AcuteCare Telemedicine Blog


Opening the Dialogue to Better Care

Amidst much confusion and debate about plotting the best course towards achieving the so-called ‘triple-aim’ of increasing quality, improving patient satisfaction, and reducing costs, the healthcare community is struggling with communications amongst payers, vendors, and providers. Creating initiatives that encourage the development of more efficient, more sustainable healthcare requires the participation of all these entities in an ongoing conversation.

For physicians, making the ecosystem more intelligent is not exactly a simple proposition. Focused on delivering care, doctors typically do not have affinities for nor access to the kinds of information readily available to payers and vendors, such as performance metrics, analytics, and risk management considerations. Fostering an environment in which this data and knowledge can be openly shared is a pivotal step in helping doctors operate smarter.

As eHealth and the growth of telemedicine begin to significantly impact the delivery of care, the healthcare industry must address questions as to how physicians can better access these insights and be stimulated to embrace best practices, as well as how plan members can be similarly empowered to make better decisions. The answers come in the form of more open dialogue. Each party needs to share a similar, if not identical perspective on what constitutes quality to effectively collaborate.

With an ever-expanding arsenal of tools and knowledge at their disposal, physicians must call upon available resources in the form of industry partners to take advantage of this opportunity. The result will be a more intelligent system that benefits the entire network.



An Instant Second Opinion

When citizens of a past age first envisioned practical telemedicine in 1924, the images and words on display at Worlds’ Fairs and in magazines likely seemed outlandish – a very optimistic and very distant look into the future. Few could have imagined that technology would make such great strides as to allow the development of a widely implemented network of functioning telemedicine programs less than a century later. Other futurists over the years have dreamed big, pushing forward medical innovation by imagining things like cure-all superdrugs and efficient and clean and precise surgery without a scalpel that are, believe it or not, now becoming reality as well.

As thought-provoking as these examples are, few of these big ideas are in actuality as practical or realistic as the avenues that have been opened for physician collaboration by advances in technology. Collaboration may be a lower impact medical advance than, say, leaps in prosthetics technology, but today, hospital leaders and physicians work considerably more interdependently to improve clinical outcomes and simultaneously combat healthcare logistical challenges and expenses. Increased capacity for collaboration is a major improvement enabled by powerful new telecommunication technologies that allow live consultation between physicians, regardless of distance, and unites the many individuals involved in any one patient’s care.

Telemedicine programs have helped hospital administrators create a better practice environment that results in improved recruiting and retention and fosters a virtuous cycle of better patient care and financial outcomes. One of the greatest advances simply by facilitating two-way conversation for professionals who are used to talking at each other instead of with each other. Collaboration is, in reality, the most tangible of telemedicine’s many benefits.