Telemedicine Boost Patient Engagement

A HealthMine Survey of 500 consumers who use mobile/Internet-connect health applications discovered 39% are not aware of telemedicine. Only one-third of the respondents to the survey identified their health plan offers telehealth as an option.

Many healthcare organizations are developing Apple and other technology to increase patient engagement via convenient physician access outside of offices and hospitals.

“Patient activation and improved understanding of health issues lead to better outcomes, lower costs and an improved health experience for patients and their providers,” says Richard Bakalar, M.D., managing director, KPMG.

Below is a brief highlight of some new telemedicine technologies helping to bring quality care to patients via eVisits and beyond.

Bright.md

Ray Costantini, MD, CEO of Bright.md, says consumers want care quickly and all in one place, which is why he cofounded the company. Bright.md has developed a software system called SmartExam that enables patients to connect with their physicians as an eVisit when they have a non-emergency health concern.

Bright.md is a service provided by insurers, users are prompted to answer a set of specially-tailored questions about their ailments or condition. A preliminary diagnosis and treatment plan is created, a physician is alerted and provided with necessary information to make a final decision on the best care. When prescriptions are needed, Bright.md sends the information directly to the pharmacy of the patient’s choice.

These eVisits via bright.md offer the patients a platform for care with their own provider while enabling providers to deliver evidence-based care faster. More than 70% of patients, he says, prefer SmartExam, which cuts a visit from 20 minutes down to two, to an in-person visit. “What we’ve consistently seen is that patients who have access to SmartExam feel more empowered to seek care when they need it,” Costantini says.

Modernizing Medicine

Michael Sherling, MD, chief medical officer and cofounder of Modernizing Medicine, describes his cloud-based solution as asynchronous telemedicine, or “store and forward.” Patients are able to take photos of their condition, specifically for dermatologic conditions such as rashes and wounds, at their convenience for a physician to review later and render a treatment plan.

This solution is integrated with the Electronic Medical Assistant® (EMATM) so that virtual data are captured and stored in one, easily accessible place. Both patients and physicians have access to this electronic health record and patients can update their physician as their case progresses. “Capturing structured data at point of care is how you measure patient status and determine if a treatment works,” Sherling says.

“Patients receive better access without having to wait two to three months to see a specialist. Telemedicine allows the flexibility many patients require to actively participate in their own health, and at their own convenience,” he says.

Eagle Hospital Physicians

Eagle Hospital Physicians offers a two-way, audiovisual communication between a doctor and patient in a hospital setting via a cart or robot equipped with videoconferencing technology and a monitor. This technology brings patients face-to-face with a physician who is in a remote location. The technology is able to transmit still images, X-rays and CT Scans, specifically useful for hospitals in rural hospitals with limited staff.

Talbot McCormick, M., CEO of Eagle Hospital Physicians, says “the model has proved particularly effective for teleneurology. Utilizing Eagle’s teleneurologists—whose average response time was 3.5 minutes and average diagnosis and treatment time, 21.8 minutes—INTEGRIS Bass Baptist Health Center in Enid, Okla., saw a 40% decrease in time from entry into the emergency department until hospital admission and one- to 1.2-day decrease in hospital length of stay for stroke patients”.

Tandigm Health

Tandigm Health, in cooperation with TouchCare, piloted a new program which provided doctors in it’s network with smartphones and tablets to connect with patients. Tandigm’s care team also utilizes TouchCare by enabling high-risk patients to connect with a Tandigm nurse navigator, who is responsible for developing and coordinating a care plan for each patient. Utilizing video conferencing, nurse navigators are able to provide education and self-management support; identify resources; assess patient needs; and coordinate care to hopefully prevent hospital readmissions.

“Through our program, medical professionals are able to establish a connection with their patient that goes beyond the walls of their doctor’s office and directly into the comfort of a patient’s home,” says Leslie Saltzman, D.O., Tandigm Health’s medical director.

For more information on telemedicine technologies click here.

For more information on the HealthMine Survey click here.

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