Demand for remote patient management services is skyrocketing among patients: A 2016 survey by the American Telemedicine Association revealed that, among those who aren’t currently using telehealth services, the majority of people still “thought telehealth would be more convenient, even though their provider did not offer virtual appointments.”
With patient engagement a well-known benefit of telehealth services like remote care, this positive predisposition speaks volumes. But transforming this eagerness of patients into operational success means focusing engagement efforts not just on patients, but on clinicians, too.
Indeed, the best telehealth programs are built to continuously communicate directly with the clinicians at the heart of the program at every stage of the process, working with caregivers to ensure that their needs and questions are being attended to just as closely as that of their patients.
As the authors of a 2012 study put it: “Strategies to support a large-scale implementation of telemonitoring for chronic care patients in primary care should focus on healthcare professionals’ perceptions of being supported by their [organization] and reinforced in their changing practices.” (Emphasis ours.)
Engaging clinicians doesn’t just help secure their buy-in and commitment, as essential as that is to the program’s ultimate success. It also helps administrators and leaders better understand the patients they’re preparing to treat — their specific needs, their histories, their least predictable idiosyncrasies.
As such, as our experts argue in a video from the Care Innovations® RPM Academy, the process of engaging clinicians should be included at every step of program implementation — including its earliest planning stages — to help ensure that they welcome it into their workday and are fully invested in its success.
Engaging Clinicians with Telehealth Programs: Key Considerations
Luckily, when carried out correctly — and when included in the earliest stages of planning — engaging clinicians in remote care is “very simple, and it's very straightforward,” says Care Innovations Program Executive Barbara Fullmer.
In the video, Barbara goes on to explain how successfully engaging clinicians during the pre-implementation and program planning stages revolves around two key steps:
- Proactive outreach during the design phase — i.e., including clinicians in the conversation of how to define program goals and meet patient care needs.
- Post-implementation engagement to continuously connect with clinicians and help ensure that long-term goals continue to be met.
She goes on to describe some best practices for accomplishing clinician engagement, as well as some good reasons for putting in the work — including the value of gaining clinicians’ insight into what patients are right for the program.
“We have a pretty hands-on approach to training [clinicians] with our system,” she explains. “We'll do a face-to-face training session. And we’ll log-in together into their system, and help them understand the simple details.”
Those details might include “creating a new patient, or managing a patient, or monitoring,” she explains, as well as executing “management by exception, where clinicians can direct their attention to those patients who need the most intervention and the most benefit to be given by the use of their expensive time — their valuable time. “
And that’s just the beginning, according to Barbara.
“Once we've completed that training, and the program's gone live, were not going anywhere,” she says. “We will have continued sessions with them, for training if that's helpful … we'll help them understand more advanced functions of the product.”
In other words, the process for engaging clinicians within a remote care program isn’t just a pre-implementation consideration. It’s also something that continues as long as the program is active. “We consider it a partnership,” she adds. “We're highly vested in making sure they're successful."
Discover why engaging clinicians with a new telehealth program may be simpler than you think. Contact us here to schedule a complimentary consultation with a Care Innovations telehealth specialist to learn more.