Maximizing CONVENIENCE for both patients and providers

Build a Sustainable Telehealth Program to Simplify Virtual Patient Visits

How to Develop a Telehealth Implementation Strategy

by | Oct 14, 2022

In 1879, the Lancet article made the prognosis that “modern” technology – the telephone – could be used to transform healthcare delivery and reduce unnecessary office visits. Looking back, that prediction was uncannily forward thinking.  

While telehealth, or telemedicine, is certainly not new, it has experienced explosive growth in more recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Other drivers of the demand for telehealth services include:  

  • Rising healthcare costs 
  • Lack of healthcare facilities in rural areas  
  • An ongoing shortage of healthcare workers 
  • Increase of government telehealth initiatives 
  • Drive for more convenience by healthcare consumerism 

As with any new technology, the key to implementing telemedicine successfully is an effective strategy. Education, training, and vendor selection are just a few considerations when developing your telemedicine project plan.  

Why Should My Practice Implement a Telehealth Strategy?  

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the benefits of telehealth are plentiful for both patients and healthcare providers. Advantages of telehealth include: 

  • Increased continuity of care  
  • Extended access to care beyond normal hours   
  • Reduced patient and provider travel burden   
  • Solutions for clinician shortages, especially among rural and other underserved populations 
  • Support for patients managing chronic health conditions   
  • Screenings for patients with symptoms of COVID-19 and refer to next steps as appropriate  
  • Remote patient monitoring for those who are vulnerable to COVID-19  
  • Helping to stop the spread of infectious diseases and improving public health 

Telehealth also can help improve a practice’s bottom line. According to the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), a primary care physician can typically see about 12 patients within a four-hour shift. However, with telehealth, physicians may be able to “see” 16 or more patients in that same timeframe – and still receive Medicare payments at the same rate as in-person visits. In addition, telehealth can expand your geographic practice area significantly. 

What Does My Practice Need to Implement a Telehealth System?  

When you have decided that telehealth is a good fit for your medical practice, the next step is to investigate your existing technology. If your Electronic Health Records (EHR) has a patient portal, you may discover untapped functionality for telemedicine process flow. If not, then you can start vetting potential telehealth technology partners. Identify features that your ideal vendor will offer, including: 

  • Built-in scheduling functionality 
  • Patient waiting room 
  • Full encryption 
  • Mobile friendliness 
  • Automated email and text reminders 

Other considerations for choosing a telehealth vendor include Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) compliance, contract length, and whether you will need to purchase additional equipment.  

Establish Your Goals for Telehealth 

After you have found a vendor that is the right fit for your practice, you can start setting goals for your telehealth practice. Some questions to consider when establishing your goals include: 

  • What problems do I hope to solve by offering telehealth? 
  • What percentage of my practice do I wish to devote to telehealth? 
  • What kind of telehealth services do I want to provide? 
  • How will I ensure that patients are satisfied with the telehealth services they are receiving? 

The last question is especially important for meeting your telehealth goals. Patient satisfaction is critical to the success of your telehealth program and should be your top goal. It helps to communicate openly with your patients and share your goals for providing them with more accessible and convenient healthcare without sacrificing quality.  

Your patients’ telehealth experience should feel as seamless as possible when compared to an in-office visit. Provide them with a step-by-step guide on what to expect at their first virtual visit and give them an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. 

To best serve all your patient population, it helps to plan for providing telehealth to patients living with visual or hearing impairments or for those with language barriers. Those patients will need the same support that they would during in-person visits, so it is important to ensure that caregivers know what to expect during visits as well.  

Gather Your Team 

Staff buy-in is essential for a successful telehealth implementation. Staff will need to understand the reasons you plan to implement telehealth and how it will benefit patients.  

Telehealth also has been shown to reduce burn-out. It helps to involve your staff from the very beginning and create a feedback loop so that they can be engaged in the process and collaborate with them when creating a telehealth implementation checklist.  

Your telehealth vendor should be part of the training process. Consider employing a third-party vendor for telehealth staff training. Experienced consultants can provide valuable insights into best practices training for telehealth implementation and use. They also can prepare staff by reviewing common telehealth issues and providing solutions to resolve them. 

As part of the training, appoint a super user who can be your in-house telehealth system expert and conduct future training. The individual also can help build trust and staff buy-in for the telehealth system.  

Practice makes perfect. Schedule several tests to simulate real telehealth appointments. These dry runs should include the full patient experience, from scheduling to the virtual waiting room, and any follow-ups.  

Maximize System Integrations 

According to, “Interoperability supports exchanging information across platforms, centralizing information, and supporting organizational initiatives to promote accessibility to health information for both patients and providers.” 

As part of the telehealth implementation training and testing process, interoperability is critical to have between all your current systems, with everything functioning correctly. A third-party expert consultant can assist practices when selecting appropriate telehealth technology and then assess the interoperability of telehealth modules in your practice EHR.  

Summary: How to Implement Telehealth 

Telehealth implementation is opening virtual doors to make healthcare more accessible to many populations, particularly those who live in rural areas or are immunocompromised. However, even for those who don’t face those obstacles, telehealth is a convenient and effective option for care.  

For providers, telehealth presents cost-effective opportunities to expand their practice and better service their patients. As healthcare consumerism continues to shape patient expectations and transform the landscape, conveniences such as telehealth will be crucial to compete for new patients. 

Medical Advantage Can Help 

Medical Advantage telehealth consultants will help you create, and execute, a successful telehealth strategy. Our services include: 

  • Technology selection and setup 
  • Telehealth staff training 
  • Office staff engagement 
  • Scheduling optimization 
  • Promotion to patients 
  • Billing and coding advice 

Contact us to get started on your telehealth strategy today! 

Speak with a Telehealth Expert today.

Maximizing CONVENIENCE for both patients and providers

Build a Sustainable Telehealth Program to Simplify Virtual Patient Visits

Medical Advantage - TDC Group