Common Misconceptions About Working in Telemedicine
The facts behind some prominent virtual care myths
Telemedicine has been around since as early as the 1950’s. However, it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic that telemedicine really started to take off. This exponential pandemic growth and the numerous advantages of telemedicine have made it an attractive career option for healthcare professionals.
However, there are still some misconceptions floating around about telemedicine work that may cause some hesitation among health professionals—we’re here to set it straight. Below are common misconceptions about working in telemedicine and the truth behind them.
1. Telemedicine is just a COVID fad and won’t last long.
A common misconception about telemedicine is its prevalence in a post-COVID world. You’ve probably heard it said that telehealth and telemedicine will disappear once everything is “back-to-normal”. However, telemedicine has seen continued exponential growth since the beginning of the pandemic and offers numerous benefits, making telemedicine a desirable long-term healthcare option for companies, providers and patients.
Patients are satisfied with virtual care
According to a study done by Jones Lang Salle in 2022, 76% of the patients who have received virtual care in the past want to continue using it moving forward. So, there is certainly a market for virtual healthcare and it’s likely to continue to grow, especially among the younger generations. Millennials and Gen Z often have the highest levels of dissatisfaction with traditional healthcare systems. And since they’re considered digital natives, they’re more likely to want to receive their healthcare virtually.
In addition to the growing market among younger generations, hybrid initiatives like ‘virtual-first care’ are creating even more potential for telemedicine to be a staple within the healthcare industry.
The virtual-first approach utilizes virtual health visits prior to in-person patient care. Some of its benefits include improving patient access, outcomes and the overall care experience. Additionally, healthcare providers can benefit from adopting the virtual-first care model. This model can help reduce burnout, patient no-show rates, and save them time. Virtual first is creating a hybrid solution to some of the roadblocks presented by traditional healthcare. Once again confirming telemedicine’s place in the future of healthcare.
2. Telemedicine is just for urgent care and is limited in scope.
Urgent care is often the first method of care health systems adopt when they enter telemedicine. However, it is not limited to this. If you’re interested in telemedicine, there are many types of care you can provide beyond urgent. Some of these include, but are not limited to:
Recurring conditions like migraines or UTIs
The telehealth market is continuously growing and expanding too. Advances in technology such as remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices and digital imaging/diagnostics are helping telemedicine extend into new specialities and types of care.
3. Telemedicine is not secure.
Another misconception and concern surrounding both working in and receiving virtual care is security, especially when it comes to patient documentation and data. However, unless you are planning on freely transferring documents via instant message or hosting visits on Facebook Live, you don’t have to stress about finding a secure platform. If you're interested in practicing telemedicine, you can find many reliable technology vendors that offer highly secure, HIPAA compliant platforms and applications.
However, it’s still a good idea to practice strong cyber hygiene even when you are using reputable vendor platforms. Here are some quick tips on ensuring security and reducing the risk of malpractice:
Only use a secure wifi network or virtual private network (VPN)
Ensure all antivirus software, firewall and anti-malware settings are up to date on your computer
Never leave devices or screens unattended that contain PHI documents and do not save any PHI on shared or personal devices
Consider investing in a private cyber insurance policy
Educate your patients about healthcare cybersecurity to ensure they are also taking the necessary steps to keep the visit and documentation secure
4. Telemedicine isn’t cost effective.
With all that technology we just mentioned, you may be wondering “Is this affordable?”. The short answer is yes, telemedicine is extremely cost and time efficient.
Telemedicine allows you to see multiple patients back to back without having to leave your house. By filling your day with virtual visits and effectively using your time, there is a high chance you could significantly increase your annual income. Or maybe you practice telemedicine part-time to supplement your current income.
Additionally, by getting licensed in multiple states and practicing with multiple telehealth companies (as many do not have non compete clauses), you can substantially increase your client pool. The inherent flexibility of telemedicine allows you to maximize your time and income.
5. Physicians can’t prescribe medications via telemedicine.
Yes, telehealth doctors can prescribe medications and just like regular doctors, the proper licensing is required. For example, to prescribe controlled substances you need a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) License. However, each state has specific laws and requirements regarding which medications can be prescribed virtually without an in-person consultation or prior patient-provider relationship. So it is always good to keep up to date on current laws and regulations within the states you practice.
Telemedicine for clinicians
Hopefully we’ve cleared the air on some of these misconceptions. If you’re ready to start a career in telemedicine or expand your practice, we’d love to introduce you to OpenLoop.
OpenLoop thoughtfully pairs its clinicians with innovative healthcare organizations providing virtual and in-person care in all 50 states. Our easy-to-use, HIPAA compliant technology was designed with clinicians top-of-mind for seamless scheduling, efficient visits and note charting. With 6,000+ providers already in our clinician network, you can tap into the OpenLoop advantage too with:
Sync & async options
Dedicated provider support
Interested in expanding your reach as a provider? Apply to our clinician network!
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