The first hints of U.S. telemedicine can be traced back to the Civil War, when casualty reports and medical supply requests were transmitted by telegraph. By the turn of the twentieth century, physicians had embraced telephony as a means of communicating with patients and consulting with one another.By mid-century, NASA had pioneered the development of remote telemetry monitoring so that the agency could keep tabs on astronauts health. In the decades since, the development of ever more sophisticated technology has exponentially increased the opportunities for telephysicians and patients to connect. In fact, the American Hospital Association estimates that 65 percent of hospitals in the U.S. utilize telemedicine.
Multiple Vendors Create Multiple Problems
While telemedicine continues to be deployed across the healthcare spectrum, turnkey telemedicine is the exception rather than the rule. Typically, facilities “whether hospitals, clinics, long-term care centers, or urgent care centers “purchase telemedicine technology from one vendor and contract with another for telephysician services.This purchasing model can result in a host of problems, ranging from physician encounter notes lack of integration with patient EHRs to administrators inability to access the metrics that matter.
The Reliability of Turnkey Telemedicine
To reap the full potential of telemedicine, facilitiesshouldopt for a turnkey telemedicine solution that encompasses every component: software, hardware, personnel, and operational intelligence. This approach replaces the challenge of dueling vendors with seamless integration.
A reliable turnkey telemedicine solution should incorporate these fourfeatures:
Robust Software Platform:
Its not enough to settle for software that simply powers a telemedicine cart. Facilities should leverage the horse power of a software platform that integrates every aspect of a telehealth program. The right cloud-based telemedicine operating system can manage telephysician schedules and connect a doctor to the patients bedside within minutes. The OS should enable physicians to easily document encounters and then merge the notes with the patients EHR. For the administrator, the software platform should produce data analytics that can inform decisions and substantiate ROI.
Roster of Specialists:
Telehealth is often used to compensatefor the paucity of specialists across the U.S. A turnkey telemedicine solution should deliver not only the technology, but also the people needed to provide care. A roster of board-certified specialists “ranging from neurologists and cardiologists to hospitalists and pulmonologists “ensures that facilities have access to the right physicians. For hospitals, this directly improves patient outcomes, reduces lengths of stay, and lowers readmissions.
Each healthcare organization has unique needs. A turnkey telemedicine solution should begin with a needs assessment and readiness review. Next, the vendor should identify those in clinical and administrative leadership that will champion the facilitys telemedicine initiative. Then, programs tailored to educate clinicians and patients should be deployed. Once systems are in place, the telemedicine company should conduct utilization trainings for staff members. Finally, ongoing operational support should be provided.
In the absence of clinical optimization, telemedicine become sunwieldy and costly. Healthcare organizations that seek out turnkey telemedicine solutions find that ROI is maximized when telehealth is integrated with existing practices. The features that matter most are an intake process thats easy for the telephysician, multi-party call capability, PACs accessibility, EHR integration, and a mechanism for direct communication to the patient-side nurse or provider.
The seeds of telemedicine may have been planted in the era of the telegraph, but today it has grown into a reliable mechanism for healthcare delivery. Choosing a turnkey telemedicine solution combines technology and clinical expertise to maximize ROI.
VeeMed is a leading provider of turnkey telemedicine solutions. The VeeMed platform is powered by VeeMed OS, and encompasses the VeeDoc iOS app for telephysicians, the patient-side VeeKart telemedicine cart, and VeeMeds administrator portal. For more information or for a demonstration, please call XXX-XXX-XXXX.