Getting Started In Telemedicine and Be Successful

Just like entering into any new field, changing from in office care to telemedicine is a big step and a big commitment that will require some learning, and flexibility on your part. Obviously to become a healthcare worker in the telemedicine field you must first be trained, registered, and licensed to work as a doctor in your country and state of practice. There are laws and regulations put in place specifically to safeguard patients against fraudulent activity, so having your credentials available is important to your new business. There are a few things that you’ve got to know and understand before you step into this new and exciting online world, and although it’s a lot to take in, the due diligence will make all of the difference in the future.

Know Your Market

First and foremost you’ve got to know your market by gaging interest in your community and state, as well as taking note of any colleagues who might be interested in the same thing. Speak to other representatives of the telemedicine industry, and find out if this is something that will fit your lifestyle and make you happy. You need to think about things like cash flow and reimbursement for your services; since you’ll be treating patients from a long distance standpoint over the internet, it’s usually standard to charge less than you would for a patient who would be coming into your office to see you. You can speak to current patients and see how they feel about the change and if it would be of interest to them to make the switch or if you’d be losing business by moving your clinic to an online setting.

Choosing A Practice Type

After you’ve gotten the research portion of the change out of the way you can choose how you’d like to run your practice because there are plenty of options in this industry and far less limitations than in a clinical setting. If you choose to stay in your office you can work part time as a consultant or simply answering emails of individuals with medical questions, or you can sort out a period of time during your regular work day where you can meet face to face with patients through online video messaging services to diagnose and assist in medical issues that require help. Globalmed.com asks: “In your office or clinic? Will you want the ability to connect to the system from your home and videoconference from there? These are all important considerations to understand at the beginning.”

If you choose to work part time with telemedicine and part time in office you don’t have to worry about losing any of your patient base aside from the few who might prefer speaking to you from the comfort of their own home. This might actually be more convenient and highly efficient for people you treat who have a long commute to see you. Obviously, if you choose to run your practice this way then it’s important to see even online patients in person from time to time because not everything can be tested and diagnosed through a computer screen.

Having The Right Equipment

Once you’ve got your office set up, and you know what you’re doing in the telemedicine field you need to think about what equipment you’re going to need aside from a laptop or computer and a large monitor. In order to properly diagnose your patients you’ll need to see them and hear them clearly, and you may also need certain documentation and physical equipment to aid you in your medical endeavors. Alex Nixon of Tribelive.com writes: “Nonverbal cues can be very important in accurately diagnosing patients, said Dr. Bruce MacLeod, president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, a Harrisburg-based advocacy group for physicians across the state.”

Knowing what you’ll need, how much it will cost, and what updates need to be made if you’re no longer working out of a hospital or private practice is all information that needs to be sorted out before making the change. This can save you from mistakenly wasting money in less important areas or by making the mistake of committing to something that you’re not quite ready for. Telemedicine is a serious matter, and it should be treated with the same amount of respect and accountability that you lend to any other medical job you take on. You also need to check the certifications of whatever equipment you decide to use because even if you base this online practice out of your home it must be designed as medical electrical equipment and be up to code and product standards used throughout the country. It helps to know the quality policy of the manufacturer that you buy through.

Telemedicine isn’t for everybody, so doing your research is going to be one of the most important steps in making the change, because it’s a completely different environment and system than the one that you’ve likely gotten used to. That being said, there’s no reason why you couldn’t test the waters and see how you enjoy them before deciding long term what you’d like to do with your training and patient load. Be honest and open with the people that you treat about what you’re thinking about doing and why, and loyal patients will stick by your side and help you ease into your new role much more efficiently than starting over with an entirely new group of people will.

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