Check your background
Are you happy with what’s in the background? If not, you can upload a customised background on Zoom. In this video, Rod shows you how:
You might have a photo of your clinic set up. If you don’t, we’ve made an eye clinic background you can use. Grab this background photo that Rod’s using in the video above.
Although it sounds obvious, a poor internet connection can result in video and audio issues or even total session disruption. To maintain professionalism, you’ll need a minimum data speed of 256 Kbps in each direction (upload and download).
Choose your platform
When you’re just starting out, Skype is a great low-cost entry point to the world of online consultations. Given that there are no significant upfront costs and no upfront contracts, the business risk is small. As demand and usage increases, it may be worth switching to a professional software solution to ensure sustainability and quality of service.
For example, we at LiveseySolar use Zoom.us. Zoom is a reliable and user-friendly web conferencing software with all of the features we need to conduct dozens of online meetings a week with our customers. Furthermore, it plays well with our diary system (Google Calendar) and our online booking software (Calendly). Zoom even has a version they’ve prepared specifically for telehealth, that they claim:
“reliably delivers consistent clinical user experiences, seamlessly integrates into your technology and workflows, and keeps you connected and compliant. With high quality video, even in low-bandwidth environments, organizations can support healthcare teams and patients around the globe.”
Check out their healthcare datasheet here.
Always have a back-up option. If the connection drops, the show must go on. Having the patient’s phone number to hand will help you tie the conversation over until things are back up and running. However, be aware that certain aspects of communication, such as non-verbal cues will be lost, which could lead to misunderstandings between you and the patient.
The perfect online consultation agenda
Now that you have everything set-up, it’s time to practice the online consultation. You might be thinking, ‘Pftttt, I do this stuff day-in-day-out, I think I know how to handle a consultation!’ But these ones can feel a little different, so it’s always wise to have these notes to hand in case you drift off track. Remember, you only have 15 minutes!
Make a positive first impression
The purpose of the first impression is to establish rapport and instil trust and credibility. Dress smart, introduce yourself and ask the patient how they are. If you can, make a little small talk to make the patient feel at ease. This will help to reduce the patient’s tension and help them feel relaxed.
Communicate your intent
Following the ‘warm-up’ conversation and preceding a discovery, an intent statement is a rehearsed statement in the form of an agenda for an appointment that outlines expectations for the goal of the appointment. Intent statements also contain statements designed for demonstrating empathy, takeaway statements designed for reducing pressure, and trial close statements designed to get agreement.
Discover your patient’s before-state and desired after-state
Through a series of questions, you can figure out which treatments or tests might be most effective to your prospective patients based on their particular needs and objectives.
Confirm the information you’ve discovered
The purpose of the information confirmation is to show the patient that you have listened and understood their problems, motives and goals. Summarise their response and confirm that they have come to the right place.
Make a convincing recommendation
The recommendation is a clear description that you make to the patient regarding their probable suitability, the test or treatment you recommend, the risks and downsides associated with the treatment/ test, the benefits and prospective outcomes the prospective patient can expect, and any further clarifications on the plan for treatment/ tests.
It is usually at this point when objections surface, so handling objections is a vital part of this stage. We share how to do this in a way that there is no pushiness or conflict between you and the prospective patient here: Healthcare Consultation – Objections: measure twice, cut once.
Close on the next step: a face-to-face meeting
If you have a core offer for the patient (i.e. tests or treatment that you can only perform in person) the next step is to invite the patient in for a face-to-face appointment. Only do this once you have identified and overcome all service and situational objections. This step is usually considered the “closing” stage.
Here, it would help if you offered the prospective patient options relating to their availability and preferences. Presenting a maximum of two date and time options gives the prospective patient the necessary sense of control and choice that they require to make a decision.
And viola! You have secured yourself another invested patient who is firmly on the road towards treatment. And of course, what better way to secure online consultations, than via easy online booking systems.
Since helping one of our clients install this simple online scheduling tool on their website, they have leapt from 40 enquiries a month to over 170 online bookings. We did our research, and after carefully assessing and comparing the top online booking system software, we found the perfect one for doctors. Check it out here: Doctors can triple conversions overnight with easy online booking software – Your short guide to a more flexible and functional private practice.