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Three Ways Liaisons Can Help Physicians Adopt Telehealth in the COVID-19 Crisis

Three Ways Liaisons Can Help Physicians Adopt Telehealth in the COVID-19 Crisis

Welcome to our guest author, who is sharing practical ways liaisons can help physicians adopt telehealth now and for the future. As a former Tiller-Hewitt Trained physician liaison and  Liaison Legacy Super Star, Deborah’s relationship with the team goes back more than five years. When Tiller-Hewitt HealthCare Strategies launched Affinity Medical Center’s program, our Regional Manager Kim Grant provided liaison training.  The Tiller-Hewitt HealthCare team has successfully executed strategic growth programs at both Affinity and Dayton Children’s, where Deborah now serves as Service Line Marketing Director. She has frequently appeared at regional and national forums on using new channels to engage physicians. We salute Deb for seeing and acting on “what’s next” in healthcare.

The telehealth genie is out of the bottle, and there’s no going back. In the midst of this pandemic, our team at Dayton Children’s Hospital is hyper-focused on making sure that our referring physicians, as well as our own specialists (employed or independent), are engaged and have a comfort level with video visits.

Why? Because this is how we can best serve our patients and mitigate against losses. With so many patients now experiencing telemedicine by necessity, doing it right means we get properly reimbursed in the short term and adopt best practices to meet the continuing demand for telehealth in the long term.

As time moves forward, and we begin to come out from under this cloud, we need to be poised for success in the virtual visit world. We all need to continue to ramp up so when we get the ‘all clear’ we will be already on our way. The ones in the lead will benefit when the dominos begin to fall. And they will fall.

Here are three things to do now so you are positioned for the future:

Support Community Physicians

First and foremost, we want to partner with and support our community physicians in every way that we can. Many of them are still independent and don’t have the resources offered by a big system. So, we’ve taken the time and pulled together power point presentations, webinars and phone calls to share all that we are doing as a system to help them thrive in this new world. There is good news for practices of any size that haven’t adopted a telehealth platform yet. Apps like Zoom and are free and user-friendly.

You may be aware that telephone calls and virtual visits are being reimbursed the same as in-person visits. Acceptable platforms are Facebook instant message and Skype, but not TikTok or Facbeook Live. (Leave those for your friends!)  I can tell you that children, parents and caregivers love the convenience, and anxiety-reducing benefits of these first-time video calls.

Listen to Problems to Provide the Right Solution

We are working to hear and understand the voice of our specialists when conducting these video calls. This applies to physicians and advance practice providers alike. Our team is conducting weekly virtual calls with each service-line group to support them. On these virtual TEAMS calls, we also learn about barriers to adoption. We want to hear about everything, from technology issues to patients who are multi-tasking (unloading the dishwasher) while trying to talk with the doctor. We can work behind the scenes to help create a successful encounter if we know the issues.

As a physician liaison, you could offer to document some patient stories for your tech-savvy doctors. Who knows? They are likely to appreciate your interest in helping them succeed. Just be creative and ask, or you’ll never know when you could have hit a home run.

Share Information Across Your System

Another result of this collaboration is that we are mining great patient success stories that we can repurpose in a variety of ways. These real-life experiences help us learn more about our patients’ needs. We can use this information to enhance our web pages and create a great online experience for our consumers.

We are aggregating all this physician feedback in one place and sharing it across our system. Now more than ever, we need to learn from each other and build momentum as we try to serve our patients in meaningful ways and assure physician satisfaction at the same time.

Please feel free to view and share this video on telehealth that Tiller-Hewitt HealthCare Strategies helped me create as a contribution to their Friday from the Field video series. And, also contact me or reach out to Tammy Tiller-Hewitt to talk more about the resources that providers need and liaisons can provide to show value.

Check out the New COVID-19 Relaunch and Recovery Resource Center

Tiller-Hewitt HealthCare Strategies launched a new web page dedicated to delivering resources that will assist your organization’s post COVID-19 volume recovery efforts. Check it out!

Deborah Scheetz Deborah Scheetz, MSc, is an experienced healthcare marketer, liaison, communications specialist and sales professional. As Service Line Marketing Director of Dayton Children’s, she works closely with the senior leadership and other directors in developing strategies and plans for growth and improved market position of the hospital’s core services. Previously, she was Director of Professional Outreach and Physician Relations at Affinity Medical Center.

Deborah earned her Master’s Degree in Health Communication from Boston University – Metropolitan College, and Bachelor of Science in Business Management/Marketing from The University of Akron.