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The ART of Telehealth

Updated: Jan 7

by Birgitta Bella PA-C

Shoona, LLC

Did you know that there is an actual “ART” to doing Telehealth?

Well, believe it or not, there is!

Read on to see why you should know all about it, and why it’s so very important in the world of healthcare today.

Telehealth is the proverbial “New Kid on the Block.” You know, the one with the cool bike who everyone wants to hang out with.

Telehealth has been lurking in the shadows of healthcare for decades, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, it swooped into action wearing the “Super-Hero” cape.

Telehealth came to the rescue when clinics and hospitals needed a way to connect with patients who were afraid to come in, or were told to stay home, and it “saved the day!”

More aptly, it allowed healthcare workers to deliver necessary care virtually to home-bound patients that needed it.

In just two short years, telehealth has shifted the paradigm of healthcare in an unforeseeable way.

Telehealth services are rapidly establishing themselves as an integral part of healthcare, and patients as well as practitioners, are equally enamored with its seemingly endless possibilities.

Telehealth (specifically tech-neutral asynchronous telehealth), has removed many barriers to healthcare that previously seemed insurmountable, such as:

  • Geographic

  • Socio-economic

  • Cultural

  • Technological

In addition, Telehealth makes it possible to literally receive healthcare almost anywhere, anytime.

However, the question we need to ask is one of CONNECTION.

In current times, we are about as “connected” as I can imagine we will ever be.

We are connected wirelessly, connected by smartphones, Ipads, and endless apps that allow us to share moments of our lives in more ways than past generations ever saw coming.

The question though is “Are we truly CONNECTED?” Are we actually FEELING connected?

Are patients feeling HEARD and SEEN in the age of telehealth, or did practitioners just move from “treating a chart” to “treating a screen?”

As an expert telehealth provider for over 5 years, I know the biggest issue we are faced with in 2022 is this:

How do we treat a patient virtually, and still connect with them on a deep enough emotional level to be sure we are eliciting a sufficiently complete picture of their health concerns in order to treat them effectively, while also ensuring successful patient follow through?

The ANSWER is what we at The Telegroup like to call “The ART of Telehealth.”

The “Art of Telehealth” refers to skills that healthcare practitioners can, and should acquire much like any other clinical skill.

These skills include:

  • Effective verbal and written communication, such as asking (and re-asking!) questions in a way that allows us to see the full clinical picture.

  • The skill of instructing the patient in helping us perform a physical exam without being able to physically touch (or see) the patient.

  • The ability to virtually connect to a patient in a meaningful way that builds trust and encourages permanent, healthy lifestyle changes.

As Jean Baptiste Girard said, "By words we learn thoughts, and by thoughts we learn life.

We can learn about the patient’s life (their health concerns), by:

  • Asking about their thoughts (symptoms)

  • Choosing our words wisely

  • Giving very clear instructions and advice

  • Using our clinical experience to discern the nuances that guide treatment options

Telehealth may have been the “Super-Hero” that saved the Healthcare Industry during the pandemic, but now providers need to become the artists that excel at COMMUNICATION, in order to build a virtual CONNECTION that drives follow through, and the most optimal health outcomes.

Are you ready to become the best provider you can possibly be through learning and implementing the “Art of Telehealth”?

If so, be sure to check out The Telegroup Platform and all of the educational resources on our site now!

Also, be sure to follow our Blog to stay up to date on all the latest information, and follow us on Instagram @shoonahealth.

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