If you are keeping up with health industry news, then you are aware that telemedicine has become commonplace in hospitals, particularly TeleStroke and TeleNeuroHospitalist rounding. As more and more hospital administrators face increased stroke cases and a shortage of neurologists on staff, every medical facility needs responsive solutions to keep up with its competition and prevent expensive patient transfers and possible financial distress.
As the introduction of telemedicine services begin, you may find that cultural readiness is one of the main topics of concern among the facility executives. How your staff views telemedicine and how the bedside providers embrace telehealth are two crucial conversations to have as your team moves closer to implementing telemedicine into your facility.
If there is hesitation from the executive staff regarding the cultural readiness of the hospital’s medical team and this is what has hindered your facility from delving into the technology world of telemedicine, here’s something to consider: According to the Medical Journal of Critical Care, nearly 75% of nurses believe that telemedicine increases patient survival. In instances of stroke or other emergent neurology, if a neurologist is not available to see a patient on site, TeleStroke can be utilized to increase the chances of a patient’s full recovery or even save their life. As Dr. Adam Heller, Partner and VP of Clinical Operations at TeleSpecialists, has said: “A neurologist is a neurologist no matter where you are.” TeleStroke can play a vital part when it comes to timely and effective patient care in a stroke situation.
Often, we have come across medical teams with concerns that telemedicine is lacking the “human factor” of medicine. Studies have shown that in cases where physicians know that they must break difficult news to the patient, the physician will usually request a social worker, nurse or hospital chaplain to be in the room to offer support to the patient. Having the physician on screen keeps the conversation clear and concise, and having moral support in the patient’s room hopefully makes the news less difficult for the patient.
Ensuring the hospital staff is psychologically prepared is essential; however, you may find that it’s not as big of a concern as you may think. The use of telemedicine and TeleStroke opens the possibility for many new services so it will bring about change within the hospital organization and staff. However, according to a study done by the publication TeleMedicine and e~Health, cultural readiness was not an issue when implementing telemedicine into hospitals, it was the lack of preparedness during the implementation process such as billing, technology, and the go-live phase.
Once everyone is on board, the question remains: How does a hospital facility successfully make that transition from a traditional face-to-face consultation to telemedicine? Well, according to the experts, you must align your hospital leaders to determine goals. Studies have shown us that proper implementation is critical. Here’s what you can expect from TeleSpecialists to ensure a smooth go-live.
Our physician leadership consists of board-certified neurologists highly trained in their field. The implementation team will work with your hospital’s staff to best design an integrated stroke care telemedicine plan. TeleSpecialists will utilize Lean management tools like Value Stream Mapping to identify and remove any inefficiencies and minimize variability in your hospital’s processes. Providing this will result in a lean and efficient environment for your hospital’s telemedicine stroke alerts.
To decrease inconsistencies in care, the stroke team will create standardized workflow processes for every single point of time during a stroke alert. Once this is trained, tested and implemented, each team member will see the immediate benefit of knowing their tasks with the overall goal of no waiting and no delays. Think of a NASCAR pitstop where everyone has a task and must do this task quickly and effectively; your team will run like a perfect pitstop. The facility can improve patient care and avoid expensive patient transfers. This new workflow and the resulting improvement of your quality metrics will pave the way to increased hospital revenue.
Ultimately the success of your telemedicine services will be rooted in the team effort between the organization staff and the quality of the implementation team. After services go live, a Quality Program Specialists is assigned to monitor metrics and provide recommendations to ensure the highest level of service.
If you would like more information on how TeleSpecialists can assist you with launching your hospital’s telemedicine / TeleStroke program or learn more about our organization, please call us at 866.785.7769.