Does the Size of a TeleHospitalist Team Impact Care?

When Iowa Specialty Hospitals & Clinics started telemedicine the original partner the facility selected was a large company with a large TeleHospitalist team. The hospital was a pilot project – the first telemedicine program that the company had ever launched. The original provider didn’t have experienced TeleHospitalists, and they didn’t have experience working with smaller hospitals.

As a result, the hospital faced some unique challenges. As with many pilot programs, it was a little disjointed. On-site staff would connect with one of over 200 providers. On any given night any of those providers might be the on-call schedule to answer the hospital’s needs. This was a tremendous challenge for the staff. The on-site team had no relationship with the virtual hospitalist that were serving the hospital’s patients. The TeleHospitalist were not familiar with the hospital’s workflow or clinical processes.

This challenge lead Iowa Specialty Hospital & Clinics to seek out a telemedicine company with a small team approach to caring for patients.  Eagle Telemedicine focused on the hospital’s existing workflow and technology when designing the hospital’s TeleHospitalist program. Eagle also selected a small, dedicated team of TeleHospitalists to care for patients and work with the staff. Culture is very important at Iowa Specialty Hospital. Eagle’s goal was to find the right virtual physicians to fit into the hospital’s culture.

We have felt very supported. Eagle Telemedicine has been very good about including us in the credentialing of their providers. If there’s a new provider to the team we get a full bio – the whole team gets to meet them virtually.  I feel like that process is a great one. They [Eagle Telemedicine] participate in our hospital performance improvement.  – Robyn Paulsen, Director of Telehealth at Iowa Specialty Hospitals and Clinics

Find out how much support a small TeleHospitalist teams can provide.

Why is Telemedicine Hospitalist Support in Demand?

Why is telemedicine hospitalist support in demand? There is a nationwide shortage of physicians, which is predicted to increase to as much 139,000 within 10 years. Meanwhile, 20% of US citizens live in a rural area, while only 10% of doctors practice there. Hospitalists often work long hours to manage patient care; 67% reported career burnout that was “significant” or “very significant.” Rural hospitalists have a high burnout rate due to long hours plus more responsibility. To retain these providers, some rural hospitals are increasing hospitalist pay as much as 5-6% every month.

Hospitals across the country are leveraging TeleHospitalists and TeleHospitalist companies to manage high turnover and the length of time required to recruit new physicians. After the stress of 2020, more hospitals are considering telemedicine hospitalist support or TeleNocturnist coverage to reduce burnout and stress for existing staff. Physicians that report higher rates of burnout are more likely to make mistakes and search for new opportunities.

Why are TeleHospitalist teams in demand?

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