TelePulmonology may be a new and unfamiliar approach for facilities across the U.S. that have been stricken with a system that has gotten the wind knocked out of their sails. The blast of physician shortages has affected almost every aspect of healthcare but pulmonology has not had a break, or new breeze, until TelePulmonology. By providing remote care, TelePulmonology can help improve patient outcomes, lower healthcare costs, and increase patient satisfaction.
TelePulmonology is one of the fastest growing inpatient telemedicine specialties. The demand for care is driven by an increased aging population with a growing prevalence of chronic pulmonary diseases such as COPD and asthma. Compounding this problem, which is especially prevalent in rural areas, is a mounting shortage of pulmonologists as many of these specialists are retiring and new physicians are not selecting this highly stressful field. According to the American Thoracic Society, there will be a nationwide shortage of 1,400 pulmonologists by 2025.
Exploring the Value of TelePulmonology
The challenges of providing pulmonology care and how telemedicine is filling the need was the topic of a recent podcast featuring Eagle Telemedicine’s Jason Povio, President and COO, and Matt Goggin, Senior Vice President of Marketing. Listen to the podcast here:
The Exhale Podcast: Providing Telemedicine Care to Hospitals Across the Country
During the discussion, Jason Povio and Matt Goggin cover the following points with the host Mark Russell:
- How a hospital telehealth program works and its benefit to a rural hospital program
- Where telemedicine programs are more established, either rural or metropolitan areas
- The top five specialists that are in highest need for telehealth care
- How TelePulmonology programs in particular work in rural underserved areas and how telemedicine can really benefit the patient’s overall health by being more proactive versus reactive
- How patients and staff are growing more comfortable with this type of health care model
- How to manage the credentialing of the physicians over many different states
- Why it’s valuable for telemedicine to use hospitals’ existing EMR systems
- How hospitals can get more information on building their telemedicine program with Eagle
Povio shared the following during this interactive conversation:
“With pulmonology having an increase in prevalence, telemedicine can come in and become an extra ‘arm.’ It becomes a support function within an existing pulmonary department or group where there exists one or becomes the department or group where it doesn’t exist. To provide the ability to see those patients and manage these chronic diseases in a way that limits or mitigates the volume of acute episodes that require admission to an inpatient setting,” states Povio.
“Wherever possible there’s a lot of obvious incentives out there with payers to just avoid having to go to the hospital. And so, the request for pulmonary clinic support has certainly increased to help support patients with these chronic diseases in the overall evaluation and management care plan adherence. Patients that are admitted to a hospital with pulmonary comorbidity and need support, that facility is more apt to probably transfer that patient to a different level of care forcing travel for family members as well as the patient themselves to receive that sort of level of care. Telemedicine really bridges that gap. It allows for facilities to tap into the bandwidth of organizations such as Eagle and really access their specialists to drive that care for them.”
Overall, even though the lack of pulmonologists and many other specialties is a challenge, TelePulmonology is becoming that needed breath of fresh air. Telemedicine offers that extra arm of support, by enabling remote access to care and enhancing the effectiveness of pulmonary or other specialty care delivery. Learn more about Eagle’s TelePulmonology programs and how it can be that arm of support for your organization here.