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.
In this blog series, we’re outlining some of the major hurdles to starting a telemedicine program in the hospital setting. Part I dealt with the failure to see the strategic value of telemedicine, and how to overcome it. Here are four other strategic hurdles we have encountered in the quest to gain consensus at the medical staff and board level. Resistance comes in many forms—personal, political, institutional—but it can be overcome with a thorough understanding of telemedicine’s myriad benefits.
Telemedicine is a rewarding field to be in for many reasons. We make healthcare easier to access for patients and their families. We’re saving doctors from burnout. We help hospitals find a sustainable solution to complex challenges. It’s extremely gratifying to be part of an industry that does so much good. Take, for example, the recent upsurge in the number of rural county hospital leaders who raise legitimate concerns about patient transfers and don’t know how to stop the outflow, or “outmigration” as we’ve heard it referred to.
This same time last year I wrote about the growing acceptance of telemedicine, but in looking back at 2017, I believe “acceptance” is no longer the right word. It’s more accurate to say that hospitals, providers and patients are embracing telemedicine with gusto. It’s a solution for many of today’s most pressing challenges.
When do you ever stop being a pioneer? As long as there are new frontiers to explore, you don’t. It’s the reason that nearly 10 years after we founded one of the first inpatient telemedicine companies, we’re still pioneering the industry: There are always new frontiers. Micro-hospitals, for example.
With the increasing physician shortage, particularly in specialty areas such as critical care, cardiology and nephrology, telemedicine is delivering valuable support to the clinical care programs at many U.S. hospitals. And now, with the growth of long-term acute care hospitals (LTACHs), telemedicine offers an effective model for bringing periodic specialized physician care to LTACH patients, while solving night coverage challenges.
Sometimes, technology moves faster than our willingness to accept it. Such was the story with personal computers and cell phones. What once seemed like novelties or expensive playthings are now indispensable. The same can be said for telemedicine. If I were to pinpoint the most significant trend in the industry as we move into a…
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about the growing number of uses for telemedicine programs in hospitals today. But as the list of telemedicine specialties expands at a rapid pace—most recently into the areas of telecardiology and telenephrology—it’s worth taking another look at this booming part of our company’s business, and why it’s happening.…