Low Cost, High Value Telemedicine
Telemedicine is most often thought of as requiring high bandwidth internet services or expensive in-home equipment. However, effective alternatives have proven themselves within the industry.
Practical ways in which healthcare providers acquire, transport, and deliver patient information using the most commonly available telecommunication device, the telephone, to proactively support long term patient disease management (e.g., CHF, diabetes) as well as post-op ambulatory and acute care follow-up.
Collecting and monitoring key patient information such as, weight and blood pressure is frequently inhibited by the healthcare provider’s access to the patient. Monitoring and patient information collection most often requires patients to come to the “point of the provider” as opposed to the provider going to the “point of the patient.” Patients are frequently intimidated by the perception that in-home equipment is complex and difficult to use. Patient in-home access to internet and other communication network services is inconsistent – sometimes unavailable, unaffordable, or unreliable.
- Scheduling “transactions” are completed in real-time while the patient is on the telephone.
- No-shows are minimized by assuring patients are reminded in an appropriate time frame with the correct preparatory instructions given.
- Clinic schedules are maximized through the appointment reminder system’s ability to automatically identify and offer schedule openings to patients.
- Acting as the “front-end," the appointment reminder system engages staff in real-time collaboration with the patient when necessary to further reduce costs and drive efficiency.
Chronic Disease Management: An ambulatory clinic has instituted a long-term program to assist diabetes patients in the management of their health. On a regular basis, patients are meet with clinical staff for the purpose of monitoring their weight, blood sugars, circulatory system and diet. Office visits are expensive and place a significant demand on the staff. The clinic staff also realizes that many of the patients find it difficult to physically come in due to economic, geographic, as well as health issues. Using an automated telephony-based information management system, the clinic is now able to proactively contact many of their patients and limit their trips to the clinic. Patients call and report key information such as blood sugar level and weight. The telecommunication system uses natural speech services to automatically prompt for key information, translate it into data and present it to the medical record system. Should the patient provide information that is worrisome, the system can alert the clinic staff so they are able to give immediate attention to the patient. Patients are able to more conveniently and consistently provide the clinic with the information necessary to track and manage their disease while clinical costs are reduced – all without the need for expensive in-home equipment or communication networks.