Dr. Mac McCormick, Eagle Telemedicine CEO, to Lead Presentation at NRHA Conference
SAN DIEGO—May 10, 2017— Hiring and retaining physicians to provide nighttime coverage is a tough challenge for many hospitals today, especially those in rural areas. Often, physicians who work days are expected to share nighttime shifts on-call—a practice that can lead to stress and burnout at a time when the physician shortage and geographic maldistribution of doctors is increasing nationwide.
Telenocturnist care offers a sustainable solution. Videoconferencing technology enables hospitals to “beam in” physicians from other locations to provide diagnosis and treatment for patients, as well as guidance for onsite nurses and other clinical staff throughout the night.
This solution—and the benefits it can deliver to hospitals and patients—will be the topic of a presentation on Friday, May 12, at the National Rural Health Association’s Rural Hospital Innovation Summit to be held May 9-12 in San Diego. Presenters are Talbot “Mac” McCormick, MD, president and CEO of Eagle Telemedicine; Doug Romer, executive director of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer at Grande Ronde Hospital in La Grande, Ore.; and Jason Kimball, MD, hospitalist and founder of Sunflower Telemedicine, an extension of Eagle Telemedicine providing services to Kansas hospitals by Kansas-based physicians.
Benefits Include Burnout Reduction, Reduced attrition
“Especially as the physician shortage continues to grow, hospitals are hard-pressed to find physicians who are willing to work the night shift,” said McCormick. “Telenocturnist coverage eases the night-shift burdens faced by rural hospitals, with five key benefits including patient satisfaction, quick physician access, cost savings, burnout reduction, and growth potential for nighttime admissions.”
The program, “Night Shift: How to Build Effective Telenocturnist Programs,” will also focus on how rural hospital executives and clinical managers can evaluate their facilities to see what type of telenocturnist program is needed. Program attendees will also learn how to:
- Implement telenocturnist care to improve retention and recruitment and decrease unnecessary transfers
- Utilize Tele-Cross coverage to take the burden of floor calls off daytime doctors and improve quality of patient care with face-to-face consults
- Support Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant management by providing access to physicians offsite who can guide and advise staff in providing comprehensive local care
During the session, a real-world case study will be presented by Doug Romer of Grande Ronde Hospital, a 25-bed critical access hospital in rural northeast Oregon. In 2009, the facility was honored with the Outstanding Rural Health Organization Award by the NRHA—the first hospital in Oregon to achieve this recognition. The NRHA chose Grande Ronde for its exceptional contribution to rural health services through its innovative and pioneering telemedicine program.
“Telemedicine offers a lifeline that more hospitals, especially in underserved rural communities, rely on,” McCormick said. “It can bring in a variety of specialties—including neurologists, intensivists, cardiologists, and nephrologists—to help hospitals expand their offerings to their communities. We are pleased to share the benefits of one particular specialty—telenocturnist care—at the NRHA conference.”
It can be overwhelming for a hospitalist to round all day and go home, only to return in the middle of the night to admit a patient. “Telenocturnist programs allow hospitalists the break they need to recharge and come back fresh in the morning,” McCormick said. “At the same time, their patients are continuing to receive excellent clinical care via telemedicine, where seasoned hospitalists off-site have two-way communication via videoconferencing technology with patients and staff. Hospitals tell us that we are instrumental in helping physicians maintain work-life balance and avoid burnout.”
Additional Program on Telemedicine Best Practices
McCormick will also present “How to Build Consensus and Collaboration for Telemedicine” during the NRHA’s Health Equity Conference, to be held May 9 in San Diego as part of the NRHA’s Annual Rural Health Conference. The session is designed to share best practices on how facilities can work with three key constituent groups—clinical, finance and administration—to set up effective telemedicine programs that deliver significant benefits for hospitals.