Looking at the latest statistics which estimate 117,000 physicians left the profession in 2021, out of an exodus of almost 334,000 healthcare provider personnel, the analysis from Definitive Healthcare reaffirms that the physician shortage is one of the main obstacles to running an economically viable healthcare system. In underserved communities, maintaining a sufficient number of physicians on staff is even more difficult as larger systems with bigger budgets attract physicians looking to enter the profession or relocate.
Eagle Telemedicine is passionate about our belief that the answer to adding services in rural and underserved communities is telemedicine. Watch the on-demand webinar, “6 Undeniable Ways Telemedicine Benefits Your Hospital’s Bottom Line,” to learn more. We’ll focus on how telemedicine can help hospital systems, notably those rural-based, achieve a greater depth and breadth of care, and at the same time, help strengthen the revenue stream.
Case in Point: AdventHealth
The telemedicine experience of AdventHealth, a rural system in Northwestern Georgia, shines a light on the real, day-to-day benefits of telemedicine. Struggling with delays in care, night staff shortages, and a need for behavioral health specialists, AdventHealth and Eagle Telemedicine were able to greatly improve physician availability and care response times.
Among the bottom-line aspects of telemedicine for AdventHealth are:
- Keeping care and revenue local by serving patients closer to home
- Reducing patient transfers by providing in-hospital care via telecommunication
- Increasing revenue by having one telemedicine physician cover several hospitals
- Extending specialist services
- Improving acute care delivery after hours
Telemedicine’s Universal Benefits
From a business and operations perspective, the benefits of telemedicine extend to all systems who face continuing shortages over the next 12 years. A report by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) estimates a total shortage between 37,800 and 124,000 physicians over the next 12 years. The problem isn’t going away. The answer is telemedicine.
A fallout from the physician shortage is burnout, a topic also covered during our webinar. Understaffed hospitals, any crisis like COVID, and physicians working longer hours, are some of the reasons attributed to people leaving the profession. Telemedicine alleviates this by enabling physicians to provide in-hospital consults, while at a satellite office or other off-site locations. It is a great benefit in rural communities where hospitals can be a long distance away. Physicians can use telemedicine rather than spending time on the road. Care improves. The revenue stream improves.