Nothing irritates clinicians more than not having ready access to support. And if there is one thing that prevents many clinicians from fully embracing video visits, it’s the lack of training and the concern that when something goes wrong, there will be no one to help them. Because for sure they won’t call IT or the helpdesk.

Similarly, many patient has walked away either disillusioned (if that was their only experience) or dismayed (if they had a great telehealth visit before) when a telehealth visit does not go smoothly.

But in 2024 neither clinicians nor patients should have to suffer.

There is a simple solution: A Telehealth Coordinator. Or even better: “A Rock Star Telehealth Coordinator”.

Since Rock Star Telehealth Coordinators are made and not born, here’s a guide on how you can turn someone in your organization, your existing telehealth coordinator, or even yourself into a “Rock Star Telehealth Coordinator”.

The Secret of Telehealth Success

In our experience working with dozens of healthcare organizations, a Rock Star Telehealth Coordinator is the key to telehealth success. Neither a brilliant telehealth strategy nor the latest telehealth technology will get you sustainable success with patients, providers, nurses, and support staff.

The single critical ingredient to turning your set of telehealth services (a.k.a., your telehealth program) into success is a Rock Star Telehealth Coordinator.

Now, the good news is that Rock Star Telehealth Coordinators are not born that way and they also don’t have to have any musical talent whatsoever. Rock Star Telehealth Consultants are made through coaching and mentoring, assuming that their personality already includes many of the key traits that make Rock Star Telehealth Coordinators so successful.

The Job of a Telehealth Coordinator

So what, in a nutshell, is the job of a telehealth coordinator?

Based on my experience over the past 15 years of serving as, coaching, and mentoring over a dozen telehealth coordinators, their primary responsibility is to make sure that providers and patients have a great telehealth experience. Everything else is secondary to that.

Here are the four key areas of responsibility of a Telehealth Coordinator

  1. Provide Operational Support
  2. Optimize Performance
  3. Expand and Grow Utilization
  4. Launch of New Telehealth Services,

A successful Telehealth Coordinator is constantly (and cheerfully) oscillating (“rocking”) between these four responsibilities:

On a day-to-day basis the Operational Support includes solving problems, training new staff, or monitoring the performance of the telehealth services.

When the reported issues point to more systemic problems, or when the performance is not aligned with the expectations, the Telehealth Coordinator focuses on Optimizing Performance, which typically includes the improvement of workflows, training, and technology.

Once an organization has reached a solid baseline performance, the Telehealth Coordinator’s responsibilities shift towards supporting the Expansion and Growth, including the training of additional providers or expanding access to telehealth services in additional locations.

Over time, other virtual care modalities such as remote physiological monitoring or the inclusion of remote exam tools will require the Launch of New Telehealth Services, which includes the design and implementation of workflows and training, as well as the selection, implementation, and configuration of technology.

Hiring for Success

As Zig Ziglar pointed out decades ago: Attitude not Aptitude determines your Altitude.

So here are the basic key personality traits of someone you can quite easily transform into a Rock Star Telehealth Coordinator.

To successfully fulfill the core responsibilities of a Telehealth Coordinator, a Rock Star candidate needs to exhibit these 7 critical innate qualities:

  1. Takes Initiative
  2. Loves to Help
  3. Communicates Well
  4. Positive Attitude
  5. Attention to Detail
  6. Tolerance for Ambiguity
  7. Technical Affinity

A Rock Star Telehealth Coordinator takes initiative by being proactive, asking questions, and making suggestions. In some organizations that may rock the boat, but it is what is needed to bring about the necessary changes.

They love to help which is key in their support role, finding joy in solving other people’s problems. It is also helpful for the design of new workflows, as people who love to help will find ways to design the processes as easy as possible.

Their communication is clear and well received and they can tailor their messages to different audiences – from the C-Suite to the nurses, from the providers to the IT helpdesk. They find the right tone with everyone to get their message across.

They have a positive attitude which helps them not only to deal with the inevitable frustrations of this job, but also brings a fresh breath of air to people apprehensive about doing more with this “telehealth thingy”.

But aside from their exuberant personality, they also can demonstrate a great attention to detail. Which is critical for problem solving, workflow documentation, or technology configuration.

The attention to detail is balanced with a good tolerance for ambiguity. Not everything can be figured out at the beginning and individuals that are best suited for this role, can “go with the flow until they need to know”.

The 7th trait is Technical Affinity. This does not mean that this person can disassemble a Smartphone in 37 seconds or write some software. It means that they are not afraid of technology and (through their “love to help”) can help others to master the technology.

Training for Success

Now what? You wrote a great job description that includes the four primary responsibilities, you found a great candidate that exhibits all the qualities listed above. Is this your Rock Star?

No. Not yet.

The third phase of creating a Rock Star Telehealth Consultant is to leverage their great attitude and build out their aptitude through systematic training, coaching, and mentoring on the following key skills:

  1. Customer Service Skills (Customers = Everybody)
  2. Change Management
  3. Project Management
  4. Clinical Workflow Design
  5. Workflow and Technology Training Design
  6. Telehealth Technology Knowledge
  7. Data Analysis and Presentation

The definition of these 7 skills, however, are described in this Telehealth Tuesday article: “The 7 Skills of a Rock Star Telehealth Coordinator”.

What Rock Star Performance Looks Like

For one of our clients, a Federally-Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in rural Virginia, we completed a survey of a variety of staff and here is what they had to say about their Telehealth Coordinator, who had been in her job for about year and whom we had worked with from her first day.

When you have a Rock Star Telehealth Coordinator, this is how easy it becomes to engage clinicians, nurses, and staff in integrating telehealth into their delivery of great healthcare.

How would you rate your telehealth coordinator on the 7 qualities and the 7 skills?
Assign up to 9 points for each quality and up to 5 points for each skill.
How close can you get to 98 (9×7 + 7×5 = 63+35 = 98)?

Would you be open to a conversation about training, coaching, or mentoring to help your telehealth coordinator perform at their highest level? Then schedule a complementary conversation with Christian.

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Christian Milaster and his team optimize Telehealth Services for health systems and physician practices. Christian is the Founder and President of Ingenium Digital Health Advisors where he and his expert consortium partner with healthcare leaders to enable the delivery of extraordinary care.

Contact Christian by phone or text at 657-464-3648, via email, or video chat.