Some patients may approach virtual visits with caution and may choose to stick to in-person visits even if telemedicine visits are available. Some types of patients like going to the doctor—it’s a break from work, they like spending some time with their provider and with medical staff, and travel time is not a big issue. Luckily, most of the patients who are cautious about or uninterested in telemedicine will simply not choose a telemedicine visit if given a choice between an in-person and a virtual visit. These types of patients will self-select themselves out of being users of this technology.
One thing to be aware of is that even those patients who choose to use telemedicine may not completely be satisfied with their virtual visits if providers and medical staff are not versed in effectively using telemedicine software. Here are a few guidelines to prevent this from happening:
- Don’t ignore patient virtual visits that need attention—try to review all virtual visits within 24 hours of being submitted.
- Provide the patient with adequate and clearly written information regarding their diagnosis and treatment plan.
- Make sure to request an in-person follow-up visit for those patients you feel cannot be adequately assessed and treated online.
- Always inform patients that they have the right to an in-person visit when one is preferred.
- Here is one more point to keep in mind. It’s important to differentiate between patient satisfaction with telemedicine and patient satisfaction with their treatment plan. Sometimes patients are happy with store-and-forward telemedicine but dissatisfied with their treatment plan.