Getting timely access to healthcare services has never been easy. The pandemic like coronavirus outbreak is making it even worse.
Because of many obvious reasons, you must be nowadays avoiding visiting hospitals for primary care or regular health checkup.
One factor fueling your choice to not visit a hospital or clinic is the instant availability of doctors through virtual care solutions or telemedicine apps.
According to the survey carried out in Canada, more than 67% of patients agreed to the fact that the use of telemedicine apps dramatically increases people’s satisfaction with medical care.
However, there are multiple telemedicine platforms with different offerings and pricing models available for patients to get remote healthcare access. Large availability always makes ‘perfect selection’ difficult, at least for first-time users.
So, considering your need to select the best telemedicine program, I will list down points to take into consideration while choosing and using a telemedicine program. This will facilitate you to get everything out of the app and virtual visits with doctors.
So, without any due, let’s get started.
5 steps to select the best telemedicine program and get the most out of the virtual visits with doctors
Select the type of telemedicine program
There are two major types of telemedicine programs.
- A Hospital-Run Telemedicine Program
- A Healthcare Company or Startup-Run Telemedicine Program
You might ask, how does it affect my telemedicine journey?
Well, both of these programs have different pricing models, different doctors, different app features and different post-treatment experiences.
For instance, the hospital-run telemedicine program generally costs you below $50 per visit if you’re not covered under any health plan. Whereas, the majority of the startup-run telemedicine programs cost you somewhere between $60-$80 per visit.
However, considering the convenience and outcome a startup offers, patients generally prefer to select it over hospital-run telemedicine programs.
For convenience, virtual care startups even deliver medications to the doorstep of the patients after a virtual visit with the doctor.
The telehealth apps of the startups are also more user friendly and easy to use than the virtual visit medium the hospitals provide.
Thus, let me assume you are going to select a startup-run telemedicine program like all others.
Select the most suitable telemedicine app – here’s how!
This is the most crucial step. Once you decide to go for a startup-run telemedicine program, you need to select the telemedicine app.
There are a lot of options available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store and ironically, that’s the problem.
There are a few apps which may not provide online healthcare service in your location. Few others may not be able to treat your health condition. And few others only provide premium services.
So, how to select the most suitable telemedicine app?
Well, first of all, you need to research well. You need to have a list of top virtual care providing apps in your city or country. You also need to have the idea of which kind of healthcare condition they can treat.
For example, if you are looking for a mental healthcare service, not all telemedicine apps are providing this service. Thus, you need to find a specific app.
You also need to take virtual visit fees into account. If you are a casual user, you can pay per visit. But if you are a parent and need healthcare services often, you can choose the subscription plan. Meaning, you need to select an app based on your usage.
Enter all right information while on boarding
Once you select the app, install it and open it for the first time, the app asks you several questions. Giving answers to these questions might seem frustrating, but it helps the app to offer you personalized user experience.
The questions usually revolve around your personal information, payment information, health card information and most importantly your current health condition information.
Based on the given health condition information, the app gets to know the type of doctor you would require. The app also allows you to manually select the type of doctor.
A few telehealth apps are equipped with AI-enabled symptom checker features. Using this feature, you can diagnose yourself by just entering your symptoms.
Understand telemedicine app features comprehensively
If there isn’t an emergency or need for urgent care, it is worth spending some time to understand the features of the app. It will help you to get the experience similar to in-house meetings with doctors.
For instance, the majority of the telehealth apps allow patients to ask for medical notes and allow doctors to write e-medical-notes. Knowing the availability of such features enhances your virtual care experience.
Furthermore, a few apps let you get virtual care from the same doctor every time. This feature can redefine your virtual care experience as for many patients, it is a major concern to meet new doctors in every new virtual meeting.
Make sure to not leave anything behind… especially, medications!
Startup-run telemedicine programs are more than you think. It leverages the fusion of technology and human intelligence to completely revolutionize your healthcare experience and outcome.
Unfortunately, many patients fail to discover the true potential of telemedicine apps. As soon as the call between patients and the doctors ends, patients close the app. Instead, they need to complete some important after-call tasks. These tasks include,
- Ensure whether you are charged or not and if yes, how much they charge you (This is important because many telemedicine apps charge you based on the call minutes or duration)
- Read the comments if the doctor has made any during the call
- Select the nearest pharmacy along with prescription pick up option or home delivery option
- Give feedback to the doctor and rate the app to help other patients
Last but not least, there are some best practices which you are advised to follow before and during the video call with the doctor to avoid making virtual visits awful.
The pandemic has been affecting almost all industries and altering customer behaviours drastically. Whether it is food, grocery, entertainment or even healthcare, people prefer to get it without stepping out of the house.
Telemedicine apps have great use when it comes to accessing healthcare services rapidly and remotely. Because of safety, affordability and convenience, many people have already adopted virtual care solutions. However, many are still planning.
This blog has been written for all of those who are already using telemedicine platforms and those who are still planning to use one. This blog will help you to not only select the platform wisely but also get most out of virtual visits with doctors.
After all, the way to live with technology and leverage it is more important than the technology itself.