AcuteCare Telemedicine Blog


A Better Model of Delivery Realized

We buy groceries, trade stocks, and chat with friends, surf and cultivate new relationships around the country and the world all without leaving our home or office. Yet seeing a doctor remains an old-fashioned routine: minutes of medical attention can cost hours spent in transit or in a waiting room, only to have a face-to-face with a doctor. The familiar choreography dates back several generations, virtually unchanged since treatment from your family physician moved from your home to his or her office, where the newest diagnostic equipment of the day and the best trained supporting staff could more efficiently provide the most up to date medical care for the time. The technology revolution has brought amazing new diagnostic equipment, treatments and medications over the past several decades, but until now the process of visiting the doctor has remained nearly the same.

Telemedicine involves locating available doctors over the Internet and connecting with them, at a moment’s notice. It lets a patient see a doctor whenever and wherever you want, freeing them to choose a doctor based on merit rather than location. It can also improve the quality of medical care and reduce costs and it works well for urgent care, ongoing diagnostic monitoring and illnesses that can be diagnosed and treated without personal contact with a care giver. Telestroke, the practice of providing emergency stroke care through telemedical technology has brought lifesaving care to patients who were once located outside of the golden hour of treatment and chronically ill patients who were accustomed to spending many hours of travel time to receive treatment for a variety of illnesses and injuries have realized a new level of convenience and quality of healthcare.

In 2010, telemedicine and telehealth appeared to be on the verge of an acceptance break though. Recognizing an oncoming shortage of physicians and escalating medical care costs, the healthcare community recognized how the technology could significantly impact the future medical care costs and streamline the delivery of a broad array of healthcare services. The benefits of a new technological healthcare delivery model faced some rather significant hurdles on its way to acceptance and meaningful implementation. Much of the healthcare infrastructure, fiscal processes and protective regulations, many in place for nearly a century, needed to be revised to take advantage of the promised benefits of telemedicine. Policymakers, politicians and those early doubters within the medical community are warming to the new model and once formidable barriers to the advancement of telemedicine are beginning to tumble. Removing process barriers may be the easy part of bringing the benefits of telehealth to the everyday life of patients, changing life-long rituals and perceptions associated with traditional medical care delivery may take a bit longer. Simply recognizing the benefits of telemedicine isn’t enough; patients must embrace the concept, understand how the features benefit them and motivate them to use it.

Some say that there is no substitute for the human touch and a healing bedside manner. Consumers will always insist on traditional, face to face encounters with their doctor. Yet the advantages, convenience in particular, of new technologies and cutting edge devices are being accepted and utilized by virtually all generations. Social interactions are now ongoing connections and rarely limited to special occasion or planned encounters. Acceptance and utilization of technology in medicine will advance as the options and variety of healthcare services, accessible and the benefits of convenience and costs are realized by more and more patients.

Regardless of the methods of delivery, those who choose to enter the practice of healthcare will still be motivated to do so by the desire to help others in need, to provide treatments to those who suffer the fates of life’s many malady’s and to save lives. Having to adjust their bedside manner to accommodate the medium of delivery will do little to deter their aspirations to heal others.

In the words of Thomas Nesbitt, the Associate Vice-chancellor for Technology at the University of California Davis Health System, “A lot of people think it’s about the technology, but it’s really about a new model of care that the technology facilitates.”



If “What” is the Point and “How” Gets Us to the Point, Does “Why” Really Matter?

Achievement of any goal or objective begins with the question: What’s the point?  The answer to the initial question sets forth the purpose for implementing an effort to move forward to an end, or an objective. How is the strategic means to achieving the objective and if the journey is successfully achieved, does it really matter “why” we set out on the mission from the beginning?

In a recent article by Ty Montague, CEO and co-founder of co: and author of “True Story: How to Combine Story and Action to Transform Your Business,” he expresses his views on the importance of “why” in terms of storytelling versus storydoing. Storytellers think of a story as the domain of the marketing team. A company’s story is thought to be separate from the corporate strategy and is most often expressed through advertising. Storydoers, on the other hand, think of their story as a strategic asset and a competitive advantage. The narrative of storydoing companies is advanced through every action they take and those companies tend to be on a mission to make the world a better place, a quest that transcends revenue development and maximization. Their customers see and feel this higher goal in everything the company does and it makes them magnetic, creating fierce loyalty in their customers. Leaders and associates of storydoer companies tend to find their work experiences richer and more deeply satisfying and growing evidence suggest that storydoer companies are more efficient businesses that perform better financially over time.

Perhaps the purest example of an industry of Storydoers is those who deliver the broad range healthcare services to their customers, or patients.  Undoubtedly healthcare is a business, a very expansive and lucrative business, and one which requires revenue in excess of cost, or profit, to survive, prosper and prevail in its mission.  But it remains an industry whose practitioners are overwhelmingly called to serve the profession because “why” really, really matters.

Dr. James M. Kiely, a partner in Atlanta Neurology, P.C., AcuteCare Telemedicine (ACT) and Medical Director of the Neurophysiology Departments at Northside Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital of Atlanta says, “I am so invigorated when I help a patient and help my Emergency Room (ER) colleagues. We make a real, immediate and meaningful difference every time we do our job. There are few people who can say that about their careers. I don’t like hyperbole but what we get to do every day for a living, rocks!”

“Why” matters.