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Opening the Door to Safe Virtual Visits

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Opening the Door to Safe Virtual Visits

By Jock Hoffman, CRICO

Related to: Communication, Diagnosis, Cures Act: Opening Notes, Emergency Medicine, Primary Care, Nursing, Obstetrics, Other Specialties, Publications, Surgery

When one door closes, another one opens.
—Alexander Graham Bell

While COVID-19 closed many doors across health care, it did push the door to virtual visits wide open. As providers and patients seek their equilibrium in the closing phases of the pandemic, it appears that virtual visits will continue to be a common option for many patients. Clinicians who crossed the threshold into virtual visits with limited preparation or training can now benefit from the perspective of professionals who have studied the patient safety vulnerabilities of remote health care delivery.

The Academic Medical Center Patient Safety Organization (AMC PSO) convened subject matter experts from hospitals and primary care practices along with specialists in telehealth and patient safety. That task force identified common patient safety risks associated with virtual care and strategies to mitigate those risks. The output of that work is the AMC PSO’s Patient Safety Guidance for the Virtual Visit.

This document guides clinicians and patient safety leaders in their efforts to provide the safest possible care to patients through a virtual platform, including:

  • Preparation for virtual care
  • Pre-visit considerations
  • Managing the virtual care visit
  • Post visit and follow up
  • Patient consent considerations
  • Measuring the quality and safety of virtual care, and
  • Special considerations regarding equity, behavioral health, and pediatrics

Successful adaptation to virtual visits requires analysis of all components of the traditional office encounter as well as ongoing communication between you and your support staff in the virtual setting. Together, your team can assess what adjustments are needed for converting in-office workflows and communication channels to the virtual environment. Learn more about optimizing patient safety and provider protections in the AMC PSO’s Patient Safety Guidance for the Virtual Visit.


April 29, 2021
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