Planning your telehealth workflow
Your process for setting up and managing appointments may need to shift to accommodate telehealth appointments. You can save time and frustration by thinking through each stage of the workflow ahead of time.
- Digital Health Implementation Playbook Step 7: Designing the Workflow (PDF) — from the American Medical Association
- Provider to Patient Visits Template Workflows — from the American Academy of Pediatrics
- Sample Forms & Templates — from the Upper Midwest Telehealth Resource Center
The details of your workflow will need to adapt to the platform you choose, but here are a few basics to consider.
Preparing for telehealth visits
Questions to consider:
- How you will prepare and train your health care team to deliver telehealth services
- When you will be available for telehealth appointments
- How patients can schedule appointments
- How you will access the information you need for each patient visit
- Who will greet the patient first when they join the visit — for example, you may want a medical assistant to ask some initial questions before you join
- How you will support patients who have limited English proficiency
- How you will support patients living with disabilities such as hearing loss or visual impairment
- How you will support a caregiver or other person who needs to assist a patient during the telehealth visit
Tip: Consider doing a practice run with a co-worker first.
Conducting telehealth visits
Make sure to:
- Identify yourself to new patients.
- Verify that the patient’s equipment is working.
- Discuss what to do if connectivity gets interrupted.
- Confirm the patient’s identity and location.
- Create an emergency plan in case of a crisis.
- Ask if the patient has the privacy they need.
- Keep the visit as much like an in-person visit as possible using friendly body language and eye contact.
For details about telehealth visit best practices, see:
- Telehealth Best Practices (video) - from Hawaii’s State Department of Health
- AMA Telehealth practice implementation - from the American Medical Association
Talk to your patients about vaccines
Even patients you see through telehealth will need routine and COVID-19 vaccinations. Make sure your patients are aware of how important it is to get vaccinated, answer their questions and concerns, and help them find and schedule appointments to get vaccinated.
For CDC resources and guidance on how to talk to your patients about the COVID-19 vaccine, see COVID-19 Vaccination and COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Toolkit for Community-Based Organizations.
Following-up after telehealth visits
Make sure to document the visit, including the fact that it was a telehealth visit.
Tip: Consider asking patients how your team could improve their telehealth experience.