We’ve probably all heard the announcements by airline pilots warning that “we might encounter some turbulence” on the flight ahead. For the hospital industry—at least as far as the physician shortage is concerned—the announcements are long since over. We’re flying directly through the turbulence as we enter 2020, and it’s only going to get bumpier in the decade ahead.
We have lots of good news to share at Eagle Telemedicine, but sometimes we can’t share all of it. We fully understand and respect the rule that some hospitals and health systems have against making a public endorsement of any product or service. But, it does prevent us from sharing in our marketing materials all the great stories and the details we have to tell about the success of our programs. That’s frustrating, but again, we understand. We can, however, broadcast the amazing results we are helping those hospitals achieve…without mentioning the names or specific location of the facility.
Businesses understand today that customers want more than one way to interact with them. Ordering products online. Checking reviews on mobile apps. Joining company communities on social media. 2019 saw healthcare’s evolution in the same multi-channel direction. No longer is it a single visit to the doctor or hospital. Today’s healthcare is a series of interactions with multiple access points or “front doors,” some personal, some digital—outpatient clinic visits, email conversations with doctors or clinical staff, online checking of lab results or Q&As on a patient portal, virtual doctor visits. It was the new model of healthcare in 2019.
When a great idea takes off, it’s surprising where it can take you. Recently, we’ve answered a need for a Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) program via telemedicine at a large Alabama hospital. The 150-bed acute care facility is now able to offer services for women with high-risk pregnancies. It is the first hospital in its metropolitan area to offer those services onsite.
At first glance, one might think that telemedicine wouldn’t be the best medium for diagnosing and treating patients with infectious diseases (IDs). There is, after all, nothing to “listen to” in conditions of sepsis, infected wounds from diabetes or other ailments, meningitis, osteomyelitis, methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) or other infections—nothing a stethoscope on a videoconferencing cart can pick up from the sound of a patient’s heartbeat or stomach. But look again.
Telemedicine is growing—around the world and here at home. A report released last year projected the global telehealth market would grow at a 13-percent compound annual growth rate, reaching $19.5 billion by 2025. That’s more than triple the $6 billion market value in 2016.
I’ve written frequently in previous blog posts about our physicians’ “webside manner”—their skills in communicating with patients, families and hospital clinical staff. They are very good at making everyone comfortable with the telemedicine environment. But they don’t go it alone. They are partners with hospital clinical staff who serve as their hands when consulting with, diagnosing, and treating patients.
We’ve written frequently about the growing acceptance of telemedicine by hospital clinical staff, patients and their families. Still, we do encounter naysayers along the way.
It was abundantly clear in 2018 that there is a new reality in U.S. inpatient care. As I wrote in my year-end blog last month, most hospitals across the country have embraced the value equation telemedicine offers. No longer viewed as a novelty, telemedicine will continue to gain ground in hospitals in 2019—both in general hospitalist services and in a wider range of specialty offerings.
Over the past 10 years, Eagle Telemedicine has seen dramatic change in the way the healthcare industry and the public accept what we do. Once viewed as something out of a sci-fi movie, the concept of telemedicine is as familiar to most people today as a Skype or Facetime call with a friend or loved one.