With the 2022 omnibus bill, Congress ensured that telehealth payment and regulatory flexibilities will continue for at least another two years. That makes it worthwhile for physician private practices to more closely consider how to best incorporate telemedicine into their everyday workflows and ensure that patients get the best virtual care experience possible.
The AMA Private Practice Simple Solutions series includes a four-week learning session to help physician private practices continue leveraging telehealth and virtual care to provide patients care, drawing on the insights of the AMA Telehealth Implementation Playbook as a guide.
The four-week learning session offers physicians and their offices guidance in these three major areas.
Picking a virtual care platform
In this vendor evaluation, selection and contracting presentation, physician private practices can discover tips to ensure they find a long-term partner that will offer support through the implementation process and will always have an expert on hand in challenging situations.
Key to success is for physicians in private practice to do their due diligence. This includes:
- Developing evaluation criteria to assess vendors.
- Scheduling live or virtual demos to look at products.
- Researching vendors, even if you are already using them.
- Having patients and care team members test products.
- Gathering experimental feedback for existing platforms.
- Talking to colleagues and other organizations for feedback.
- Asking vendors for case studies and additional referrals.
Supporting telehealth is an essential component of the AMA Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians.
Telehealth is critical to the future of health care, which is why the AMA continues to lead the charge to aggressively expand telehealth policy, research and resources to ensure physician practice sustainability and fair payment.
Designing virtual-ready workflows
There are a lot of moving pieces in the workflow: scheduling, checking in patients, virtual rooming tasks, and the physician’s actual visit with the patient, then the post-visit tasks and billing.
The Simple Solutions Series telehealth session highlights an AMA webinar that offers physicians productive ways to think through each of these pieces. Here are some general goals to accomplish when designing your workflow:
- Get input from the care team and patients to help set the schedule.
- Document current and future workflow.
- Develop protocols for when a telehealth visit is appropriate.
- Plan how to schedule, document and bill for telehealth visits.
- Set up appropriate space in the clinic to conduct visits.
Engaging with patients
Another webinar highlighted as part of this telehealth session helps physician private practices partner with patients by engaging them, making technology inclusive for them, setting their expectations for virtual care, and gathering feedback about their experiences.
You can also learn ways to develop digital empathy and how to advance the virtual physical exam. For example, a physician can display nonverbal empathy by putting a hand over the heart or they can name emotions to connect with the patient.
And you can learn more about health care technology and the human connection, including key promises that physicians need to make, including:
- Know the patient as a human being.
- Ease the patient’s way.
- Engage a patient in the way they want to be engaged.
It takes astute clinical judgment as well as a commitment to collaboration and solving challenging problems to succeed in independent settings that are often fluid, and the AMA offers the resources and support physicians need to both start and sustain success in private practice.