In our various discussions centered on telehealth, we’ve covered a wide range of issues, from how to implement telehealth in the hospital, the system components involved in a telehealth app, and how to plan the development of a telehealth service.
What we haven’t yet delved into are the individual job positions on a telehealth implementation team.
What staff do you need when establishing a telemedicine company, including any specialized positions?
What positions will you need on an ongoing basis to ensure your business runs successfully?
The Technical / Telehealth Implementation Team
There are several key roles required for a telehealth program to be successful.
To begin, you will need a technical team that will oversee and manage the technical aspects of your solution.
Program Leader / Telehealth Champion
Every telemedicine company needs a program leader. This role is often referred to as the Telehealth Champion.
This individual should have a thorough understanding of the telemedicine space, including its front-facing, customer service aspects as well as its technical ones.
As with any project manager, your project leader should also have excellent people skills that allow them to lead your team fairly and credibly.
As the second in command, your Program Manager will take care of the ongoing management of daily logistics related to your telehealth solution.
This person not only keeps things on schedule, but also gathers the data you need to help your program grow and improve. As with the Program Leader, technical knowledge is essential.
Implementing a new solution at any company involves extensive training and education. An Education Manager serves as the supervisor for all these efforts.
Not everyone at your organization is going to be a technical expert or even familiar with modern software solutions; your Education Manager will be able to ensure that all stakeholders at your business have access to the training and information they need to complete their jobs successfully on a daily basis.
As with any advanced, modern solution, yours will likely include the use of multiple devices, both within your organization and in the hands of your patients, in some scenarios.
You will need a Device Manager to stay in charge of your entire network of devices, ensuring that they are deployed, installed and reinstalled as needed.
Since this person interacts with end users, they will also need interpersonal skills in addition to their technical knowledge about devices.
The role of installers in a telehealth company is an interesting one because it often requires medical knowledge. Chances are your installers may be registered nurses or other staff medical personnel.
This is because the devices you employ in your telehealth business may involve taking vital signs or tracking bodily functions.
While this will depend on the design of your solution, keep in mind that your already highly trained medical staff may need to undertake these roles as well.
Finally, you will want to have a medical professional on staff who can engage with and evaluate your telehealth candidates.
This individual will enroll patients, verify orders, confirm patient consent, and help with device management and dispersal.
Individuals in this position often interact with installers and nurses on a regular basis.
The Telehealth Medical Team
You will also need a team of medical professionals who will focus on the patient care and therapy aspects of your telehealth solution. How many of each of these positions you will have depends on the scale and scope of your company and solution.
This individual should be a physician; in some cases, a PA or RN might suffice. This person conducts the online visits and administers basic care via your telehealth solution.
This individual needs medical knowledge, of course, but also needs to understand how to ethically apply that medical knowledge in a telehealth space.
- Knowing what care can be done virtually
- Making correct recommendations when in-person care is needed
- Conducting follow-up visits
Your telehealth provider also needs to handle some logistics related to appointments, including:
- Documentation / EMR
- Basic Scheduling
Your Care Manager serves as an essential, first point of contact with your patients. It is also one of many telehealth nurse roles on a team.
Think of this individual as the person performing virtual ‘triage.’ They will ascertain who qualifies for telemedicine based on their conditions and symptoms. They will also effectively inform patients as to what their options are. Finally, this person needs to coordinate with the Telehealth Provider to monitor and arrange virtual visits.
Patient Care Tech (PCT)
Your PCT works in support of your Care Manager, who in turn works in support of the Telehealth Provider.
Your PCT troubleshoots any patient concerns, for one, that may come up before, during or after a telemedicine appointment.
A PCT will also help clarify visit expectations for patients. This is typically done in partnership with the Care Manager.
One significant virtue of telehealth is the ease with which patients can set appointments virtually and via your app.
You will, however, still need someone to oversee the scheduling process and troubleshoot when problems occur. That is where telehealth support roles like this come in.
This individual adheres to all protocols related to scheduling telehealth visits and ensures that the patient understands their financial obligations in advance of an appointment. This person may also coordinate medical insurance, as needed.
Telehealth is the future of medicine, and it is sure to continue transforming all aspects of healthcare. As you continue to explore your telehealth options, get in touch with development and software experts who can walk you through all the details on how to build your team, develop your solution, and thrive in this important health care space.