How hospitals, health systems can virtualize their waiting rooms for telehealth visits

As hospitals and health systems navigate widespread telehealth use in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, transforming traditional in-person processes, such as patient intake, are the natural next steps along the patient care journey.

The failure to capture patient intake information and consent for telehealth can affect productivity and the revenue cycle.

During a June 1 webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by Interlace Health, industry experts discussed improving the patient intake process in relation to virtual care delivery as healthcare increasingly moves toward a more telehealth-based care delivery model.

The speakers were:

  • Theresa Moss, solution marketing manager at Interlace Health
  • Ann Hill, solution architect at Interlace Health

Five takeaways from the webinar:

1. Revise patient intake procedures. While the COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily removed telehealth barriers such as insurance coverage and state licensing requirements, it has highlighted the need to transform the patient intake process.

"The days of handing every patient a pen and clipboard are behind us for a while," said Ms. Moss. "The process doesn't fit with a telehealth visit for obvious reasons, but it's not even a good fit for an in-person visit anymore. Both patients and staff are concerned about the potential for infection that passing items back and forth or having prolonged face-to-face conversations pose."

2. Navigate EHR challenges to electronic patient intake forms. Many hospitals and health systems require patients to fill out specialized forms prior to their visit to help providers understand their situation and get documentation in order. However, deploying these forms through an EHR portal can be challenging because it often offers fewer options around form customization and features separate texting vendors and payment processors, according to Ms. Moss.

3. Make patient intake mobile. Interlace Health's remote patient intake solution works with the EHR system and converts the intake process into a mobile-friendly platform. Providers can use the solution to send intake steps to patients to complete on their computer or mobile device, and it supports payment processing and onboarding new patients.

4. Use readily available digital tools. To streamline the payment process for patients and the hospital's back-end operations, Interlace Health's solution allows patients to use the camera on their mobile device to directly upload digital images of their driver's license, insurance cards and prescription labels on medication bottles. The digital image is then attached to the document when it is submitted to the hospital staff.

5. Customize administrative dashboards for back-end operations. Interlace Health offers hospital and health system partners access to customizable administrative dashboards, which can be configured to the needs of the user, Ms. Hill said. For example, patients can be sorted by categories of location, reason for visit or modality, and employees can check matters such as scheduled appointments and whether patients have completed forms.

To view the full presentation, click here.

More articles on telehealth:
3 states move to make telehealth coverage permanent
Anthem Blue Cross of California uses telehealth to expand access: 4 details
How to address telehealth pay gaps once COVID-19 state emergency orders end

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