Telehealth – Lost in Translation

By Rick Halton, VP Product and Marketing

I’m sure you’ve seen the iconic movie ‘Lost In Translation’ set in Japan – with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson – it’s about what goes unsaid. The cast spends the whole time communicating through technology or interpreters. Bob and Charlotte are the two main characters, they talk in person, and they are the only two who understand each other.

 

Every CIO is rightly jumping on the bandwagon to deploy Telehealth, but in recent times, it’s thought of as just a video call. As care rapidly shifts to be delivered remotely, an over-reliance on video is bringing a whole new Lost in Translation effect to health care – people cannot correctly communicate and coordinate with their care team before and after their video call. This effect results in poor patient preparation, lack of insurance documentation, little patient context, ineffectual appointments, and absence of a coordinated follow up with clear goals, activities, and tasks. 

 

A video call is very convenient, but we are still in the early throes of figuring out the meaningful and productive Telehealth experience. To boot, like flipping channels on television with a remote, remote care also brings with it a new degree of fickle patients, who can switch providers at a click of their keyboard. 

 

Safe, contactless care requires a joined-up approach to virtually communicate, survey, triage, screen, signpost, check-in and monitor patients before and after a video call – we call this Virtual Care – a critically important, but often forgotten ingredient, of the Telehealth experience:

 

Below are four critical Virtual Health experiences you should consider, which are further detailed in Lumeon’s Virtual Care Playbook, download here:

 

1. Reduce cancellations due to infection risk anxiety

Understanding a patient’s level of anxiety early in the pre-operative process enables providers to adopt a pre-emptive outreach strategy. Patients who have expressed concerns about proceeding in a climate of Covid-19 can then be assisted with both telephone calls and new digital interaction, to help them not only come to an informed decision but stay on track if they choose to proceed.

2. Minimize in-person appointments using virtual assessment

By triaging patients upfront, using a digital pre-operative risk assessment survey, providers can quickly identify what types of reviews are required: a brief digital check, telephone appointment, or an in-person clinic visit. We have found that as many as 51% of patients may not need a direct nursing team contact, reducing the risk of virus transmission and prioritizing care team resources.

3. Remote COVID-19 symptom monitoring

Patients should be monitored regularly for COVID-19 symptoms in the run-up to surgery. As well as educating them about what to do if they feel unwell, symptom checks can are over automated interactive text message surveys that take only a few seconds to complete.

4. Virtualize check-in to reduce time in waiting rooms

Consider a virtual check-in process to keep patients away from the waiting room for as long as possible. On arrival, ask patients to stay in their vehicle and text ‘READY’ to an SMS phone number. The patient then only leaves their car once they have confirmation from the hospital, further reducing contact with other patients and staff.

 

For more information and example use cases, download the Virtual Care Playbook for Surgery here.


In conclusion, the industry is rapidly beginning to appreciate that Telehealth is not just a simple voice or video transaction, but the importance of managing the remote care journey by combining a variety of capabilities. By thinking of Telehealth as a journey and not just a transaction, we can ensure that care is not Lost in Translation, and we coordinate all aspects of care before, during, and after. By deploying technology that can flex and adapt to the design of your virtual care delivery protocols, you will stand a much better chance of creating a best-in-class experience and keeping the patient loyal to your brand.