Patient Engagement in Telemedicine

Engagement techniques and strategies to help with improving professionalism, high quality & engaging telemedicine visits.

The COVID-19 pandemic immediately and drastically increased the use of telemedicine. Physicians and their practices had little to no time to prepare and train. Instead, they adopted telemedicine techniques and platforms within days to weeks of COVID-19’s arrival. Now, with a few weeks or months of telemedicine experience under their belts, physicians may not see a need for additional or formal telemedicine training. However, peer reviews and patient satisfaction surveys indicate there is a need to train physicians in enhanced engagement techniques and strategies. 1

Based on patient feedback, researchers recommend the following for professional, high quality, and engaging telemedicine visits.

    • Dressing professionally with a nametag or other identification: solid colors and neutral backgrounds.

    • Minimizing background noise (rain, traffic, birds, dogs, office equipment, etc.) and background clutter.

    • Setting the webcam at eye level and directly in front of the physician’s face: head and shoulders centered.

    • Looking into the webcam, instead of the patient’s image on the screen, so patients feel the physician is speaking directly to them.

    • Clearly introducing yourself with your name, professional title, and organization.

    • Verifying the patient’s full name, location, and birth date: ensure proper licensure for both the patient’s and your locations.

    • Confirming who is in the room with the physician and who is in the room with the patient: document who is present and the patient’s authorization of their presence.

    • Using professional, not colloquial, language.

    • Pausing frequently for patient questions.

    • Summarizing the findings and communications of the visit for the patient.2 3

1 Nunes, F., Ahmad, N., Roberts, D., Metz, D. (2020). Research shows patients and clinicians rated telemedicine care positively during COVID-19 pandemic. Penn Medicine News.

2 Contreras, C.M., Metzger, G.A., Beane, J.D., et al. (2020). Telemedicine: Patient-provider clinical engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. J. Gastrointest Surg, 24, 1692-1697. doi: 10.1007/s11605-020-04623-5

3 Sharma, R., Nachum, S., Davidson, K.W., Nochomovitz, M. (2019). It’s not just face time: Core competencies for the medical virtualist. Int J Emerg Med, 12, 8. (2019).

The content of this publication or presentation is intended for educational purposes only; is not an official position statement of Mutual Insurance Company of Arizona (MICA); and should not be considered or relied upon as professional, medical, or legal advice or as a substitute for your professional judgment. Consult your attorney about your individual situation and the applicable laws. The authors, presenters, and editors made a reasonable effort to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of publication or presentation but do not warrant or guarantee accuracy, completeness, or currency of such information. As medical and legal information is constantly changing and evolving, check for updated information and consult your attorney before making decisions.

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