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.
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.
Sometimes the most challenging part of implementing a telemedicine program is making the decision to start one. You might be familiar with other hospitals that use telemedicine successfully, but is it right for you? And what about others on your team—are they skeptics, or advocates, or undecided? How do you critically analyze your choices, and then reach agreement among your hospital’s clinical, finance, and administration decision-makers that telemedicine is the right one?
When we entered the telemedicine field nine years ago, we knew we had a winner on our hands. What we couldn’t predict was how the field would evolve over the following decade.
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.