What if you could improve patient engagement without the need to meet face-to-face? With the right telemedicine partner, it's possible. However, despite greater efficiency, expanded clinical services, and the many additional benefits telemedicine can bring to your practice, healthcare professionals face new etiquette challenges when running virtual meetings with their patients. For hospitals that want to succeed in this type of interaction, providers must start with having good “webside manner”.
What is Webside Manner?
Similar to a face-to-face hospital visit, webside manner is the way a healthcare professional interacts with their patient remotely. This is a growing term, as more hospitals seek to implement telemedicine into their virtual care strategy.
In a virtual hospital visit, a doctor uses video conferencing to meet with a patient. In this scenario, both parties log into a video conference using a device from the comfort of their own home (or office).
Studies have shown that a virtual visit can improve patient outcomes through more frequent touchpoints, greater trust, and adoption of treatment plans. What’s more, open communication can lead to happier patients, more throughput, increased loyalty, and shining referrals.
As we re-enter this new normal, hospitals should consider alternatives to face-to-face visits as well as the need for doctors to be adept at seeing more patients virtually. Here’s how to increase webside manner readiness at your practice.
Understand How Telemedicine Will Help the Patients You Serve
Virtual medical services appeal to a wide-ranging patient base. Millennials gravitate towards telemedicine because of its ease of use and quick response. Seniors appreciate it because seeing a doctor virtually reduces their costs and driving time. However, it is essential to know who your patients are, what is important to them, and what they want to get out of their virtual visit beyond age range. Do they need a convenient healthcare solution because they live in a rural area? Are they in need of a specialist because they have a specific issue? Are they seeking telepsychiatry services? Once you identify what brought them to telemedicine, you need to determine the best way to communicate with them.
Choose a User-Friendly and Efficient Telemedicine Partner
Investing in the right telemedicine partner is vital. You have regulation and privacy to consider, as well as ease-of-use, reliability, and doctor availability. A telemedicine partner is supposed to not only streamline patient care and increase continuity of care, but also enhance workflow and efficiency. The patient may not directly see these factors, but they will have a direct impact on patient care and experience. It would be best if you choose a partner that works with your system and understands your needs.
Train Your Clinicians on Video Etiquette and Technologies
Just as important as your telemedicine partner, your healthcare team is an extension of your facility. Communicating virtually is not the same as talking in person, and sometimes details can get lost in translation. It is imperative for doctors to have focus, positive body language, and empathy despite consulting virtually. Providers need to maintain eye contact as much as possible and explain their actions offscreen, such as filling out forms or checking medical records, so that the patient knows what is happening. Simple elements, such as lighting, video quality, and a clean and organized workspace, provide a sense of comfort to the patient and lets them know that they are working with a true professional. Lastly, the doctor needs to know how to properly use the telemedicine partner's technology so as not to cause delays and frustration.
At VirtualMed Staff, our telemedicine solutions integrate with your existing people, processes, and technology. Our network of physicians are trained, ready to work, and have an impeccable webside manner. If you want to learn more about how telemedicine can improve your practice, book a demo with a virtual care specialist today.