Telehealth is an exciting career path for any medical professional. Opportunities are constantly expanding in this new area of medicine, and Wheel is here to help guide you in your telehealth journey.
What Is a Telehealth Nurse Practitioner
Those with limited mobility outside the home or in areas with limited options for medical care still deserve the best care. Updates to technology are allowing more and more people to communicate across wide distances. Telehealth is a unique care option which allows for quick one-on-one assessment from the comfort of one’s own home.
The benefits for telehealth providers are endless, including workplace convenience and flexible scheduling.
Nurse practitioners (NPs) can quickly learn how to use video conferencing platforms and data transmission services to become as effective as an NP in a face-to-face setting.
"The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) supports the provision of health care services via technology—commonly called telehealth or telemedicine—and holds that these health care services are not a separate specialty or the practice of any one profession. Health care provided via technology should be recognized, regulated and reimbursed on parity with the same services delivered in person." - AANP Board of Directors
What Do Telehealth Nurse Practitioners Do?
Nurse practitioners working in telehealth have the same base skills as a regular NP, but with the added layer of working in a new medium. To become a successful telehealth nurse practitioner, you must be ready to fulfill the duties and responsibilities.
These duties and responsibilities include:
- Advanced communication skills
- The ability to diagnose problems with limited information
- Excellent research skills
- Being comfortable navigating technology
If your telehealth position allows you to work from home, you will also need a reliable high-speed internet connection and any additional equipment your employer requires. Some companies provide the equipment you need. A high-speed internet connection is absolutely necessary to provide a consistent experience for your patients.
Is There Any Special Training for Telehealth?
Beyond the usual training and certifications of a regular nurse practitioner, you need special training in technology. Telehealth is made possible when NPs are prepared with the necessary technological know-how needed to run video conferencing and data-sharing systems.
Telehealth also involves learning and engaging in proper online etiquette. Instead of the usual “bedside manner,” telehealth professionals must put forth their best “webside manner”. In this nontraditional setting, it would be considered unprofessional to work in a noisy, cluttered area of your home. The best patient experience is possible if you remember to position the camera correctly, dress purposefully, and adapt to the needs of digital interaction.
Without the ability to be face to face with your patient, you will learn new ways to convey meaning through digital means.
How Much Do Telehealth Nurse Practitioners Make?
According to Zip Recruiter, on average, telehealth NPs make $113,883 a year. This figure is based on salaries reported nationally, and will vary in different parts of the country. Another factor that effects salary is the number of states in which you are licensed. Having multiple state licenses allows you to make more money in different states. Additionally, many NPs are increasingly working as 1099 contractors in telehealth, which also increases opportunities to earn income.
Do Telehealth Nurse Practitioners Get Benefits?
Some companies provide benefits to NPs who work full time, however there is an increasing trend toward 1099 contract worker models. While this does not allow for employer benefits, it does increase freedom, flexibility and in some cases income potential.
Good Candidates for Telehealth Work
Although telehealth is the hot new career path for nurse practitioners, you should first see if you have the qualities that will make you a successful telehealth NP. Telehealth work can be difficult for some providers or specialties due to the nature of the interactions. If you work better with patients when you can see and speak with them in the same room, you may not be best suited for telehealth.
The qualities that separate an okay telehealth worker from a good or great worker involve communication and a go-getter attitude.
- Because some telehealth jobs allow their providers to work from home, you will need the ability to work independently. You will also need confidence. In many of telehealth settings, you will not have the opportunity to consult with co-workers. Your confidence in your own training and intuition is absolutely vital in this situation.
- Telehealth work involves multitasking. The large number of tasks is more than your typical medical job, which by nature involves a lot of paperwork. Telehealth adds a high call volume to your task list. A good telehealth worker has the ability to prioritize quickly and accurately to make medical decisions.
- Ultimately, a successful nurse practitioner or physician has exceptional communication skills. You must get used to not interacting with a patient in the same room as you. This requires clear speech, as well as tact and understanding. Accurate medical advice and orders can only be made through careful attention to a patient’s body language and affect.
What to Look for While Searching for the Best Telehealth Job
There are certain key factors to look out for when scouting a good telehealth company. The following list can help you narrow down your options to find a company that will work for you, as much as you will work for them.
1. How the Company Works
If you are genuinely interested in telehealth and the opportunities it has to expand care to more patients, you should look for a company with a patient-centered business model.
- Some companies charge patients directly, whether that be a per-consult or monthly fee.
- Other companies either have partnered with health insurers or accept various insurance.
- Finally, some companies have contracts with employers to offer healthcare to employees at no or low cost.
You as a provider can safely see any of these three models, as well as similar platforms, as good for providers and patients. That being said, you should be careful of multi-level marketing companies that urge providers to constantly recruit their peers. You should also avoid any company that encourages you to prescribe certain treatments via telehealth regularly, like braces or DME.
Before accepting any telehealth position, you should be sure to determine the shift requirements and whether they will complement or interfere with other healthcare work you are involved in elsewhere. Some companies offer short-term seasonal positions, which may be a great option to gain experience in a telehealth setting.
Make sure you are choosing a job with the best pay structure for you and your experience. Some positions pay per consultation, while others pay per hour. Fair compensation is vital, because you are exchanging your time and experience, as well as taking on a degree of professional risk.
Look for jobs that indicate a steady flow of patients. Rather than waiting around during your shift for a remote patient, you should have numerous virtual appointments already scheduled. If a position tells you it is possible to work “whenever,” you should clarify how patients are assigned and the average number of patients during a shift.
When hunting for the right telehealth job, you should also pay attention to how patient encounters are viewed and navigated on the company’s platform. If you can get a demonstration of the platform, you will see how you communicate with the patient, how you enter orders, and how you document the encounter.
5. Patient Expectations
Learning about the process from the patient’s perspective is crucial. By finding out about their journey to the telehealth company, you can be sure to provide the level of care they are looking for in a telehealth service.
6. Support and Insurance
The most reputable companies will offer their telehealth employees malpractice insurance and provide support as they receive credentials. Telehealth involves the same amount of risk for medical professionals as in-person work in regards to malpractice claims.
7. Lab Orders, Results, and Medications
An important part of any telehealth position involves your ability to order lab tests and medications. You should make sure to clarify what protocols are in place regarding what you can and cannot prescribe to patients. You should be able to explain the process to a patient. This applies to the results of lab tests, too.
Each state regulates telehealth differently. Some have more stringent oversight, while others prefer to leave it up to providers. A great telehealth company will be one that looks out for you in regards to following the proper rules and regulations in any given location.
9. License Requirements
You often need a special license to practice in a telehealth setting. During the application process, you should determine what state licensures are required to work for a particular company. Some companies might offer to help you get the proper credentials.
How to Stand Out and Get Hired
The telehealth job market is expanding, but you should put your best foot forward to find a position at a great company that fits your needs and work culture.
Focused Medical CV
While it is great that many medical professionals have accomplished so much in their careers, including education, experience, and publications, it makes for a long CV. Instead, opt for a focused look at your past experience, especially the skills that make you well-suited to telehealth.
Good "Webside" Manner"
Despite the barrier of a screen, you should be able to effectively communicate and put patients at ease with your professionalism and tact. “Webside manner” also involves a great deal of technological literacy to ensure the best patient experience.
Clean Quality Care Record
If you have a clean professional record, you will be a safe and trustworthy candidate for any company. However, if there are issues in your past it is best to share them upfront.
Telehealth often allows providers to set their own schedules and work around other jobs. A good candidate for a telehealth position is someone who is honest about their own availability and is personally accountable. If you make a promise to work during certain hours or for a certain length of time each day, you should uphold that promise to your company.
Basic Telehealth Training
Most jobs in telehealth do not require a long list of prior training and certifications before they hire you. Instead, most companies like to see an enthusiastic candidate who is ready to take on basic training in their specific processes.
Multi-State Medical Licenses
The more licenses you have, the more patients you can help and the more value you will have to a telehealth company. The two best ways to expand your licenses are:
- Have a license from the big four population states; California, New York, Texas, and Florida
- Get a license in one of the Federation of State Medical Boards Interstate Medical Licensure Compact states
This type of preparation gives you the ability to practice with more telehealth companies.
Join Professional Organizations
Joining a professional organization is a big component of any medical role. Telemedicine and telehealth now have their own dedicated organizations that help you network with other medical professionals and learn more from your peers. Becoming part of a larger group like Wheel can provide you with opportunities to perform remote virtual care consults across a variety of platforms.
Wheel makes it easy to launch your career in telehealth. Wheel matches physicians and NPs to remote care opportunities to provide care to more patients. If you are interested in less bureaucracy and more flexibility, then Wheel is a good match for you.
Wheel works with different partners to match medical professionals with positions, including lab requisitions and reviews, remote patient monitoring, and virtual diagnosis and treatment.
If you fill out our pre-screener questionnaire, you can begin the process of finding the telehealth work most suited to your experience, abilities, and needs. Our telehealth clinician network is designed to help you get your telehealth career started.
Telehealth is helping expand care options to more people in new and exciting ways. A successful telehealth worker thrives in this new setting, where communication is vital and technological literacy is key. As long as you have a desire to learn and expand your abilities, telehealth can be a successful path for you.