AcuteCare Telemedicine Blog


Looking Backwards to See Ahead – Part 2: Accountability & Relationships

This is another in a series of blogs chronicling the development of AcuteCare Telemedicine (ACT). Much of this reflection involves lessons learned at 2011’s Annual Meeting of the American Telemedicine Association (ATA). What follows is an amalgam of facts, experience and opinions culled from that fantastic symposium and honed by hindsight. Today’s blog will focus on ACT’s approach to accountability and relationships.

Accountability refers to the promise of optimal healthcare outcomes while maintaining an expected return on investment. Patient and physician satisfaction are cornerstones of accountability, but to depend solely on these measures has become passé. Administrators want measurable financial and clinical outcomes, and to obtain and retain clients, will expect supporting data for all assertions.

One must constantly seek meaningful measures of the services promised; encounter surveys gather data on every patient interaction, regardless of outcome. This data measures service utilization (e.g. stroke vs non-stroke, tPA vs. non-tPA, etc.) and efficiency (e.g. response time, “door to needle” time, etc). Constant focus on patient outcome requires frequent Mordibity & Mortality conferences. This leads to continuing education, reduced miscommunication and shared responsibility. Finally, financial impact (more specifically than simply “satisfaction”) can be obtained with quarterly or annual reviews of year-to-date ICD-10 referenced charges or admissions. However, emotionally powerful patient anecdotes must complement the sterile numbers. It is this human component that provides the raison d’etre, separating telemedicine from any number of telecommunication ventures.

Accountability also extends to the development and maintainance of relationships with ACT’s clients. A client considering telestroke invests significant time and capital and must undergo a fundamental paradigm shift regarding what constitutes optimal patient care. To facilitate this endeavor, a telemedicine service needs to become as integrated as possible into the culture of its remote partners. One cannot afford to simply be the latest technological gimmick, but rather must provide an approachable solution.

Frequent contact is paramount and must not be limited to patient encounters. Not all interaction can take place in the cloud; physical meetings allow remote presence technology to become an alternate mode of communication between colleagues, rather than a proxy for an actual relationship. Communication is the foundation of every meaningful relationship. Listening to the client will uncover their goals and challenges.  The telemedicine service will integrate more fully with a remote partner, helping the client on their terms. This may result in vertical integration with mutually beneficial services including electrophysiology studies, clinical trials, medical directorships, etc.

Horizontal integration may include multiple disciplines such as telestroke, teleICU or telepsychiatry. Ultimately, integration into a client’s business model and culture is crucial for long-term sustainability. ACT assures clients are not simply invested in telemedicine services, but in their relationship with ACT.

 

 



Georgia Teleneurology Rebrands as AcuteCare Telemedicine

AcuteCare Telemedicine (ACT), an Atlanta-based healthcare provider specializing in treatment of acute strokes in underserved hospitals, launched a new brand as it gains market share in the industry.   AcuteCare, formerly Georgia Teleneurology (GTN), has pursued its mission of providing high-quality emergency neurological care via remote presence to Georgia hospitals lacking 24/7 coverage since September 2009.

The company rebranded in June 2011, officially changing its name to AcuteCare Telemedicine maintaining its uncompromising dedication to deliver the highest quality of neurological care to those it serves.  ACT is positioned to become a nationwide leader in the practice of telemedicine.

ACT’s success is largely due to the 4 partners who happen to be board certified neurologists with over 50 years of combined experience.  Dr. Matthews Gwynn, Dr. Lisa Johnston, Dr. James Kiely, and Dr. Keith Sanders have a proven track record managing patients with neurological emergencies, particularly acute stroke, via remote presence technology.  As a result, ACT has contributed to improved patient outcomes.

“We are excited about the launch of our new brand reflective of our personality,” comments Dr. Kiely. “Our mission and intention is clear.  ACT is driving force in the industry, known for quality and commitment to our craft.  The rebrand is a component of that.”

As the landscape of medicine continues to evolve, the need for acute neurological care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year is critical.  In addition to increased patient benefit, ACT also provides an opportunity for hospitals to serve acute neurological patients, ultimately impacting revenue growth.

To learn more about ACT, visit www.acutecaretelemed.com.