AcuteCare Telemedicine Blog


Telemedicine as Beneficial as In-Person visits for Parkinson’s Patients

A recent article in Fierce Health Information Technology reports on a study that indicates that Parkinson’s patients who received treatment via telemedicine did not show a decline in quality of life when compared to typical in-clinic patients.  The new research published in JAMA Neurology aims to address the problem of the prevalent burden of neurological disorders paired with limited access to care by testing home telemedicine for patients with Parkinson’s’ disease.

Skeptics have long argued that taking the face time out of the medical care experience between doctor and patient would result in a lesser quality of care being delivered to patients and some physicians remain adamant that healthcare by remote control is no substitute for in-person doctor visits, particularly when a patient needs care for a serious problem.  While there still remains significant and justifiable sentiments among medical professionals that in-person visits with a doctor plays a crucial role in the quality of health care, the evidence is beginning to indicate that the advantages of telemedicine is chipping away at the real impact these in-person visits have on the quality of care.

The study’s authors admitted that a larger trial would be needed to show if clinical benefits of telemedicine are comparable to in-person care.  They also reported that telemedicine patients, on average, were saved roughly 100 miles of travel and 3 hours of time.  Lead author Ray Dorsey, an associate professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in the announcement. “If this proof-of-concept study is affirmed, the findings open the door to a new era where anyone anywhere can receive the care she or he needs. It appears we can use the same technology Grandma uses to chat with her grandson to provide her with valuable medical care in her home.”

There continues to remain many obstacles in the path of full blown acceptance of telemedicine as a quality health care delivery mechanism, but some long standing negative perceptions are beginning to fade away in response to increased successful utilization of the new technology.  With the promise of new, more accurate, comprehensive and sophisticated medical devices making their way into the market place, many more, well established opponents are sure to be challenged to defend their long standing positions and practices as it relates to delivering health care to their patients.



Beam Me Up, Doc!

Telemedicine, the rapidly developing application of clinical medical services utilizing today’s advanced communication technology, is moving forward at an escalating pace. Challenges to its wide spread implementation are being overcome with advancements and refinements to the technology. As physicians and patients concerns over the effectiveness of care and information security are addressed, the promises of lower cost, more accessible, quality, health care conducted via the internet is gaining popularity among healthcare providers and patients alike.

With the concept of telemedicine now having been successfully established, AcuteCare Telemedicine is utilizing the modern communication technology to enable personal neurology consultation when doctor and patient are in different locations. ACT makes urgent stroke care accessible for more patients and cost-effective for hospitals and clinicians. Expanding clinical services where physicians electronically treat patients directly without a clinician being present with the patient is the most logical next step in the technology’s progression.

Patients and physicians in Hawaii are now able to enroll in Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA) Online Care program where patients receive care from participating doctors who are scheduled to be reachable at that moment. HMSA says thousands of patients have registered, and in New York, about 10,000 individuals, most of them residents of the New York metropolitan area, can already get an online emergency consultation with emergency room physicians.

Jay Sanders, president emeritus of the American Telemedicine Association says, “Probably the most powerful aspect of telemedicine is improving access and improving the convenience of a lot of elements of healthcare, so, whether you’re talking about folks who would have a hard time getting to a specialist or whether you’re talking about someone who is in a jam and needs to see a doctor before they go on a business trip, telemedicine clinics are very valuable. These technologies are unlikely to replace office or hospital visits entirely”, says Sanders. “But they are tools physicians can add to an evolving ‘electronic black bag,’ as he calls it—the updated equivalent of the battered leather case brought along on house calls in a bygone age.



A Lens to View Technological Innovation in Healthcare

Keeping up with new technology feels like a sisyphean task. One way to think about technological innovation in healthcare is considering whether the innovation brings services to the patient or requires that the patient be brought to it. The former distributes care, while the latter centralizes it. Both have advantages; by distributing care, it is possible for many resources to contribute to care, and by centralizing care, treatment is focused at one site. Recognizing this technological dichotomy allows savvy hospitals to maximize their return on investment.

Dramatic improvements in radiology over the last 35 years exemplify centralizing care. New MRI and CT scanners dramatically improve our ability to diagnose complex conditions, but the machines’ bulk and expense mean that patients must be brought to them. The same rings true for the latest catheter-based therapies for heart and brain disease, requiring that the patient be brought to the specialized providers.

By contrast, telecommunications innovations distribute care, leading to improved patient outcomes regardless of locality. Translation services are a shining example: in the past, finding someone to translate a language like Amharic or Hmong was daunting, and in an emergency situation, it was simply unavailable. Thanks to new standards set by the Joint Commission, more attention will be paid to proper translation services. The Joint Commission standards reflect federal nondiscrimination laws regarding care of patients with limited English proficiency and recommend that patients be addressed in their preferred language. Now, thanks to successful providers such as CyraCom, dual handset phones can be brought to the bedside and certified translators in hundreds of languages are available in seconds

Telemedicine provides the best example of the power of distributive technological innovation. In stroke care, having experienced stroke neurologists readily available via telemedicine means that stroke patients have unlimited access to state of the art care. Being able to remotely conduct a video interview with the patient and family, examine the patient, and review the brain CT scan equates to faster and better care. AcuteCare Telemedicine’s stroke neurology experts, based in Atlanta, GA, contract with hospitals that need this type of coverage. By distributing care, these hospitals successfully avail their patients with top notch care and reduce treatment times, all while conserving a vital resource: the fossil fuel needed to physically bring the neurologist to the hospital.