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Innovative Ways Telemedicine Can Benefit Your Patients

By Lisa Mulcahy via Multibriefs

Using videoconferencing equipment to diagnose and evaluate patients at an ER or clinic is a well-established way to help patients experiencing a medical emergency.

Yet, research has also now established that telemedicine can also help patients dealing with chronic conditions manage their treatment much more easily. This will save both patients and doctors time and money.

Adapt these proven facts about telemedicine to benefit your organization's patients more effectively:

Telemedicine cuts hospital admissions.

A German study of over 1,500 heart failure patients found that a combination of PCP/specialist office visits and periodic telemedicine appointments lowered the number of days these patients spent in the hospital.

Mortality rates were also lower than heart failure patients, who did not experience digital face time with their physicians as well.

Telemedicine improves compliance.

Researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center report that 40 percent of patients with Parkinson’s disease don't see a neurologist after their diagnosis. This is because many of these patients live in rural areas, and can't handle the expense and effort involved in driving to a distant city to seek care.

The good news: patients in the study saw their neurologists regularly and on schedule through videoconferencing, which eliminates expensive travel issues.

Telemedicine improves a physician’s treatment and scheduling.

That same study found that since Parkinson’s disease treatment is highly visual — a doctor will mostly watch a patient hold an item, or move, in order to evaluate a patient’s current condition — using telemedicine allows for very effective, close, real-time evaluation.

There is also often more convenience for doctors when it comes to scheduling telemedicine appointments, too — a doctor can easily see a patient for a quick early morning check-up by video, for example, and thus have extra time to see an additional patient or patients later on.

Telemedicine is cost-effective.

Once a healthcare organization has invested in a one-time expense for video equipment, software, and IT support, telemedicine pays for itself and more, according to research from the UC Davis Health System. Pediatric video consults referred to in this research were, on average, $4,662 less expensive than traditional consults, for example.

Telemedicine is surprisingly personal.

Patients and caregivers speaking closely, and face to face, can quickly develop a warm rapport — and that kind of human connection fosters trust, and strong communication.

A study from the University of Missouri-Columbia found that 78 percent of patients surveyed who had experienced a telemedicine appointment would seek one again. That kind of satisfaction shows the power of both good personal care and technological innovation.

Lisa Mulcahy is an internationally established health writer whose credits include the Los Angeles Times, Redbook, Glamour, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Health, Good Housekeeping, Parade, Woman's Day, Family Circle and Seventeen. She is the author of eight best-selling books, including "The Essentials of Theater," an Amazon No. 1 new release.

 

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