Remote Interpretation and Multi Participant Sessions – Telehealth Features Series

In this Telehealth Feature Series, we’re going to cover the long list of potential telehealth features available today.  As you’re considering your own approach to telehealth, we will provide you a look at all the possible features telehealth companies are offering on the market.  Plus, we’ll offer our insight into the nuances of each feature so you can select the right telehealth company or companies you use.  Not all telehealth is created equal, so taking the time to understand all the possible features and options is worth the effort.

The next feature we’re going to cover is Remote Interpretation and Multi Participant Sessions.

As I’ve proceeded through my EHR telehealth interview series, I’ve learned a lot about how companies are approaching remote interpretation.  The reality is that most of them aren’t really focused on this.  I’ve heard of a few companies that have done some integrations like this Cloudbreak Health integration with Epic for UCSD.  However, integrating remote interpretation into a telehealth option doesn’t seem to be a priority.

What’s interesting is that it seems that most telehealth solutions are just falling back on the multi participant feature of their telehealth solution to solve the problem of remote interpretation.  Instead of fully integrating the remote interpreter into their telehealth solution the way Cloubbreak Health has done above, they just provide healthcare organizations the option to allow multiple participants into the telehealth visit.  Of course, one of those participants could be a remote interpreter.

Needless to say, this is not the ideal workflow, and I’m not sure how many people use it.  Of course, we’re still early in the real adoption of telehealth.  If I’m a large organization, I’d think that remote interpretation would be a requirement for my organization since so many studies have proven how much more effective care is for the patient when they have an interpreter that ensures the doctor gets the right information and that the patient understands the care plan.

Going back to multi participant sessions, this is definitely shaping up to be a required feature for telehealth solutions.  On face, I’ve heard some people discount the value of multi-participant telehealth sessions since they argue that all of their visits are one clinician with one patient.  While this might be true in some organizations, it turns out that it doesn’t diminish the value of allowing multiple participants into a telehealth visit.

We’ve already talked about using this telehealth feature to include a remote interpreter.  However, we’re seeing more and more patients want to have their caregiver or other patient advocate join their telehealth visit.  I know as my parents get older and I become a caregiver for them, I’d want the option to join the visit.  The same is true for parents who might be in separate locations and want to join for their child’s pediatric visit.

Turns out that there are a lot of reasons why you may want to have more than just the doctor and patient in the telehealth visit.  Plus, in most organizations patients are starting to receive care from a care team.  This is particularly true as we move towards value based care arrangements where a care manager might be as important as the doctor when it comes to navigating a patient’s care.  This is going to require a multi participant telehealth session where the entire care team including the caregiver can join and provide the best care possible to the patient.

Be sure to check out our full list of telehealth features, our deep dive into each telehealth feature, and our list of telehealth companies.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

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