Last year, more than 15 million Americans received some kind of medical care remotely, per The American Telemedicine Association and the industry is predicted to continuing growing in 2019.
Of course, practicing telemedicine requires a different set of skills than practicing traditional medicine and it’s important that physician recruiters are able to decipher this during candidate interviews. So next time you're interviewing a candidate for a telemed position, try to keep these questions in mind to help determine if your candidate is a fit:
1. Are they able to work autonomously? Most telemedicine jobs require the doctor to work either partially or completely remotely. When speaking with candidates, try to gather information about their work history to help assess if they will be able to handle a remote role. For example, you can ask things like "have you ever worked remote before?" and if so, "how did you like it?"
2. How are their communication skills? Being an exceptional communicator is important for all clinicians, but it's especially important in telemedicine. When clinicians work remote, team members can’t track them down to clarify messages or ask questions follow up questions. That said, in order to operate an efficient practice, remote providers must be responsive, approachable and able to clearly share information and opinions.
Further, when communicating with patients virtually, you lack the doctor office setting, provider and office support staff, and body language that plays into the patient experience of seeing their provider. A telemedicine doctor needs to be able to have excellent communication in order to make the patient feel confident and content about the care they are receiving.
3. Do they have enough knowledge and expertise to make critical decisions without a team? Without the support of a team, a telemedicine doctor needs to be experienced and confident enough to make high-impact decisions with limited consult from other professionals. You can get an idea about their experience from their CV, but it will take role plays, case questions and conversing with a candidate to understand their ability to make decisions in tough patient scenarios.
4. How are their organizational skills? Telemedicine jobs don’t exactly come with an office manager, so providers need to be able to arrange their own schedule and manage their patient relationships. Try to understand how they’ve stayed organized in different scenarios - both personally and professionally - especially during situations where they are under pressure.
5. Do they want to be a telemedicine provider? There are a lot of pros to being a telemedicine provider, one being that you are on the forefront of medical technology which can be exciting to many providers. That said, try asking your candidate about his or her overall career goals, where they want to be in 10 years, etc., and see if telemedicine plays into that. At the end of the day, your goal as a recruiter is to find a good fit for both the organization and the provider so it’s worth putting yourself in the candidates shoes to make sure it’s a role they will enjoy.
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