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Telehealth - choosing and implementing the right solution

Thursday, 27 August 2020  
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Industry Article - Visionflex

 

A Four-step guide to find the right Telehealth solution for your needs and what needs to be considered in the process.


Since February 2020, a lot has changed in today’s world and medicine is one of the industries which recently faced big challenges that ultimately led to a change of modus operandi in regard to the handling of the patient and doctor relationship. Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) now, more than ever, are realising how telemedicine or telehealth, a solution that has been around for quite some time, is now becoming the new status quo for the medical industry.


Telehealth is an idiom which combines several solutions but is mainly referred to when allowing a patient and a doctor to consult via a video device. This, of course, reduces the risk of infection and has the advantage of both parties being able to participate from pretty much any location. Whilst this is a major benefit for either side by simultaneously limiting travel time, reducing the carbon footprint and avoiding transmitting diseases, it is only a solution for a very limited range of consultations and does not provide opportunities and solutions a well implemented telemedicine or telehealth programme should deliver.


There are several crucial phases to consider and work through to successfully implement a solid telehealth programme. Our short 4-step guide will outline the essential key elements to consider and provide you with the necessary information required to make an informed decision on how to choose the right telehealth solution and execute the implementation effectively:


1. Define the issues you are trying to solve

  • Access to Healthcare: Is access to healthcare an issue because you are treating patients in remote locations or perhaps, they are unable to travel due to age or physical inabilities? Will the need to travel for some patients incur a large cost or carry a security risk (e.g. Inmates in prisons)?
  • Saving Money: Are you trying to reduce waiting times, eliminate no-show rates or other system inefficiencies?
  • Technology requirements: Will implementing a telehealth system comply with regulations, privacy and data laws and how will it work and communicate with your current established systems and networks? How will telehealth data be stored? Who will need to be trained and how will training be conducted and by whom?

2. Analyse the current situation

 

 Your key stakeholders which should include, but might not be limited to 

- HCPs at the facilities, 

- IT Leads, 

- System Administrators 

 

All relevant stakeholders should provide input on system requirements, potential gaps and essential key points that must be taken into consideration to ensure all needs are covered and to guarantee a smooth transition throughout the implementation process. When all clinical, technical, training and security requirements are fully documented, a budget can be established. 

 

3. Evaluate Telehealth solutions


Does the solution offer examination-based care or is it a simple video call solution? 

  • A telehealth solution should provide approved peripherals which integrate with your systems so HCPs can deliver examination-based care and be more time-efficient.
  • However, your telehealth solution will need to have video-conferencing capabilities which along with storing and forwarding capabilities are essential for HCPs to be able to transmit electronic health records such as scans, images, and laboratory results.

Is the telemedicine solution easy to use by HCPs?

  • A telehealth device or solution needs to be intuitive for staff and HCPs as well as fast and reliable so HCPs can focus on their patients and the examinations. Complicated devices and software issues while examining patients can lengthen treatment time which is cost-intensive and thus making one of the reasons making a telehealth solution interesting, redundant. A high-quality and easy to use device is therefore worth the investment.

How does the integration of your telehealth solution work with your existing technology?

  • Ensure that you have all the technical capabilities necessary to interface the new technology with your existing networks and systems. This is essential for streamlining your clinical workflows, provide timely care and to capture the correct data which leads us to the next crucial point:

Is the telehealth solution secure?

  • This means, does it comply with Australian and regional Privacy Acts and can you safely transmit and receive clinical data and other diagnostic images or videos? Another important point to pay attention to, is that your telehealth solution should ideally be agnostic. This means your data is easily shareable with any provider and lets you collaborate, use your own protocols, and manage capacity too.

4. Plan your implementation


When you have chosen your ideal telehealth solution, you can start to do the following:

  • Plan the project timeline for implementation, onboarding, training and go-live.
  • Check insurance telehealth coverage depending on provider and insurance plans.
  • Document your workflow and modify where necessary to increase efficiency depending on the need of your facilities to make sure the team is confident before attending to patients.
  • Create flyers, signage and email templates that will help patients understand before and during the appointments. 

Telehealth is already shaping the future of healthcare with many millennials leading the way by embracing the telehealth model a lot faster and with more ease than prior generations. The outbreak of Covid-19 has accelerated the rise of telehealth solutions even with reluctant critics of the model. The upcoming changes related to the pandemic will impact the way this and future generations will work, select their place of living and employers, and especially their healthcare provider. 


Ease of use, benefits and most important of all being easily accessible at any given time are the criteria Millennials will look for and telehealth solutions will be a part of that. Therefore, spending money on a well-engineered and thoroughly implemented telehealth solution is an essential investment for any healthcare business that is looking at growing their business in the future.

In Australia, Visionflex has successfully trialled the ProEX Telehealth Hub, a carefully engineered device with cutting-edge technology that equally impresses with its sleek design and easy to use interface.
The ProEX Imaging Hub is specifically designed and engineered to enable health practitioners all over the world to confidently carry out detailed medical examinations on patients based in regional, remote, rural, and urban areas. It is an ideal telehealth solution for many use cases and can help your business become more efficient, more cost-effective and provide improved patient care by being able to offer remote patient access. 


The state-of-the-art device features high-quality, live video and imaging capabilities via its optional GEIS HD Medical Camera, which is integrated with the unit’s ergonomic design. The GEIS HD camera uses built-in, high-intensity white LED illumination and precision optics thereby consistently delivering quality patient images.


We also provide a wide range of approved peripherals such as Dental cameras, Otoscopes, Ultrasound, ECGs, Pulse Oximeters, Digital Stethoscopes and more.


At Visionflex, we believe in putting the patient first and our solutions are designed to bring the future of healthcare to patients and Healthcare Professionals across the world now.

For more information about our ProEX Telehealth Hub see our website.

 

Find out more about Visionflex.


If you would like to provide feedback on this Industry Article, please contact the editor Rebecca McBeth.

 

Read more features:

Data and the pandemic – Waitematā’s story
Cloud enables Covid scale-up


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