I always loved Star Trek. Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock staring out into expanse of space ahead of them. Ready to take on any new challenge that the stars may have held for them.
Whether it is Klingons, a plasma storm or USS Enterprise malfunction, the crew was always prepared for the unexpected; the technological changes, for the new frontier. Now as I have put away my Star Trek gear (well at least stashed it so my wife won’t see it), I seek new frontiers in the realm of Medical Consulting. Seeking to boldly go where no one has gone before specifically, I am leading medical practices into Telemedicine, The Medical Practice New Frontier.
While Telemedicine is not an uncharted galaxy, having been around in small form since the 1940s, it is a landscape that many physicians and medical practices have been slow to explore. The perceived obstacles being the Klingon battle cruiser viewed as straight ahead.
Some of the Perceived Obstacles of Telemedicine
- Expensive Technology/Software Requirements
- Staff Training Needs
- Increase of Physician Time Commitment
- Loss of Patient Satisfaction
While the perceived obstacles are legitimate, they are not entirely correct or insurmountable. In fact quite the opposite is true. As Mr. Spock often pointed out, “Change is the essential process of existence”.
The truth is like it or not, Telemedicine is coming like an asteroid destined to converge with the existing medical practice landscape.
The questions however are:
Do we try to avoid the impact?
Or, do we teleport onboard and ride the new star to the galaxy ahead?
But what about the benefits?
In my opinion, the latter is the true adventure to embrace. Telemedicine is the new frontier. And the reasons it is most inhabitable or should I say profitable, is that the benefits are truly galaxy changing.
Benefits of Telemedicine
Technology is Catching Up – As the market expands the technology and software required is becoming more accessible. eVisit and Exam Med are leaders in the Telemedicine platform industry, for example offers packages that are affordable for each physician or medical practice’s individual needs (and offers extraordinary online support). Azalea Health and Advanced Med are industry leaders that have Telemedicine suites as part of their EMR/PM systems. Secure Reach is a way that patients can be notified of the need for a visit to the physician and offered the possibility of a Telemedicine visit.
The net results of any of these solutions to a practice are:
- Increased Revenue
- Increased profitability
- Improved Patient Satisfaction
- Improved Outcomes
- Improved PQRS Scores
In addition, much of the Telemedicine framework overall is using devices most physicians, staff and patients already are accustomed to and have on hand (smartphones, computers, tablets and laptops).
Star Captain Training is Available and Not Time Consuming – Contrary to belief, staff training for Telemedicine is not normally a long commitment. As most of the devices currently being used in the medical office technology landscape, training is usually only limited to the software itself. Time commitment for a standard training session is normally merely a couple hours to one-day requirement. In addition, online medical technology, instructional support for these platforms is becoming progressive as well, offering online (chat) messaging, webinars, podcasts and video options for user support.
Physicians Are Teleporting to Greater Benefits – Physicians who have teleported to the planet of Telemedicine are seeing amazing benefits after taking that “Giant Leap” for mankind. Physicians are finding that the stress level and urgency of seeing 24 patients a day for five days a week to keep a practice financially stable is no longer applicable in the Telemedicine world. Patient follow-up care can be accomplished in a matter of three hours a day with a five-minute phone call that’s an average of 36 patients in three hours on one day.
Patients are No Longer Klingons – Patients by far may be the biggest winners when it comes to Telemedicine. No longer are patients limited to losing time from work, fighting traditional-rush hour traffic to make it to a medical office packed with sick patients. Patients can schedule appointments to take place in the comfort of their home or office. Experiencing less time off from work, less stress from travel and MORE comfort from being in their own environment. Patient satisfaction soars. In addition, patients experience a more personal one-on-one patient engagement with their doctors and are more apt to stay on course with their treatment program.
Full Speed Ahead Scotty – While the galaxy of Telemedicine is unfamiliar for medical practices, it should be embraced as an adventure. With the crew of Southern Medical Consultants’ Group, the course ahead can be exciting and open up the Milky Way of profitability. With a star fleet of knowledge, experience and resources Southern Medical Consultants Group truly is the “Starship Enterprise” of medical consulting.