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“It’s important that providers have a sound connection and private area for the visit,” said Finkelston. “For example, the WiFi signal should be strong, and the lighting positioned well for evaluation, with no one else around. The right approach and communication from providers can also be critical for building trust with a patient, especially if it’s their first visit.”

Meeting Challenges

It’s not always easy meeting a doctor online, however, and telehealth’s challenges must be overcome for successful treatment. That could mean something as simple as adapting the location of the virtual visit.
“Some patients do not have WiFi access with sufficient bandwidth to support virtual visits,” said NextGen’s Rabinowitz. “We recently heard of a group serving patients in a socioeconomically challenged area offering patients an option of a drive-through line, where they provide the patients with a connected iPad to initiate the telehealth visit from their cars.”
It’s important to make sure that patients are comfortable with the technology before they commence a telehealth visit.
“Some patients are challenged by the need to use a computer or tablet or phone to conduct a virtual visit,” explained Rabinowitz. “Many practices will have medical assistants help the patient to set up for the visit.”
Just as with in-person medical visits, it’s important that there’s clear communication between the doctor and the patient before, during and after the visit.
“It has to be more than video,” said Mike Morgan, CEO of Updox.
“The experience starts long before the session,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “The patient needs to be prepped and engaged.”

The Evolution of Telemedicine

Now that the pandemic has brought telemedicine to the forefront of discussions about the practice of medicine, it’s likely to play an increasing role in routine care.
“Telehealth will no longer be a plus or nice-to-have for practices — it will become a requirement to stay in business,” said Morgan.
“Virtual care will truly transform healthcare with modern, impactful ways to maximize patient engagement, improve outcomes, and enable more timely, efficient connections between patients and their physicians,” he predicted.
“More and more providers across the continuum of care will adopt telehealth, and solutions partners will expand offerings to combine video chat, secure text, broadcast and other technologies to create a true virtual care environment,” Morgan added.
As other technologies evolve, so will telemedicine.
“Telemedicine utilization has had rapid exponential growth during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Morgan pointed out. “Its features are going to continue to evolve as the software is deployed and heavily used across many specialties. From our recent conversations with health leaders across the country, it is clear that telemedicine is here to stay, even after the pandemic has resolved.”
Because telehealth has become so visible recently, it’s likely that both patients and medical professionals increasingly will accept it as an indispensable component of comprehensive healthcare.
“Now that the pandemic has brought telehealth into the limelight, we’ve gotten over one of the major hurdles that has historically stalled adoption — awareness,” said Finkelston.
“Once people try telehealth, they usually love it. As such, I anticipate that telehealth will continue to become more mainstream and embedded as a regular part of our healthcare system and the way patients engage with providers,” she said. “Doctor’s offices and other traditional healthcare settings will realize they need to offer virtual care options, as that’s what patients will want, even post-coronavirus. The future is bright for telehealth.”