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How can we effectively communicate with patients about telehealth?

How can we effectively communicate with patients about telehealth?

18 January, 2017

Peter Kung headshotTelehealth “means we can enhance the patient’s experience and deliver services when they need it, where they need it,” said Peter Kung, System Vice President, Innovation and Virtual Health for SCL Health. “We can expand the continuum of care right to our patients.”

Surprisingly, this group may be the most enthusiastic adopters of telehealth. Patients who have limited access to care or demanding work or family schedules welcome the flexibility, convenience, and cost-savings of having healthcare delivered at home or a nearby clinic.

Telehealth can literally be a lifesaver for patients with chronic conditions. They can be monitored as often as needed — and not just when they can get to the doctor’s office.

Challenges: Telehealth can bring fear of the unknown.

  • Will I have the same relationship with my doctor? Will I have to see new doctors?
  • Is my medical information private and secure? 
  • How can I set this up? Do I need buy special equipment?
  • What does having a telehealth appointment even mean?

Solutions: Your plan needs to prepare and educate patients. Prepared patients tend to be highly satisfied with their telehealth experience. Make sure you set realistic goals and expectations. Caregivers and support staff should understand patient concerns and help them feel comfortable.

  • Keep the set-up and technology as simple as possible. Have clear directions and help available so patients have success.
  • Tell success stories: easier, more frequent telehealth visits to treat chronic conditions; access to care from anywhere; the ability to consult with specialists without the expense or burden of travel.
  • Ease patient’s concerns around privacy. Remind them that telehealth is simply another choice they have for their care.

Learn the key communication and planning steps for your health system’s successful telehealth initiative. Read about it in our white paper Telehealth: Today’s On-Demand, Patient-Centered Care. Download it here.