Telemedicine is a fast-growing field. According to the American Hospital Association, 74% of Americans say they would use telehealth services. With so many people willing to see their healthcare providers remotely, it’s an option that more and more practices are going to be offering. But is this growing field a good fit for you? Here are 10 questions to think about if you’re considering a career in telemedicine.
1) Can you work independently?
While some telemedicine jobs require you to work from the practice’s location, others let you work from home. If you’re going to work at home then you need the disciple to work independently and manage your own schedule.
2) Can you offer flexibility?
Telemedicine can make things much more convenient for your patients. It lets them schedule virtual visits that fit into their schedule and means they don’t have to travel. If you’re working in telemedicine, then you have to be flexible enough that patients can call when it works for them.
3) Are you looking for work-life balance?
The flexibility of telemedicine can also work in your favor. For example, if you work in a practice all week then you’re on-call over the weekend you might be able to save time by taking those calls from home. Also, virtual visits often take up less time than those in-person and you don’t have to worry about patients showing up late and throwing off your schedule.
4) Can you communicate well?
Being able to communicate well with patients is vital for any medical practitioner. But it’s even more important when offering telehealth services. Since you can’t be in the same room as your patients you need to know how to really listen and what questions to ask. Good observation skills are also a plus since you’ll often be interacting with patients via video chat.
5) Are you prepared to learn?
Effectively providing telemedicine requires learning to use new technology. If you want to provide remote, virtual healthcare, you’ll need to learn how to use the equipment and software programs used in telemedicine.
6) Would you like to make more money?
Getting into telemedicine isn’t a guaranteed income boost. But IHS Technology predicts that by 2018, the annual revenue from telehealth will be $4.5 billion worldwide. That’s quite an increase from $440.6 million in 2013. It’s definitely a growing, and lucrative, field of medicine.
7) Do you have multiple state licenses?
You will only be allowed to provide telemedicine services to patients who call from states you’re licensed to practice medicine in. Having multiple state licenses will expand your client base, which can be an asset if you’re doing all your work remotely.
8) Can you use telemedicine in your specialty?
Some specialties go better with telemedicine than others. You can’t, for example, perform surgery remotely. But a surgeon might find that using telemedicine for virtual follow-ups is a more convenient option for them and their patients.
9) Will you provide services to other physicians?
Not all telemedicine involves provider-to-patient interactions. Some telemedicine jobs are provider-to-provider. For example, if you’re working in teleradiology physicians can send electronic files of imaging studies so you can review them and send the diagnosis back. Another example of provider-to-provider telemedicine this working as an on-call consulting specialist for rural areas that would be hard for you to get to in-person.
10) Are you ready for a change?
Going into telemedicine will change how you practice medicine. It affects your schedule, how you interact with patients, and the number of patients you can see, among other things. If you’re ready for those changes, then get in touch with RadCoverage. We can help with things like polishing your CV, getting licensed in multiple states, and finding practices for you to work with that offer telehealth services.