Teleconsultation - Good practices and suggested workflow


Integrating teleconsultation into a clinic involves several changes from the usual appointment scheduling process. The following article aims to facilitate this change management for both your team and your patients and to suggest a process that has been tested by our project managers with our clients.

Good Practices

Triage of clientele when making appointments

It is recommended that a triage over the phone be done before booking a teleconsultation for a patient, as not all patients are suitable candidates for this type of appointment, either because of their lack of familiarity with the technology or because of inadequate equipment (e.g. computer without webcam).

Identify what types of follow-ups are relevant to teleconsultation

Teleconsultation offers a world of possibilities, that being said, the telephone appointment always has its place, so it is important to determine which activity is preferable according to the cases encountered. Teleconsultations do not always need video support, and the telephone is often sufficient depending on the consultation reason.

The practice appointment

When the patient seems uncomfortable with the technology or shows signs of concern about this type of consultation, we recommend that a practice appointment process be put in place.

This is an appointment that is given to the patient in addition to the doctor's consultation appointment. In these special cases, a practice appointment is assigned to the secretary's schedule. At the agreed time, the secretary assists the patient with the steps to be taken to connect to a teleconsultation appointment.

In this case, two appointments are booked for the patient, i.e. the practice appointment and the appointment with the doctor.

Suggested workflow for booking appointments

When administrative staff makes an appointment:

  1. Assess whether the patient's reason for consultation can be addressed by a telephone appointment or whether teleconsultation is to be preferred. 
  2. Validate with the patient whether he is able to use videoconferencing :
    1. Are you comfortable with technology? Do you use email and text messaging?
      If your clinic is partnered with a partner that allows patients to book their appointments online, then it can be assumed that they are familiar enough with the technology to use teleconsultation.
    2. Do you have the necessary equipment? A tablet, a smartphone, or a computer with a webcam, sound output, and a microphone?
  3. Book the teleconsultation appointment and validate the presence of an email address in the patient's Administrative center.
  4. Explain the next steps to the patient: 
    1. The patient will receive an initial email confirming the time and date of the appointment as well as the link to access the virtual consultation. This email should include all the steps to follow to access the appointment.
    2. Ask the patient to log in to their appointment 15 minutes in advance and give them the phone number to contact the clinic if there are any problems.
  1. If the patient is not completely comfortable with the process, the secretary may offer to book a practice appointment with a designated person. She will then book an appointment on that person's calendar a few hours or days before the medical appointment. The patient will be able to practice logging in to their appointment and will know exactly what to do during their appointment with the doctor.