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3 Reasons for Assembling a Cross-Functional Team

The first few months of the pandemic were a mad scramble for healthcare leaders tasked with meeting skyrocketing demand for telehealth. In Feb. 2020, telehealth usage for primary care visits was a sleepy 1%. By April, utilization ballooned to nearly 44%. According to a recent McKinsey Report, the number of telemedicine encounters in 2020 increased between 50- and 175-fold nationwide.

Hospitals and health systems jumped in with two-way video solutions, which worked as a quick fix to deliver patient care. But what healthcare leaders quickly realized is that there’s a lot these solutions can’t do—everything from scheduling and intake to waiting room management, intake assessments, and billing. After a few months with thousands of video visits executed, many learned they require an end-to-end, enterprise-wide technology platform that virtualizes every step of the telehealth process.

Many experts predict that telehealth will become a permanent part of the healthcare landscape. Patients already choose providers, health systems and hospitals based on remote virtual care/telehealth access.

So, there’s no better time than now to develop a long-term telehealth strategy and vision.

Checklist The best place to start is by assembling a cross-functional team with representation across your healthcare organization’s major functional areas. That includes:

  • Information technology professionals
  • Service line leaders from every specialty
  • Physician leaders
  • Practice managers
  • Mid-level providers and clinicians
  • Billing and coding experts
  • Digital transformation and change management personnel
  • Marketing and customer experience experts

In short, you can’t go it alone, whether you’re just getting started on the platform selection process or ready for a holistic, comprehensive telehealth roll-out. Here’s why.

#1 A Cross-Functional Team Ensures Full Representation

The platform you choose will impact providers and employees throughout the organization, so it makes sense to engage representatives from many departments and service lines with diverse functions and points of view. Look for high-level decision-makers, detail-oriented team member, strategic thinkers and task-oriented people who can work together toward a common goal. Your practice needs clinical input in order to be successful.

Leaders will emerge from the group you bring together. Seek out a clinical champion for your practice who can:

  • Work with other decision-makers to evangelize virtual care initiatives
  • Network with other leaders throughout the organization to gain their perspective and ideas and bring these POVs back to the team
  • Ensure that the telehealth platform aligns with the organization’s overall strategy
  • Promote telehealth usage to provider teams across your enterprise

#2 A Strong Team Can Facilitate Seamless Integration

You need a telehealth platform that smoothly integrates with existing technologies and optimizes clinical and operational workflows. It must:

  • Provide a single integrated solution for efficiency, not work out of multiple applications
  • Integrate EMR/EHR systems in a centralized way
  • Connect outside services (e.g., interpreters) to visits
  • Support clinical workflows for every participating specialty

#3 A Diverse Team Ensures Organizational Adoption

Including team members from throughout the organization drives adoption and transformation. Your team will become telehealth advocates, promoting the concept to anyone who is initially reluctant to jump into telehealth. They’ll make sure your telehealth solution is a success, delivering return on investment. These include:

  • Care managers can help patients know what to expect from a virtual visit
  • Practice managers can create and run reports to document success
  • Marketing professionals can create social media campaigns to encourage telehealth use
  • Telehealth “power users” can inspire others to give virtual visits a try

Learn more

What should you look for in a virtual care solution? Read the Forrester Wave™: Virtual Care Platforms for Digital Health.

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