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Is it Time to Adopt Telemedicine in Your Practice?

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MeMD was recently featured on “America’s Backbone” – a go-to resource for business owners looking to better their businesses with the latest technology, strategies and more.

Read the feature below…

by Keith Loria

The key to a successful healthcare equation today is better care at a lower cost, so business as usual just won’t cut it. Telemedicine changes the equation. Used properly, telemedicine can expand access and save costs.

Telemedicine is becoming popular thanks to the ubiquity of Internet-connected mobile devices, combined with video communication applications such as Skype and Facetime – and the time-saving convenience of receiving healthcare at home. Even private health insurance reimbursement policies are becoming more favorable toward telemedicine.

Telemedicine allows providers to increase their patient population and expand the services offered to those patients, as well as expand into other areas of healthcare such as patient monitoring and chronic disease management.

Cahit Akin, CEO of Mushroom Networks, a San Diego, Calif.-based company providing innovative networking solutions, says telemedicine is fast becoming a vital part of the medical industry, thanks to both real- and non-real time medical information transferring.

“Once a doctor has saved the life of a stroke patient being rushed to the nearest hospital in an ambulance enabled by a live video communication system within the ambulance, there is no going back,” he says. “The amplification power of being able to bring the medical professional to where the patients are and not vice versa, can save lives and in some cases may enable the only method available for a patient to be treated by an expert.”

Like any new technology changing the established way of doing things, there will be friction within the industry, regulatory hurdles, and technical challenges.

“Being able to constantly monitor various signals and measurements via sensors and pushing them into the cloud for further analysis, or having a reliable communication channel between the medical professional and the patient are all challenges for communication technology companies,” Akin says. “Security, reliability and performance of the underlying infrastructure need to be adequate for the applications to work as they are supposed to.”

Dr. John Shufeldt, an emergency medicine practitioner in Phoenix, Ariz., created MeMD, an urgent care-based telemedicine company providing a virtual consultation platform to patients. According to Dr. Shufeldt, 60% of the ailments that send people to an urgent care and 35%-45% of what sends people to emergency rooms can be taken care of through MeMD.

“MeMD is taking the lead in the high tech house-call option. Imagine being diagnosed with the flu from the comfort of your own home. No need to drag your sniffling self to a doctor’s office and wait for what seems like an eternity to get your five minutes of face time with the physician,” he says. “A virtual doctor visit also cuts down on the chances you expose someone else to your sickness.”

Additionally, with new mandates to provide 24/7 real-time medication reviews, hospitals — particularly in rural areas — need ways to offer more pharmacist coverage without increasing staffing budgets.

Brian Roberts, CEO of PipelineRx, which delivers cognitive medication management services focused on clinical telepharmacy to acute care hospitals, says as healthcare moves towards an outcomes-based economy, hospitals are being asked to provide more and better patient care for less. This is particularly important for smaller rural hospitals that have fewer resources to begin with.

“Telepharmacy allows hospitals to optimize their operating budgets, making sure they’re allocating the most efficient resources possible to patient care,” he says. “Rather than paying to staff full-time pharmacists during off-peak hours, hospitals can pay for expert remote pharmacist coverage which costs as little as 30 percent of the cost of a full-time employee.”

Telemedicine is already reducing costs and improving access, making it easier for more people to get personal doctor time. Now is a great time to see if telemedicine could help your business.

Original Publication:
Is it Time to Adopt Telemedicine in Your Practice?

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