I am certainly not the first or even hundred-and-first person to write about how COVID-19 has changed my working life, but I do hope to offer a unique or at least an interesting perspective on what it’s like to directly support and interact with patients, many of whom are participating in telehealth for the very first time.
pMD’s user base grew by nearly 300% from March 1 to May 1 of this year, due in large part to the highly increased demand for telehealth during the coronavirus pandemic. The vast majority of these tens of thousands of new users are patients. Medical practices are enrolling their patients in pMD telehealth by the hundreds and thousands, easily providing an avenue for patients to receive care even when it’s not safe or possible to come to their doctor’s office in person.
I am proud to be part of a team providing patient care tools during such a critical time, even though that means working harder than ever. We have quickly learned that a rapidly-expanding user base does come with some challenges, one of which is an increased volume of customer support.
Unparalleled, 24/7/365 customer service has been an integral part of pMD’s company culture since day one, and that has not changed even - or especially - during these unprecedented times. Being able to provide exceptional, real-time support to medical practices and patients ensures that health care is not interrupted despite the current situation.
The past two months at pMD have been even more fast-paced than usual, and our team has had the opportunity to speak with many patients and medical professionals alike. Here are the most important things we’ve learned:
This truly is an unprecedented time for everyone. Medical practices are extremely busy, oftentimes trying to handle a distributed workforce and safety concerns in addition to patient care. Patients, whether they have an acute condition or need a routine follow up, are often anxious or overwhelmed, both at the prospect of having to go into a doctor’s office or the alternative (a virtual visit), which can be a daunting prospect for first-time telehealth users. When someone calls into pMD to get support, we aren’t just helping them log into an app on their phone, we’re also there to reassure them that they have all the tools needed to connect with their doctor and get the care they are expecting. Whether a user calls in initially feeling anxious, frustrated, or confused, after speaking with a member of the pMD team, our goal is to not only answer their question but to leave that user with a smile on their face.
Be meticulous (a.k.a. if you don’t log it, it didn’t happen).
Our engineering team is hard at work continuing to improve the telehealth experience for practices and their patients. An accurate and complete list of the most frequently asked questions and common concerns is key in prioritizing these projects. If 100 users reach out with the same question about starting a video visit, we know addressing that concern will help at least 100 users right away! If 100 users call in with the same question, but only 10 of those conversations get logged, we have no way of knowing this is such a high-priority topic, and it likely won’t be addressed with the same expediency.
Even at the end of my longest or most difficult days at pMD, I can finish up work feeling thankful. Not only is the pMD team lucky to be hard at work during this time, but we’re also able to serve as a partner to medical practices and a resource to their patients. I can’t think of a better way to spend my time in quarantine!