Telemedicine. The evolution continues. For hospital administrators today, the conversation has switched from “What is Telemedicine?” to “How do I get a Telemedicine program started?” In every situation where inpatient telemedicine is considered, return on investment (ROI) factors prominently in the decision. The four key factors hospitals should consider: Impact on transfers, improved clinical metrics, patient and family satisfaction, and physician retention.
Telemedicine’s value to hospitals is demonstrated every day. In Emergency Departments (EDs), where stroke patients get the timely treatment they need in their local community hospitals without having to be transferred to a distant referral hospital. On the floor, where rounding stays on a timely schedule. In the boardroom, where examples of patient and staff satisfaction, as well as bottom-line benefits, are frequently heard. The ICU is another area where telemedicine is significantly changing how healthcare is delivered―for the better.
We’ve discussed in previous blog posts how changes in the provider population are creating opportunities for telemedicine. Because today’s dwindling supply of physicians places a greater premium on work-life balance than their forebears did, telemedicine answers a hospital’s ongoing challenge to provide consistent nighttime coverage. The patient population is also changing. And that means new opportunities for telemedicine, too.
If asked to condense our experience at the American Telemedicine Association’s (ATA) International Conference in Orlando last month, and the National Rural Health Association’s (NRHA) Rural Hospital Innovation Summit which followed two weeks later in San Diego, this line would be it. It’s our prime takeaway from those important industry gatherings.