Choosing the Right Telehealth Platform: 5 Factors To Consider

By Rik Coder, vice president of public sector, Pexip.

Rik Coder

Today’s healthcare organizations face tremendous pressure to deliver high-quality care and improve patient satisfaction, all while reducing costs. As hospitals adapt to new value-based care models, telehealth can be a great way to improve patient satisfaction and engagement.

In fact, a recent study by Massachusetts General Hospital found high levels of patient satisfaction with telehealth, with 68 percent of patients rating virtual visits at 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale, and 62 percent reporting that the quality of virtual video visits was no different from that of office visits.

The technology backbone powering telehealth plays a big role in patient satisfaction. It must be simple and intuitive for patients to join video calls, while meeting the security and workflow needs of physicians. So, when choosing a platform to support your telehealth initiative, what factors should you consider?

1. Provide a great user experience

One of the most important factors in driving adoption for your telehealth platform is the user experience for both patients and physicians. The interface of the video application must be intuitive and easy-to-use, and the service high-quality and reliable. Organizations should also ensure that the platform provides connectivity to patient home sites for case management, post-procedure follow-up, and remote monitoring.

2. Ability to connect with any device, anywhere

Telehealth can break down accessibility barriers to care, whether those be technology-based or location-based. Patients should be able to join video consults from the comfort of their own homes using their mobile device or web browser, and physicians should be able to use the technologies they are used to, whether those be telehealth carts, office computers, video conferencing systems, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, or Google Hangouts Meet.

With the right connectivity to disperse locations ranging from hospitals to clinics and rehabilitation centers, patients can get the coordinated care they need. This also improves the speed and quality of care as health systems spread across large geographies.

3. Scalability

As health systems expand, adding new sites and acquiring new practices, they need the ability to quickly scale to accommodate increased usage. Each new site also needs the ability to easily connect with each other for internal collaboration. With the right platform, you can add video capacity to accommodate times of increased demand in real time, and add capabilities to meet the changing needs of your organization with no additional configuration needed.

4. Flexibility

Each organization is different. Consider the IT resources and existing infrastructure requirements of your organization to determine the best deployment method for you (self-hosted versus as-a-service). Also evaluate how the platform will integrate with existing technologies such as EMRs and scheduling tools to make workflows as seamless as possible. If your video platform is clunky or requires additional logins, physicians are less likely to adopt it into their daily workflows.

5. Customization

Consumers today expect a consistent experience across all of their touchpoints with a brand, and when it comes to healthcare, the patient experience is no different. For instance, will your telehealth platform extend your organization’s brand and experience from the doctor’s office to the patient’s home, or introduce a different look and feel? Providing a seamless experience can increase patient trust and loyalty for your organization over the long run.

Choosing the right video platform is a big decision that can ultimately determine the success of your telehealth initiative. Beyond the fundamental needs for security and regulatory compliance, select a platform that puts user and physician experience first. With physician buy-in, you can drive adoption and give your patients the care they need, when they need it.

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