As a new normal of physical distancing takes hold, many allied healthcare professionals are treating their patients virtually. While virtual consultations can be just as effective as in-person appointments, they may be a little daunting at first. As with most things, preparation is key. Here are a few tips to help ensure your time is focused on the patient, not technology.
Gather the right tools for the job.
- You will need:
- a webcam-enabled computer, smartphone or tablet with good quality speakers, a microphone and a web browser
- a good quality headset – optional, but useful for eliminating ambient noise or a hollow-sounding effect; and protects the patient’s confidentiality and privacy
- a strong internet connection
- a telehealth tool like Reacts, Zoom for healthcare or Skype for business
- If you’re using a mobile device, you can use a stand to keep the device steady
- Consider using a direct billing service like eClaims to submit claims electronically for those virtual consultations and streamline the insurance process for your patient
Before the consultation.
- Test your equipment once a day before beginning your virtual appointments
Make sure your volume is on, the audio is clear, and your microphone, camera and speakers are in good working order. If you’re using a mobile device, make sure the battery is fully charged or the device is plugged in to prevent a sudden loss of power.
- Minimize distractions as much as possible
Close unnecessary programs, apps and alerts. Block incoming calls on your mobile device, and post a sign on the door indicating that a virtual visit is in session.
- Prioritize privacy
Choose a quiet space where you can be alone to protect your patient’s privacy. Make sure the background is neutral, clean and organized. Check the lighting behind you. You may need to lower the window blinds to soften the light in the room and make your image more visible to the patient.
- Optimize your position
Angle your camera so your patient can see you from your shoulders to above the top of your head. Make sure that your camera is at eye level to help maintain eye contact. You may have to adjust the height of your chair.
- Pre-populate direct billing details
If you’re using a direct billing service like eClaims, enter the claim information before the appointment so that you only need to submit it after the session.
Submit claims the same way as you would for a regular consultation. Select your primary practice location as the servicing location and select the service code that best reflects the service rendered. Make sure to document the services rendered.
Chiropractors: If you’re submitting a claim for a chiropractic treatment, use the 7.SF.15 service code (Miscellaneous, brokerage service) and your treatment cost should be added to this line as well.
During the consultation.
- Stay engaged and maintain eye contact. If you need to take notes or check on something, explain to your patient what you’re doing.
- If you do need to speak to someone other than the patient, mute your microphone.
- If your patient has audio problems or difficulty hearing and has trouble understanding what you’re discussing, use the Live Chat feature to help clarify things. You can also send links for further information.
Preparing your patients for a successful virtual consultation.
For many patients, virtual consultations can be intimidating. You can help put them at ease by sharing tips via newsletters, your patient portal, your website or in your appointment confirmation emails. Download a document to share with your patients, to help them make the most out of virtual consultations.
As healthcare evolves, virtual consultations are likely here to stay. Clear communication and the right technology can help you and your patients embrace this new generation of care delivery.
If you’re looking for more information on how to use eClaims for virtual consultations, visit our Virtual Consultations Helpful Resources page.
Not using eClaims yet? Discover how eClaims, a free direct billing service, can help your practice and your patients’ experience with virtual consultations.