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5 Ways Telemedicine Can Improve Your Practice Revenue

We all know telemedicine brings huge benefits to patient care - from improving care accessibility to reducing medication noncompliance and hospital readmissions.

But telemedicine can also be a path to better practice profitability. Adding telemedicine services to your practice can actually drive up your revenue.

TeleICU Experience - University of Utah

To respond to the growing need for intensivist support among many facilities in the mountain west, a new service has been created within the University of Utah Health Care's extensive Telehealth System. When a regional hospital lacks intensivist coverage, their primary ICU attending is out sick, the local pulmonologist goes on vacation, or an expanding community ICU service finds itself short-handed, the University of Utah’s TeleICU program is here to help.

The TeleICU program has been implemented for just over a year, with many success stories. Many patients who otherwise may have been transferred to a tertiary center have been able to stay in their community hospitals, near family and support systems, while providing revenue for the local hospital. This virtual intensivist coverage allows our affiliate facilities to function at the top of their skill set, and patients that do require transfer to a larger center can be more rapidly identified.

Need Telemedicine Services? We've Got You Covered.

The benefits of telemedicine and telehealth have been clearly supported over the past 20 years with more than 20,000 research papers published. Telemedicine reduces barriers to care, improves patient access to specialists, helps medical practitioners expand their practice reach, and can realize substantial cost savings for healthcare systems and patients.

As the technology has become more affordable and generic, and states enact parity legislation, the market for commercial telemedicine specialty services is exploding—and this can be a very good thing for healthcare systems, hospitals, clinics, and other organizations facing healthcare provider shortages. But with so many telemedicine service providers out there, the challenge is narrowing down the field to the one that will best fit your organization, your community, and your patients’ needs.

Modernizing Legacy Data Collection Systems for Telehealth Data & Reports

Are you thinking about moving data (e.g., patient files, images, telemedicine survey data) from that clunky old Yugo computer or storage system to a brand new shiny Ferrari system? Are those happy thoughts or are they clouded by dread and visions of digital monsters eating up all your data and laughing in your face? You are not alone.

Data migration can be painful but there are ways to lessen that pain with careful preparation. First let’s start with a few basic terms. Legacy data is what you have now and want to transfer. Data migration is the process of importing that data into the new system. Data cleansing is getting the old data ready to move – making it compatible with what the new system requires or expects. It’s this last part that is often the most difficult.

Do Patients Want Telemedicine? Of Course They Do!

We all know telemedicine works, that patients and providers like it, and that outcomes are increasingly being shown to be positive on a wide variety of measures. There are also lots of studies looking at patient groups and assessing whether they would accept and use telemedicine services. Most of these however are focused on a dedicated group of patients (e.g., the elderly, those with COPD) and don’t really capture the bigger picture.

Fostering Relationships & Building Telemedicine Programs

In Early September we had the pleasure and honor of conducting a telemedicine training event as a pre-session course before the Congreso de Telesalud Región de las Américas 2014 that was held in Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Dr. Pedro Ramos extended the invitation to us and he and his associates welcomed us with open arms and made our visit quite enjoyable. Four representatives of the Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) and Southwest Telehealth Resource Center (SWTRC) traveled to Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico to train a group of healthcare providers, share information and ideas, and learn about telemedicine programs in our neighboring country.

Choosing a Telehealth Provider

Are you thinking about getting into telemedicine, can’t find anyone to provide services or don’t know who to choose from once you do find some potential providers? This is not uncommon and can often be quite paralyzing in terms of jumpstarting your efforts. As telemedicine has grown exponentially over the past few years, so has the number of commercial companies providing services.

Parlez-vous Telemedicine?

It’s often enough just to keep up with what’s happening in your own local area in telemedicine, let alone keeping up with the world! However sometimes it’s easier than others, especially if your husband is French, reads Le Figaro regularly, and then sends you articles to read (although I must admit Google translate often helps with this last step!).

Telemedicine Talks in Unexpected Places

Telemedicine pops up in the most unexpected places! I was fortunate to attend the 4th International Conference on Information Technologies in Biomedicine (ITIB) in Kamień Śląski, Poland (a lovely little town northwest of Krakow which was a seat of knights and noblemen families in the past and where the castle in which St. Jacek was born is located – which is now a quaint conference center and sanatorium) and in addition to image analysis, computer-aided surgery, bioengineering, bioinformatics and signal analysis are 2 sessions dedicated to telemedicine!

ATA 2014 - Another Great Meeting!

It’s impossible to summarize the 2014 American Telemedicine Association meeting for those unable to attend as it was impossible to see the whole thing even for those attending! ATA grows every year and this year was no exception – it was huge and it was exciting!! Believe me when I say I got quite a cardiovascular workout running between sessions and up and down the stairs between the conference rooms and the Exhibit Hall – which was probably a half-mile long and filled with vendors!

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