Twenty years ago, telehealth seemed like a distant dream—perhaps someday we’d have virtual appointments, but it was far in the future. Today, telehealth is a reality, due in part to patient and provider demand as well as a public healthcare crisis. (Right now, RingCentral is offering its telehealth communications platform RingCentral Office for free.)
Even though telehealth services are becoming more prevalent, many providers must still learn how to use these solutions to deliver virtual healthcare. It pays to learn how to train your staff to use telehealth communication technology so that you can continue delivering effective healthcare even if you’re not in the same room with patients any longer.
Train staff to use telehealth communication technology in eight steps
There are eight basic steps involved in training your staff to use telehealth communications platforms:
- Understanding what services you’ll be offering
- Choosing the right platform
- Communicating clearly with staff members
- Choosing a leadership team
- Understanding how your staff learns
- Creating a learning plan
- Providing hands-on training
- Evaluating training
Understand the services you’ll offer
Although the concept of telehealth isn’t entirely new, there’s still some confusion about it. Many people (providers included) still don’t entirely understand what it means.
Telehealth refers to the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support remote healthcare. That might include providing long-distance healthcare and patient education. Telehealth has a broader scope than telemedicine; telemedicine is the use of technology for the remote delivery of clinical services. Deciding which services you’re offering clarifies how you’ll be training your staff.
Choose the right telehealth communications platform
Once you’ve figured out what services you’ll be offering, the next step is to choose a telehealth communications platform. There are a variety of these products on the market, so it’s critical to take some time to choose the one that’s right for you.
The right telehealth communications technology is one that effectively supports the telehealth services you offer. For example, a mental health professional would benefit from video conferencing and telephony, and many practices would gain from implementing a patient access center (so patients could get the help they need outside of an appointment). Assess what your needs are based on the services you’re offering.
It’s also crucial that telehealth communications technology is secure and compliant with regulations. During the public healthcare crisis, regulations were relaxed somewhat to accommodate the unprecedented situation. However, regulations won’t be relaxed forever, so it’s vital to choose a solution that protects patient data and complies with the law.
Communicate clearly with your staff
As you transition to offering telehealth services, the staff at your practice or facility need to be kept abreast of what’s going on. While they might have figured out based on current events that telehealth is becoming a necessity, it shouldn’t be a surprise that you’re going to be implementing a telehealth communications platform and that they’re going to need to learn how to use it.
Clear communication also goes a long way during training. Give employees the information they need to do their job so they can work effectively and efficiently.
Choose a leadership team
Part of implementing a telehealth communications platform is choosing a leadership team to shepherd the project to completion. This leadership team is responsible for, among other things, either carrying out the training or selecting a third party to train.
Choosing the leadership team isn’t a task you should take lightly. Think about who needs to be on the team. Are these the people who will be using the telehealth communications platform on a daily basis? Do they understand your workflows, and how to fit the training to your workflows? You want to make sure that all of these perspectives are included in your leadership team, so training will meet your needs.
Understand how your staff learns
Everyone learns differently. There are four recognized learning modalities, and some people are “mixed” learners.
Take time to understand how your team learns. What works for one person might not work for another, and you want to make sure that your employees understand how to use the telehealth communications platform.
Create a learning plan
Before you carry out the training, create a learning plan. A learning plan, as the name implies, sets out what employees will learn through this training.
The learning plan will be the basis of your training. To start writing your plan, think about what your employees need to know about using your telehealth communications platform. Then, structure that knowledge in a way that makes sense; the training should begin with teaching foundational, basic knowledge, then build on that by introducing more advanced topics.
Provide hands-on training
Regardless of your staff’s learning modalities, hands-on training is a great way for your employees to learn how to use your telehealth communications platform. Hands-on training lets them explore the ins and outs of the platform, so after the training is complete, they’ll feel more comfortable using it.
When you’re providing hands-on training, do it in a place where there are few distractions. Schedule the training for a time when employees are well-rested, well-fed, and ready to learn. Stressed, distracted employees don’t learn well.
Carrying out the training isn’t the last step in this process. Evaluating training matters quite a bit because otherwise, you don’t know if the training was effective.
Evaluation doesn’t have to be expensive, time-consuming, or complicated. You could administer a test at the end of training to assess what the staff member has learned; alternatively, the trainer could monitor the employee as he or she uses the telehealth communications platform to determine what the individual learned.
RingCentral Office: an easy-to-use telehealth communications platform
RingCentral Office is an easy-to-use telehealth communications platform that’s secure as well as compliant. Employees learn how to use RingCentral Office quickly so that they can spend more time delivering telehealth services to your patients. Learn more about how RingCentral helps healthcare providers today.
Originally published Nov 03, 2020, updated Mar 17, 2021