As a member of the administrative team, you’re often one of, if not the, first point of contact for new and existing clients.
When implementing a virtual care program, knowing how to best incorporate virtual care into your practice means that you will play an important role in ensuring clients are not only ready to get started, but comfortable with the technology.
Below, we’ve put together some best practices and other information to keep in mind when speaking to clients about getting started. Plus, read on to learn more about who is best suited for virtual care!
- Know what information is required. When you speak with a client to schedule a virtual care visit, be sure to collect all the relevant information. Besides agreeing on a date and time, you will need the client’s preferred e-mail address to get started.
- Let the client know what to expect. For example, when using OnCall Health it’s important to let clients know to expect an e-mail invitation once their appointment has been scheduled. Clients will be prompted through several steps designed to prepare them for the upcoming appointment including testing their webcam and microphone, and (if specified) securely providing their payment information. When a client knows what to expect there’s a much better chance of them setting themselves up properly, and in a timely manner.
- Give advance notice. When possible, schedule the appointment at least 24 hours in advance. This provides the client plenty of time to familiarize themselves with this new process and get in touch with any questions. Keep in mind, this technology may be new to some clients! Avoid stress at the time of the appointment by allowing them time to explore. Besides scheduling in advance, let the clients know it’s best to log into their account the first time at their earliest convenience. There may be some advance set up required so setting aside 5–10 minutes the day before the appointment can help things run more smoothly at appointment time.
- Provide additional support resources. Clients may have questions between the appointment being scheduled and when it actually takes place. When partnering with a virtual care platform, be sure that they offer support not only for the administrative and clinical teams in your organization, but for your clients as well. Have the support team’s contact information handy and let clients know where they can go for answers or troubleshooting. A tool like OnCall Health should also have a self-guided online support forum for clients who prefer to look for solutions (at least initially) on their own.
- Follow up for feedback. After a client’s first virtual care visit, it’s important to follow up and see how it went. If all is well, has the next appointment been scheduled? If there were difficulties, has the client contacted the support team for assistance? Being proactive in speaking with clients helps ensure that the process is as smooth as possible, with any difficulties being solved sooner rather than later.
- Once completed, confirm that the next appointment has been scheduled. Typically, organizations maintain the same process for scheduling follow up virtual care appointments as they would for in person appointments. If it’s up to the healthcare provider, ensure they’ve settled on a date and time, and scheduled the appointment in the virtual care platform. If it’s up to you, be sure to do the same!
So who is best suited?
There are always going to be clients better suited to virtual care than others, and it’s important to identify these clients and set their expectations for success. For example, clients who travel long distances to your office (especially those travelling in slippery and snowy winter conditions!) may be interested in saving travel time and costs by seeing their healthcare provider from the comfort of their home.
Similarly, clients who frequently call to cancel or reschedule appointments due to busy schedules, travel, childcare responsibilities, etc. may benefit from the flexibility of completing their appointment from anywhere.
These are just a few examples of clients who may be interested in learning more about your virtual care program. Letting these clients know that you’re offering a secure platform for online appointments is a great place to start! We’ve found posters/flyers around the office, adding information to your website, and even e-mail updates are a great way to get started.