite physician recruitment. Virtual providers also want more contract flexibility, whereas on-site hospitals want longer contracts.
Credentialing a physician can be a lengthy and labor-intensive process, with the timeline varying between 30 to 90 days, or up to as much as 150 days. Some healthcare facilities employ in-house teams dedicated to managing the entire credentialing process. For those that do not, the process can be difficult to navigate, especially if it involves multiple providers across various locations.
A full-service telemedicine partner removes much of the credentialing process from the healthcare facility. Credentialing by proxy, like what VirtualMed Staff provides, means a dedicated team of professionals handles the bulk of the process, paperwork, and timeline.
Whether you’re a large healthcare system with a dedicated credentialing team or a small community health center, removing the tedious but necessary task of credentialing frees up time and resources so they can be applied elsewhere.
Looking to implement and grow a telemedicine program? Here are a few questions to consider.
Do your hospital bylaws allow for telemedicine? Does the executive leadership strategy include input from all the appropriate stakeholders? If not, there is the risk of misidentifying patient volumes, underestimating training requirements, and misunderstanding of how each location interacts with their EMR system.
An experienced project manager identifies each hospital or health system’s unique requirements, from technology and procurement needs, workflow adjustments and approvals, to communication plans, training and orientation. They even ensure the right kind of physician is being recruited to fit the needs and culture for a specific system.
VirtualMed Staff has a team of project managers that help clients succeed. In fact, we’ve covered the benefits of a dedicated project management team before.
Ongoing 24/7 client support
Most staffing agencies operate as a transactional exchange. Once the position has been filled, there’s little ongoing support until another position needs to be filled. That’s the opposite approach of a telemedicine partner, who provides continuous ongoing support and builds relationships to ensure sustainability and the long-term success of a telemedicine program.
An ongoing client support team will coordinate communication and feedback between the client, telemedicine partner, and the physicians to maximize efficiency and the quality of service. With ongoing regular status meetings, the support team can identify and address issues as they arise; whether it’s a scheduling conflict, updating and improving workflows, or managing the relationship between the physician and client.
A full-service telemedicine partner provides more value than physician staffing. Each component, from credentialing management, recruitment, project management, to ongoing client support is a piece to a larger puzzle. The true value is having an experienced and knowledgeable partner who can help sustain a telemedicine program for long-term success.
To learn how VirtualMed Staff can help you start offering telemedicine and elevate your hospital’s patient experience, schedule a meeting today and let’s get started.