Telehealth is an exciting new development in the nutritional counseling community, but how do you get started? If you have your own practice already where you meet clients for in-person sessions, Telehealth might seem like a difficult item to integrate into your existing practice. Today, we’re sharing a few tips on how to make integration run smoothly.
Make sure that your chosen method of communicating with clients virtually is HIPAA compliant.
Before taking the great Telehealth leap, make sure that your intended method of communication is HIPAA compliant. You want to ensure that your client’s private health information is kept secure. For this reason, it’s a great idea to look into Telehealth platforms (like Healthie!) that will already be HIPAA compliant. Popular Telehealth methods such as Facetime, Skype, text messages, and many more are not HIPAA compliant and could leave your client’s private health information vulnerable. You must create a BAA with the third-party communication service provider to require that they uphold HIPAA compliance within their own secure system.
Figure out the boundaries and full extent of the services you intend to offer via Telehealth.
Are you going to begin taking on virtual-only clients or will this inclusion of Telehealth at your practice act more as an added benefit for clients who meet you for in-person sessions. Telehealth can greatly expand where the clients you see are from. If you intend to start seeing out-of-state clients, first remember to check with the state licensure laws. Also consider what kinds of services will be transferable to a virtual practice. Many practices that we have seen will open up Telehealth options for follow up sessions after having had an in-person initial consultation. We have also seen practices begin to take on solely virtual clients in addition to their clients who come for in-person sessions.
Hold a Dry Run.
Figure out what instructions you need to give your client to show them how to hop on a video chat. Rehearse a Telehealth session from start to finish. A few major things to think about include:
- What is the step-by-step process to log into your video chat? Does anything need to be downloaded? What log-ins, if any, are required? Make it fool-proof.
- What will be required of your client during the session? If they are required to have any tools or equipment for your session, you likely should specify prior to the session.
- How will billing work for this session? Know ahead of time so you can prepare and communicate fully with your client about this at the appropriate time, before or after your session. (You should know, with Healthie, you can run messaging, HIPAA compliant video conferencing, and in-platform billing with the click of a button!)
Consider inviting clients you have a good, lasting relationship with to sign up for a Telehealth session. This way, you can see how the session is working with a client who is willing to help you with any of the first session awkwardness or technological hiccups you’ll find with any virtual video conferencing session. Once you’ve tried this a few times with a few different clients, you may feel ready to start offering Telehealth more broadly.
Once you’ve started, you can begin advertising and figuring out just where you would like Telehealth to fit into your practice. Like these tips and looking for more? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org!