Evaluating Telehealth Platforms: A Checklist for Virtual Care Companies

New telehealth tech platforms are launching at lightning speed, but under the hood they can be inadequate. Whether you’re in the market to buy or build, use this checklist to refine your list of desired features and functionality.

With so many new entrants jumping into the virtual care marketplace, navigating the telehealth technology landscape is confusing. Here, we unpack the evolution of telehealth platform technology and where we are today, business considerations for selecting solutions, and the standards and features of today’s best-in-class virtual care platforms. This guide can help your organization make faster, more informed decisions with greater stakeholder consensus when evaluating your next virtual care solution.

Evolution of telehealth platforms

The most prevalent virtual care platforms today were built for enterprise hospitals and health system use, as these markets were the first to implement small to medium-scale telehealth pilot programs.

In 2020, companies across diverse verticals — from big tech and retail to employee benefit platforms and the largest health systems — rapidly adapted to the new world of COVID-19 through accelerated virtual care deployment. Unfortunately, most of the existing telehealth technology solutions were developed with traditional healthcare models in mind. Functionality was tailored to the needs of these health system customers — not today’s innovative virtual care companies — so companies have been forced to cobble together piecemeal solutions to deliver care.

As market offerings catch up with the needs of today’s healthcare delivery models, comprehensive platforms are cropping up to address modern telehealth brands.

But splashy marketing can disguise unsatisfactory solutions.

Whether you decide to buy or build your virtual care technology, it’s important for stakeholders within and outside of IT to understand the capabilities and features of modern virtual care delivery solutions.

Business considerations for virtual care platforms

Before you begin selecting a solution, you’ll want to align on the necessary functionality and use cases for your business now and in the future. As virtual care accelerates exponentially, companies may find themselves pivoting faster or more often than initially anticipated to meet market demands and stay competitive.

Internally align on the importance of:

  • Both asynchronous and synchronous consults?
  • New modalities of care, such as remote patient monitoring?
  • A built-in EHR as well as interoperability with other medical systems?
  • ePrescribing and lab ordering?
  • Lab requisition and review?
  • Flexible payment methods?
  • HIPAA-compliant privacy and security standards?

5 standards of best-in-class telehealth platforms

Every virtual care platform should adhere to these five standards.

  1. Ensure security and privacy are never in question
  2. Utilize proven frameworks for clinical protocols based on new virtual care standards
  3. Engage consumers with a great experience, measured by both clinical outcomes AND patient delight
  4. Be designed for scalability and future virtual care applications
  5. Intelligently access clinician supply based on fluctuations in patient demand

Essential telehealth platform features

The following features make up a best-in-class, end-to-end virtual care platform solution. To deliver a comprehensive virtual care service that’s built for efficiency, speed, and scale, you’ll need to prioritize most, if not all, of these features.

Technology Features

  • Modern, intuitive, mobile-friendly UX for both patients and clinicians
  • Ease of integration with existing systems
  • Smart routing technology for clinician-patient matching
  • Supports both asynchronous and synchronous care
  • Supports new modalities of care, such as RPM
  • White-labeled

Comprehensive Features

  • Integrated, nationwide clinician network
  • Load-balancing functionality to accommodate patient demand variability
  • Clinical operations support
  • Integrated compliance solutions
  • Flat, low software licensing fee
  • Flex-based pricing for clinician access

Clinician UX / EHR Features

  • Built-in EHR
  • Interoperability with other EHRs
  • Patient identity verification
  • Guided medical assessment
  • Built-in ePrescribing
  • Built-in lab requisition and review
  • Treatment planning and refer out capabilities
  • Clinical documentation (SOAP notes)
  • Chat functionality

Patient UX / EHR Features

  • Patient identity verification
  • Integrated payment processing
  • Treatment plan review
  • Email notifications
  • Text notifications

Clinical Operations Features

  • Treatment area clinical protocols
  • Clinical quality assurance protocols
  • Clinician training on virtual care, HIPAA compliance, clinical protocols, and your brand
  • Clinical operations support

Legal Compliance Features

  • HIPAA-compliant privacy and security standards
  • NP supervision compliance
  • State and federal telehealth compliance
  • Medical malpractice coverage
  • Cyber-liability and tech E&O insurance
  • Nationwide “Friendly PC” entities
Telehealth platform evaluation checklist

Download the checklist >

The Wheel solution for virtual care

After working with companies of all sizes across diverse industries in delivering virtual care, we’ve gained an insider’s perspective on what stakeholders are looking for — and where platforms can fall short — in delivering safe, compliant, high-quality telehealth services. Our virtual care platform was built for today’s brands with tomorrow’s healthcare challenges in mind.

Learn more about the Wheel Solution >