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Telehealth for direct-to-consumer care

Developing a direct-to-consumer telehealth strategy

Once you have decided that direct-to-patient telehealth is right for your practice, it is time to create a strategic plan.

Creating a telehealth plan

You must make practical business decisions and think ahead to ensure long-term stability and success (video). You will need to:

  • Create a roadmap for when and how you will roll out new services. See: Digital Health Implementation Playbook Step 7: Designing the Workflow (PDF) for ideas. Make sure you prioritize the most critical services to meet your patient’s needs.
  • Provide clarity - Ensure that your patient population, staff, and community understand what your telehealth program will provide and how they can best utilize it to meet their needs.
  • Find funding to cover both short- and long-term costs and to account for insurance reimbursement delays. See: The 411 on Telehealth Funding (video) for tips on how to get started.
  • Raise awareness. This means updating your website, online and print advertising, email communications, and more. Communicate the advantages you offer such as extended hours and timely access to specialists.
  • Design your approach to hiring, staff training, workflows, infrastructure and IT needs, and patient communication.

Tip: Screen for technology skills and communication preferences before the virtual visit. Have administrative staff prepare patients for their telehealth appointment and provide instructions on what to expect. Schedule extra time before the appointment for patients to practice using the technology and ask questions.

Evaluating your direct-to-consumer telehealth program

After you have developed your telehealth plan, you will want to decide how to assess if your program is meeting its goals.

  • Develop an evaluation strategy for measuring patient and business impact, challenges, and areas for growth to ensure your program is sustainable over time. Monitor your services regularly and make adjustments.
  • Assess patient and provider satisfaction – Use surveys, interviews, or other methods to assess patient satisfaction with their telehealth visits, any issues experienced with the technology, and the provider’s views on any additional burden on their workflow.