When many chiropractors are asked about telehealth, they often can throw up their hands; chiropractic care is hands-on, so telehealth is not for me or our clinic. While telehealth can mean different things depending on who you talk to, the Mayo Clinic puts it nicely, “Telehealth is the use of digital information and communication technologies to access health care services remotely and manage your health care.” And while there are actual remote direct patient care services that a chiropractor can do remotely, patients and chiropractors alike will always prefer and demand direct contact with the patient. With that, telehealth is so much more than virtual visits, and if your clinic is not utilizing some form of telehealth, you are already falling behind.
Telehealth and the Patient Portal
One of the most popular uses of technology to communicate with your patients is an online Patient Portal. Patient Portals have been shown to increase patient engagement, and dedication, to their clinic and their overall treatment plan. While patient portals offer countless possibilities, some of the most popular uses of the portal are:
- Ability to communicate directly with your care provider – Patients now expect to be able to get messages directly to their providers. This ability gives the patient the comfort and confidence that they are important and heard.
- Appointment management – Giving your patients the ability to create or cancel appointments online is a fantastic way to engage the patient as well as alleviate some of the incoming phone calls. This feature also allows the patient to view their appointment times, reducing the risk of missed appointments.
- Check-In online – Some patient portal options allow patients to do a pre-check-in online. This is a helpful tool for staff, but also to prompt the patient to be sure they have all the necessary information you will need.
- Text options – Text messages are the hottest trend in reaching your patients for appointment reminders and confirmations. This will absolutely reduce missed appointments.
- Refill prescriptions – Your patients can send in refill requests for any prescriptions with ease.
- Bill paying – Many software options offer a “soft” reminder on their portal software for unpaid balances, oftentimes this reminder is the first thing the patient sees when they login. Online payment is necessary for your clinic’s success in collections.
- Receiving test results – Patients can quickly and easily review test results, and doctors and/or staff can add valuable information to those results, so they are not misunderstood.
- Complete forms – Keep patient information up to date by allowing them to fill out forms directly in your portal for health information, medications, etc.
- Referral requests – If you work at all with referrals, the patient can request a referral without calling in.
Telehealth and the Virtual Visit
It is hard to imagine virtual visits with chiropractic care since it is a hands-on type of treatment. Virtual visits are now a permanent part of the healthcare model and a viable way to provide treatment to your patients.
A few virtual visit ideas:
- Nutrition coaching
- Stress management
- Sleep coaching
- Ergonomic best practices
- Exercise – physical therapy exercises
- Life or sleep coaching
- Organic pain relief
Telehealth is truly something all chiropractors and clinics should look at to stay in touch with their patients and stay in step with their peers. You can implement all the suggestions here, or cherry pick what would work best for your clinic. Staying in touch with your patients through telehealth is a terrific way to create a well curated journey for your patients.
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