As telehealth continues to grow in popularity, more and more healthcare practices are implementing the hybrid model. This model is extremely beneficial to both patients and providers, but adjusting to a hybrid healthcare model can be confusing for some patients. With this in mind, we’ve pulled together some tips for helping patients adjust through this transition.
Hybrid healthcare is the combination of remote and in-person healthcare. When telehealth was introduced during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it immediately became the preferred method of healthcare for millions of patients. Now, as in-person care is feasible again, healthcare practices have found a way to integrate remote services with in-person, offering the patients the best of both methods.
However, while many patients were quick to adopt telehealth, millions of others still struggle with the technology and are hesitant to jump on board. As healthcare practices too have seen the benefits of telehealth services in hybrid healthcare, it’s important to get these patients on board.
Fortunately, the hesitancy with these patients isn’t a lack of interest in the hybrid model, but more so a lack of understanding. Trying something new, especially regarding healthcare, can be daunting. Fortunately, we’ve prepared a list of best practices that can help patients adapt to - and embrace - hybrid healthcare.
Introduce Patients to Telehealth
While millions of patients got a taste of telehealth services during the height of the pandemic, many patients simply went without proper healthcare. Consequently, there’s a high likelihood that many of your patients have had no exposure to remote care, making that a daunting aspect of hybrid healthcare.
Fortunately, addressing this is simple. Introducing patients to telehealth - letting them know that you offer it, as well as what it is and what it entails - can go a long way. Once patients are aware that this is offered and have a basic understanding of how it can benefit them, many will be open to learning more.
Particularly for older patients, introducing them to the telehealth portal itself can be very beneficial. Once patients see how easy it is to use and all the services that they will be able to access, most will be on board. Providers may even consider helping patients make their own patient account or sending them an email with resources and instructions to do so.
Whether your patients are familiar with hybrid healthcare or not, letting them know that your practice offers it is crucial in adapting them to the model. Awareness is critical for practices planning to transition to hybrid healthcare or those who have already done so but are struggling to get patients on board.
Beginning the conversation about hybrid healthcare is the first step. Consider sending an email to your pre-existing patients notifying them of these new services, and be sure to discuss it when they come into your office next. During this time, patients can ask questions and get answers directly from the providers they trust.
Guide Patients Through the Platform
Getting patients to create accounts on the telehealth platform is a significant step in the right direction, but that doesn’t mean your work is done. For less tech-savvy patients, even the most user-friendly platform can be overwhelming. For this reason, it is helpful to guide patients through the platform as they discover its services.
One of the most beneficial aspects of telehealth is remote meetings and consultations. Instead of coming into the doctor’s office for each and every appointment, patients can instead meet with their providers remotely. This is particularly beneficial for routine appointments such as follow-ups or prescription refills. In conducting these remotely, both patients and providers save considerable time.
That said, this aspect of telehealth can be troublesome for patients that aren’t familiar with video conferencing technology. To guide patients through this service, it can be beneficial to provide support ahead of time.
A great way to do this is by sending a test URL a few days in advance, allowing the patient to access the portal and get comfortable with the process. During this time, patients can sort through any technical issues in advance.
You can even offer a practice telehealth call with patients to take it one step further. This serves as an actual meeting would, only without the pressure of adding medicine to it. Patients can get comfortable with video chatting so that when the time comes for a necessary call, they are prepared.
When patients know what to expect from telehealth, it becomes considerably less daunting. By guiding your patients through hybrid healthcare, and particularly telehealth, you’ll soon find that they are eager to embrace the model and reap its benefits.
Create a Hybrid Strategy
Once patients are comfortable with the hybrid model, they may have questions regarding when care will be in-person versus remote. Before these questions arise, your practice should have a strategy for offering hybrid healthcare. Is it up to the patients to choose the healthcare method for each appointment? If not, which services will be conducted remotely versus in-person. These are the questions your patients will have.
Many practices find that routine appointments such as follow-ups, prescription refills, and regular check-ups are ideal for remote care as they don’t require much physical intervention. In contrast, annual physicals and appointments requiring hands-on care should be conducted in person.
Whatever you determine, it’s important to communicate this strategy with your patients. Doing so will ensure that they know which services to seek when something arises. The more informed that patients are of your hybrid model, the more comfortable they will feel with it. Soon, your patients will readily embrace the hybrid model and forget what healthcare was like before it.
As a provider, offering your patients an all-in-one and easy-to-use telehealth platform is a crucial aspect of helping them adapt to hybrid healthcare. For this reason, Medicai is a telehealth platform designed with users in mind. With Medicai, patients can seamlessly maneuver telehealth services such as uploading files, meeting with providers, accessing a network of specialists, scheduling appointments, and more.
If you’re interested in transitioning to hybrid healthcare and would like to learn more about Medicai, visit our website.