Concierge Home Care, a 5-star agency passionate about improving the lives of seniors throughout Florida, recently shared a few tips on how to best introduce and implement virtual care:
- Build Patient Interest and Excitement: “We get such great participation from patients because we explain to them from the start of care that we use technology to provide better care almost like a VIP service. Our patients are relieved to know that if they have an issue, we can get a set of eyes on them to help.”
- Establish an Internal Champion: “For this kind of program to be successful, you MUST have a dedicated internal champion.”
- Drive Internal Buy-in with WIFM: “Leadership MUST make the use of telehealth a mandate but MUST also show what’s in it for staff (sales, marketing, and clinicians) and the patients. You have to get the staff excited.”
- Consider Establishing a Virtual Care Team: “It’s a culture shift for staff. You may want to have a separate virtual health team and field staff.”
- Produce Clear Guidelines and Protocols: “Treat telehealth visits as more than just check-in visits and make sure that clinicians are accomplishing a set of goals on the care plan for each visit.”
- Focus on Value vs. Volume: “Since Medicare isn’t going to allow ‘us’ to visit a patient 3 times a week, we augment with virtual visits to help avoid unnecessary readmissions.”
Synzi’s virtual care platform can be configured to an organization’s workflow to help automate and enhance existing roles and processes in accessing and delivering care. The following steps can help you get started:
- Conduct a workflow analysis to understand how virtual care fits in with current clinical practices. Discuss implications with relevant stakeholders who will use and/or benefit from the various solutions including virtual visits, secure messaging, condition management, assessments and remote patient monitoring.
- Position virtual care as another tool / method of delivering healthcare vs. a disruptive, brand new way to practice medicine. Create protocols which are as consistent with existing, in-person protocols to help your team feel more comfortable in adopting and using the technology on a regular basis.
- Set expectations on implementation timelines, deliverables, and milestones. Identify potential obstacles to staying on track. Brainstorm solutions to either address these obstacles upfront or in the future.
- Determine how you will monitor and evaluate the use of virtual care on a regular and ongoing basis. Some core metrics may include measuring impact on reducing unnecessary and/or avoidable ER visits, hospitalizations, and home visits afterhours and on the weekend. Additional metrics may include levels of usage, frequency of usage, comfort level by users, efficiencies realized, impact on satisfaction, quality and overall outcomes.
- Monitor performance regularly to identify trends, successes, and areas for optimization in order to continue to improve the impact and expand the usage.
As Concierge Home Care’s COO Linda Murphy pointed out, “the most surprising byproduct was patient satisfaction – feeling of depression decreased and feelings of isolation were minimized.”