Expanding your team with remote providers benefits your on-site clinicians, patients, and organization overall. Whether you’ve already got a hybrid of on-site and remote providers working for your organization or you’re adding new virtual clinicians to your team, there are several tips and tricks that can help you along the way.
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits, common challenges, and recommendations for providers and organizations to help effectively integrate telepsychiatry into your care team.
What does a truly integrated remote and on-site team look like?
When your clinician team is technically, culturally, and logistically well-integrated, your remote providers will feel and operate like an extension of your on-site team.
So, what does true integration look like exactly? Culturally, this integration can include participating in care team meetings, joining clinical medical leadership discussions, invitations to conferences, social or outside-of-work team events, and even fun gatherings like happy hours. This inclusion can help providers feel more comfortable by allowing them to spend time with other clinicians on their team.
The technical and logistical aspects of provider integration are also crucial in building long-term partnerships. That’s what makes a meet and greet so essential. This process can help ensure a good match between the providers and clinic staff before bringing them onboard.
The benefits of effectively incorporating telepsychiatry into your organization
When remote care teams are integrated and work together smoothly, on-site providers, organizations, and patients can all benefit.
Collaboration of care: The initial patient evaluation, typically an hour long, is the most commonly missed by patients. With remote providers to lean on, your patients will never miss out on care because they can’t make it to an on-site appointment.
Addressing specialty mental health needs: The main advantage of having remote behavioral health providers on your clinical team is managing a broader spectrum of behavioral health care needs. Having on-site and remote providers gives patients more options and opportunities to get the care they need. Your organization can learn how to seamlessly address mental health care in your space through collaboration and coordination of care. Telepsychiatry helps elevate collaboration even further by making specialty providers with specific mental health expertise readily available for organizations, on-site providers, and patients.
Increase in patient comfort: Many remote providers appreciate seeing a patient in their home environment as it can inform care and make the patient feel more comfortable. For patients with anxiety who aren’t comfortable leaving their houses, telepsychiatry can be a particularly beneficial option. In fact, 85.52% of patients report that telemedicine has made getting the care they need easier.
Solving common integration challenges
So, what happens if a remote provider doesn’t appear to be a good match with the organization? It’s natural that there might be initial challenges when bringing new providers onto your care team. At Iris Telehealth, we help with common integrations and ongoing relationship challenges by facilitating and guiding the communication between provider and organization.
Our teams are invested when the clinician is introduced to an organization and stay engaged throughout a provider’s service. By advocating and mediating for both organizations and providers, we ensure the relationship, and ultimately patient care, remain high-quality.
Additionally, we get ahead of potential challenges by ensuring the clinical match is right the first time. We call this process “provider matching.” Provider matching can be a great way to combat these common integration challenges. Furthermore, working with an organization that delivers proven provider matching services is invaluable to seamless integration. However, if things aren’t going smoothly logistically or culturally, we’re still there to help. We’re looking for long-term matches that will meet your needs and match you with the perfect provider for your team.
Communication tips and recommendations
Naturally, as teams integrate, remote and on-site providers might experience growing pains and need to settle into new workflows. However, knowing a few tips and tricks can set your organization up for success. Here are four ways to embrace remote providers and help them feel like a part of the team:
- Clear communication: Communication is key for providers working in a remote setting. By figuring out how you’ll communicate with your remote colleague, you can provide the best care for your patients. Consider whether you’ll communicate through the EMR or video or audio-only calls. Additionally, knowing the frequency of communication can also help set expectations between providers.
- Be upfront with expectations: Be sure to communicate expectations upfront. That way, everyone will know their role when the time comes to provide the best care possible for their patients. The best way to ensure seamless integration is to prepare the operational conversations about bringing in a new provider. This operational conversation can be in the form of an interview or a meet and greet, where the provider and clinical team can discuss practice philosophies, scheduling preferences, and other essential logistics. Additionally, you can discuss what types of patients your organization sees, how patients are managed, avenues of care, and anything else you want your remote provider to be aware of. If you’re an organization new to telepsychiatry and unsure what to ask, that’s okay! At Iris, we facilitate these conversations and work to ensure the clinical match is a good fit.
- Regular meetings: You can facilitate team collaboration and integrated patient care by blocking time for meetings that include your remote provider. For example, some providers have meetings with their on-site teams where they can bounce ideas off each other and connect. Offering ways to collaborate outside of seeing patients is an excellent way for integrated teams to provide excellent care while getting to know each other.
- Don’t treat remote providers as contractors: Remote and on-site providers have the same goals and work on the same team. Remote providers tend to be happier and stay longer when they can connect with other providers and feel included in their organization.
How Iris Can Help
At Iris, we match you with providers who can integrate seamlessly into your care team technically, culturally, and logistically. With nearly a decade of experience, we share our best practices and expertise. Iris can help you fill gaps in your behavioral health services, whether it’s therapy services or various in-patient or outpatient psychiatric care. One of our core values is people over all else and our providers and partners are no exception. If you’d like to learn more, contact us today.