The stats are in, and they all point to virtual care. You may be surprised to learn 78 percent of patients say they want to receive virtual health services. It’s easy to see why; a Conference Board of Canada study found that Canadians could have collectively saved 70 million hours of time in one year if they had been able to check in with their doctor virtually instead of in person. Patients who have given virtual care a try seem satisfied with the quality. In fact, a study by Canada Health Infoway found that 91 percent of patients felt their concern was addressed, and 87 percent avoided missing work, thanks to virtual care.
Despite the numerous benefits, it can still be difficult to encourage patients and staff to embrace a new virtual care program. Here are five of the biggest concerns users have with virtual care and how to overcome them using these tips and health giveaways.
- Staff is worried about learning new technology.
When employers introduce a significant change to workflow, such as virtual care, staff members are often nervous about training. In fact, almost 75 percent of employees say lack of training is the biggest challenge they face in reaching their full potential. Calm their nerves with proper training from the start. In addition to handbooks and manuals, hold a few hours of hands-on practice where they can be introduced to the software and have a chance to get familiar with it. Provide health giveaways, such as a water bottle or stress reliever, to thank staff for their efforts.
- Patients won’t take the time to register.
Despite their desire for virtual care, patients may procrastinate when it comes to creating accounts and registering on a new platform. Whether they think it will take too long to sign up or they forget to, a valuable fitness promotional item can be just the motivation they need to register. After signing up, send patients a pedometer or yoga mat as a thank you.
- Staff and patients are apprehensive about personal information online.
Cybersecurity is a huge concern when sending medical and personal information. In a poll, 33 percent of primary care physicians were worried about the privacy of patient information online. To assure both staff and patients, make sure the software you choose for virtual care has a good reputation and security safeguards in place. Then, share that information with your team and patients.
- Patients think the quality of care would suffer.
Patients may be concerned the quality of virtual care would be lower than in-person care. Show them the level of care would not change by sharing how online appointments are similar to in-person visits. Printable emails or paper handouts are a visual way to highlight these points. Encourage patients to get healthier by providing them with fitness promotional items they can use at home. Exercise promotional items, such as a band set, are great tools for their home workout routine.
- Patients fear a loss of personal connection.
Patients also express concern that digital care may feel impersonal. To show them this isn’t the case, introduce the idea of virtual care at an in-person office visit. Explain, step-by-step, how you would perform a virtual exam. Also, explain how your staff would collect vital stats. Finally, during their first virtual-care experience, mention specific details about their life and health recorded from previous visits. When patients feel remembered, the virtual care appointments will feel more personal.
Move patients and staff toward virtual care
No matter their concerns, you’ll be able to encourage patients and staff to embrace virtual care with these tips and health giveaways. With your successful virtual-care program, patients and staff will notice the results.