W. Clay Jackson, MD, DipTh on Tips for Using Telehealth

In this video, W. Clay Jackson, MD, DipTh, talks about expanding medical services to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic using telehealth, including lighting, licensing, and "linking" patient visits. 

Additional Resources: 

  1. Singh J. How I practice now: overcoming the logistical challenges of telemedicine. Consultant360. Published online August 2020. 
  2. Using telehealth to care for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. American Academy of Family Practice. Updated December 10, 2020. Accessed March 16, 2021. 

W. Clay Jackson, MD, DipTh, is an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry and family medicine at the University of Tennessee.


Dr Clay Jackson:  Hi, guys. Clay Jackson here with Consultant360. We just marked, during this time, the 1‑year anniversary of an event that's been unprecedented in our lifetimes, certainly, in North America. That was the onset of the COVID‑19 pandemic and how it's changed all of our lives, our personal lives, our family, and community connections, and yes, it's changed our medical practices.

I wanted to share with you today just a few tips, or pointers, that I've used to help expand my services to the patients that we see throughout the pandemic, and how that's been helpful, and some pitfalls that I've found as well.

Telehealth is one of the ways that we've reached out to our patients during the early portion of the pandemic and even some of the surges. It was not safe, pre‑vaccine days, for many of our patients to be in congregate space together, so we used telehealth to reach out to those patients.

Payers and federal and state regulators relaxed some of the rules around telehealth and allowed us to have that technology. That's been wonderful for patients. There are pros and cons, and I understand that the convenience and the safety of having a patient in their home or a remote setting is sometimes counterbalanced by the fact that it's not quite as good as an in‑person visit. We found those visits to be helpful. Three pointers or tips, and they all begin with "L" as a mnemonic.

Number one is licensing. Make sure that in your state that you're complying with licensing laws. Typically, the location where the patient is, is the licensing that you need to comply with. Make sure, talk to your legal counsel, or to your practice manager, or whomever your administrator is, about making sure that you're complying with licensing.

Number two is lighting. I'll use that for all of our background. We're not television hosts. We're not Dr. Oz or some type of a famous personality, so we're not set up to do that. Remember that while your background is there and the technical components of that, that projects a professional or an unprofessional image to your patients.

You do want to make sure that your background is HIPPA compliant. If you're relaying important medical information or advice to a patient and someone passes behind you in the hallway, or something like that, that could be a challenge.

We've got licensing, lighting, and finally linking. Linking visits during the day I've found to be effective. Some people spread telehealth visits throughout the day and intersperse with analog visits. I've done it both ways, but I've found that it works a little better if I have those telehealth visits grouped, because patients view waiting online differently than they view waiting in your waiting room.

We call it a waiting room, and patients are used to that, but if they're online and they had an appointment, and they're actually on their telephone or their computer, if it gets to be 15, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, they view it in a different way.

I've found that by linking the visits together, I typically don't run behind as much, and I can manage better. I can get in a setting that's appropriate, get my programming up that I can use. I found that linking those visits together is better. So, licensing, lighting, which includes all background, and then linking.

With that, you guys, blessings, do well with your patients. Have a great day.