Diving into telemedicine: Webinar recap

Aug 4, 2017 / Telemedicine in the news /
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Here are the key takeaways for those who missed our July 2017 webinar.

As the healthcare landscape continues to change and more and more organizations are taking increasing advantage of technology, it's important to remember how beneficial telemedicine can be to your hospital. Last month, during our July 2017 webinar "Diving Into Telemedicine with Adventist Health," we discussed the various ways telehealth is being used globally to improve rural health, and some of the advantages of interoperable technologies.

Here's a recap for those who missed the webinar:

Key benefits to telemedicine implementation

There are a number of reasons to consider implementing a telemedicine program, according to Dan McCafferty, vice president of global sales and corporate development at AMD Global Telemedicine. Most commonly, telemedicine is used to fill gaps in patient care, remove patient barriers to receiving care, adhere to healthcare policy changes and reduce care costs. To best utilize telehealth, you must develop a strong strategy from the point of integration and beyond.

"In order to have a successful telemedicine program, you need to have a methodology to do it quickly, at a low cost, within a short time frame," stated McCafferty.

Importance of interoperable technologies

How do health care and telemedicine technologies work together to help you optimize your program? Interoperability is defined as different health information systems working together to successfully deliver effective care across the organization. The idea is that when multiple variables work simultaneously, they can properly accommodate any patient situation in a timely manner.

For example, those with EMR and video conferencing can use the two technologies in conjunction across multiple devices to provide care more effectively and efficiently.

Adventist Health's Virtual Care Network: How they got started and keys to success

Adventist Health is a faith-based, not-for-profit integrated health delivery system on the West Coast serving 20 hospitals with nearly 3,000 beds and more than 275 hospital-based, rural health and physician clinics. Adventist Health focuses on whole-person care - not only encouraging healthy individuals and families, but also thriving communities. Providing access between patients and providers through innovative, efficient, reliable and cost-effective technologies is their top priority.

Rob Marchuk, vice president of Ancillary Services at Adventist Health, stated that the company's strategy starts by creating an initiative. Analyze the clinic outpatient space, inpatient space, ancillary service support services and home monitoring and support services to develop a funnel and determine which service areas have the biggest need for telemedicine at the facility.

So what are the keys to successfully diving into telemedicine technology? Marchuk said that it starts with developing your vision. Deciding where you want to go, and how you want to get there.

"It's key to develop a strategic plan that clearly outlines what specialists, clinics, and technology you'll use, how you're going to implement training," he said. "It's significant, not only for the provider and how to be a virtual care provider, but especially for the clinics and how the medical assistant interacts with the patient."

A key ingredient to Adventist Health's strategy was their selection of AMD Global Telemedicine's equipment and technology. It was important to Adventist Health that the telemedicine technology they chose would work well with their clinical workflow practices, and could integrate with their EMR documentation.  Working together as partners, AMD Global Telemedicine, Adventist Health and Cerner were able to integrate the technology pieces together.

After developing your vision, align your health strategy across the enterprise, keep CEOs engaged, build clear internal and external marketing plans, focus on specific clinical problems and measure your success metrics. These are the steps to take to implement telemedicine and ensure the strategy is working successfully.

Watch the archived recording of the July 2017 webinar to learn more about interoperability and Adventist Health's vision.

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