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 Single Sign-On.
It’s obvious that everyone wants a single sign-on experience for telehealth. Although, this gets a little bit more complex when you talk about it from both the clinician perspective and the patient perspective. Let’s dive into each of these perspectives.
One of the advantages that many of the EHR vendors have touted in our EHR Telehealth Interview series was the fact that all of the telehealth features and functions were right there in the EHR for the doctor. This is definitely an advantage over having to log into a separate system to be able to do the various telehealth functions. Although, as you’ll see in our next article in this series, most of the telehealth companies have integrated deeply enough into the EHR that this isn’t as big of an advantage as you might think.
Plus, looking at sign on more specifically, is it really that much more work to sign in to your telehealth system? Especially if you have your telehealth appointments blocked in one section of your day? Not really and there are certainly one click login options that telehealth companies can provide from your EHR to let you seamlessly access your appointment. So, while single sign-on might seem like a big deal, I don’t think it’s as big a deal as some might say. Or at least there are solutions to this to make the experience seamless for the clinician. Of course, if your telehealth company hasn’t done this integration, that would be something to talk with them about.
We’ve seen a lot of interesting ways to approach how to handle patient sign-on for a telehealth visit. In the beginning of the telehealth explosion thanks to COVID-19, many vendors were forcing patients to login to their patient portal to access their telehealth visits. Needless to say this didn’t go very well and led to a lot of frustrated patients and doctors. Patients because they couldn’t remember their password or figure out their login and so they’d miss their appointment or just plain give up. Doctors were frustrated because many patients would miss their appointments and that’s never fun for a doctor. Especially when the technology is kind of their fault and not the patients.
The good news is that everyone has more or less moved to a link that gives patients basically single click access to their telehealth visit. I have seen a few more security conscious companies implement some sort of simple authentication to ensure it’s actually the patient joining. However, they don’t require a login and password and instead will ask for something the patient readily knows like their birthday or some other personal information that’s easy for them to provide.
Long story short, single sign-on isn’t largely a differentiating feature for most telehealth companies. Most of them have it figured out and provide a pretty seamless experience for both clinicians and patients.