One of the fastest-growing areas of modern medicine, telemedicine particularly came to the fore during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
With many doctors and institutions scrambling to amp up their resources in this area, new attention was being paid to the immediate benefits – for both patients and doctors – that telemedicine offers.
Yet it is very different from traditional practice.
This article will outline how to start your own telemedicine practice but, first, let’s begin with regulatory and logistical concerns you will need to address.
Know the Law
As with traditional practice, you need to know the laws regarding telemedicine in your state. This information can be obtained from the American Telemedical Association as well as your state medical board.
Know Your Tech
The backbone of your operation, you want to align your tech with your telemedicine practice’s projected needs, your clientele, and any associated federal and state health regulations.
The Steps to Starting Your Own Telemedicine Practice
Determine your area of service. Look for noticeable market needs or identify a new trend within your expertise.
Develop a dedicated staff for your telemedicine team. This includes policies, procedures, and even potential hiring for telemedicine nurse practitioners down the road.
What are your concrete goals and objectives with this endeavor? This needs to be quantifiable but not just in terms of revenue. Make sure to establish a system that tracks and analyzes all relevant metrics.
Research vendors and look for industry standards in this area. Find out what others are using and what their experiences are. Try to make lists of pros and cons for each vendor in addition to traditional metrics like cost and contracting requirements.
At every stage in the development process and after, you will want to make sure to take your team’s temperature to see how everyone is doing. This kind of process will help you head off potential problems but also empower your team to take responsibility for the direction of the work you are all undertaking together.
At this stage you will want to begin formally contracting services that will enable your telemedicine practice to thrive.
Establish procedures and efficient workflows with an eye towards receiving employee feedback and instituting a continuous improvement process.
Case Team Formation
Define roles and deliver clear, obtainable objectives for your case teams. Start with your best team members. Also, be sure to take advantage of the many training resources available online for preparing them for the different pace of telemedicine.
Evaluation and Analysis
Performance metrics and how you will analyze progress is a process of trial-and-error in the beginning but something that should become increasingly standardized as you progress in your practice. You need to fine these metrics over time but you also want to make the process as transparent and team-friendly as possible.
Scale As Demand Grows
This is where your vendor relationships, team-building, and metric analysis comes into play. You will want to have a process that scales appropriately.