I chatted with Christina Lee, RN, Beyond Home Manager/Population Health at Well Care Health based in North Carolina, about the ways in which she inspires clinicians to become advocates for telehealth. Well Care Health’s clinical professionals are consistently challenging themselves to promote and improve telehealth utilization.
Well Care Health, an in-home care company based in North Carolina, employs hundreds of clinical professionals across the state. The agency’s clinicians are divided into teams that serve patients living in various regions of the Tar Heel state. Every Registered Nurse (RN) and Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) oversees between four and six telehealth patients at a given time.
When Christina Lee, RN, began her role as Telehealth Manager for Well Care Health four months ago, she felt disconnected from the 550 clinicians who use Health Recovery Solutions (HRS) software to care for more than 260 telehealth patients. As a strong proponent of telehealth and the HRS technology, Lee developed a plan to improve engagement among her clinical staff, with the support of her senior director, Robin Kipple, RN.
Based on our conversation, here are 5 ways that Lee has increased clinician engagement.
1. Provide Early Education in Telehealth
At Well Care, Lee revamped the clinical training strategy and implemented changes to provide education for the company’s telehealth staff early on during orientation. Lee’s first task is to ensure that clinicians are confident and comfortable using the HRS software. Part of the revamped training program includes a telehealth “skills check-off,” or workshop to test a clinician’s ability to introduce the technology to a patient, and properly communicate the purpose and benefits of telehealth.
“I make sure they understand the basics and that they are comfortable with the software, but also that they understand the entire picture,” Lee says.
2. Reinforce Education
For newly-hired telehealth employees, Lee checks-in with them regularly to see how they are progressing, and reinforces techniques learned early on during orientation. She specifically tests clinicians on their knowledge and utilization of the software, and other skills necessary to be a telehealth clinician at Well Care Health.
In addition to testing their skills, Lee explains to clinicians how Well Care’s own management team uses telehealth while emphasizing a team-based approach to care delivery. “I personally sit down with them, and walk them through the software, showing them how management uses the platform to improve patient outcomes,” Lee adds. “This gives them another look at the big picture.”
3. Share Outcomes
Lee believes in full transparency with Well Care’s team of clinicians and provides them updates on how the overall telehealth program is performing. She feels that involving the clinicians on every level of the telehealth program is key to clinical engagement. Lee adds, “if they’re connected and engaged, the team is able to accomplish its main goal of positive patient outcomes.” She shares the outcome results with her clinical staff as the data becomes available. Lee spearheads company-wide meetings, giving clinicians an inside look at how the telehealth program is lowering hospital readmissions and ER visits for chronic disease patients. She also shares industry updates that are tied to telehealth, an essential part of Well Care’s goal to maintain innovative standards.
“I make sure to convey the sweeping changes in healthcare reform that are leading to the industry-wide adoption of telehealth,” Lee adds.
4. Streamline the Logistics Process
In one of her company-wide meetings, Lee recognized that a key roadblock among clinicians was the difficulty in managing the logistical side of telehealth. Specifically, clinicians were hindered by inventory management, which was taking them away from direct patient care. To resolve the inventory roadblock, Well Care Health piloted the HRS PatientDirect program, which helped to better serve the agency’s patients and clinicians in particular areas.
You can learn more about the PatientDirect program and best practices for inventory management, here.
5. Make Telehealth Fun!
Along with proper education, transparency, and an effective process, Lee stresses the importance of developing a fun, interactive culture around telehealth. Her teams company-wide participate in friendly competitions to see who has the highest rate of telehealth utilization.
“They not only challenge each other for utilization, but also for their successes in lowering readmissions and increasing patient satisfaction,” she says.
Telehealth brings a touch of excitement to the healthcare landscape, giving organizations the ability to be innovative and truly monitor their patients’ conditions in ways that haven’t been done before.
For true telehealth success, it’s important to:
Provide early education
Reinforce the education
Share outcomes with your team
Streamline your process
Make telehealth fun!
Thanks for the tips, Christina! Keep up the great work!