We are in 2017 and we are still waiting for the flying car (well, the one we can afford). However, a futuristic vision is not just here – it has become a way of life.
I am talking about video communication.
Of course, applications like Skype and FaceTime have been popular for a long time. But recently, video has exploded in the business world like never before. (Ask any Cisco employee where we would be without WebEx.)
And nowhere are the benefits of video more intense than in health care. According to the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), more than 15 million Americans receive medical care remotely, and this number is expected to grow.
Routine doctor visits can now be performed from any location – home, car, office and beyond. Patients can get expert consultations from world-renowned experts, even if they live in the middle of nowhere. A sure sign of success? Many payers board covering virtual appointments.
But there are still some hurdles to overcome before this new technology becomes routine.
The attitudes of patients and providers vary
Not everyone is yet ready to embrace telemedicine. In a recent survey Medscape 61% of patients said they were comfortable receiving prescriptions based on electronic or video visits – but only about half (30%) of the doctors were sick. agree to be prescribed a digital consultation. The perceived liability risk can play an important role in this attitude: In the same survey, 60% of the providers mentioned the problems of malpractice and liability as a barrier.
But doctors seem to see the promise of technology. A slim majority (54%) of the survey providers agreed with the statement: "Telemedicine can adequately assess patients for common medical problems, such as follow-up consultations or the follow-up. management of a chronic disease. "
Another survey conducted by the ATA, interviewed 429 patients on their use of telemedicine. While only 22% had actually used it, almost all said that they wanted to receive care remotely. The biggest obstacle? Their provider did not offer it, or they did not know how to find a supplier who did it.
Clearly, consumer demand is there. Suppliers are shipping slowly. Now, it's not a question of if, but when telemedicine becomes as ubiquitous as email or texting.
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First steps with telemedicine
Ready to join the revolution of telemedicine? One of the keys to your success is to ensure that everyone in your organization is enthusiastic and integrates your plan. Here are some tips for overcoming obstacles and hesitations.
1. To obtain a buy-in, communicate value: not only to C-Suite but also to suppliers.
Consider all stakeholders who may be affected by your plan. Be prepared to share your answers to the following questions:
What are the objectives of the organization in terms of telemedicine? Is it to reduce costs, increase convenience, improve patient outcomes, reduce burn-out among physicians and / or grow the business? Share the details. (These are all potential benefits of telemedicine – visit ATA for more information.)
What ROI do you expect as an organization in one year, five years, ten years? Help them visualize the long-term benefits.
How will you help reduce liability risks for suppliers? Is your insurance policy up-to-date? Are there any problems with the license? How will you respond to security? Knowing these answers can help relieve the anxiety of the provider.
2. Get a champion (or a champions' committee).
Look for enthusiastic providers of telemedicine and encourage them to share information with their colleagues. These people can also serve as an implementation committee once your telemedicine program is up and running.
3. Launch a patient education campaign.
Study after study shows that patients want telemedicine but do not know where to get it – or do not know if their insurance policy covers it. Make sure that they know not only that it exists, but that they also understand how to access it.
4. Have the right technology – or a plan to acquire it.
Can your network manage increased bandwidth – and is it secure? What about video quality? How will your system work with other technologies already in place? It is essential that you ensure a smooth transition for your end users.
There is a lot to think about when setting up telemedicine in your organization, but there are also many rewards to be won. Do you have questions about the technological aspect of your plan? Cisco is here to help you. Contact us to learn more about our solutions, such as Extended Care that can help you join the telehealth movement.
And check out this case study that demonstrates the value of using telemedicine for a renowned specialist consultation, even if the patient lives in a rural location, hundreds of kilometers away .
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