telemedicine benefits

Digital Health Is Inevitable

Digital Health Is Inevitable 768 487 Exist Software Labs

Like most businesses, the strategies adopted by hospitals and clinics seem self-serving.  Yet oftentimes, the one that successfully brings a good business return in investment, are those that put the customer both front and center. Despite reluctance, digital health is one of those strategies that will greatly empower patients and drive innovations as well.

Improving healthcare access remains elusive and the Covid pandemic has made it even more difficult. The demand for care services is unlikely to dip.  For healthcare providers, adopting innovative strategies like standardized digital practices can create efficiencies and improve service deliveries that will lead to savings which could help drive costs and make care more affordable. 

As if to belabor the point on the fragmentation that has long plagued healthcare, Reddy, and Jannsens write, “the Covid-19 crisis has prepared the ground for widespread adoption of digital healthcare solutions” that requires a fundamental rethinking in the use of digital platforms around key themes that include:

      • Information transparency.  The use of health registries to create a single source of truths for all stakeholders especially the patient reduces administrative burden as well as to enjoin patients in managing their medical care proactively.
      • Interoperability.  Holistic not siloed. Disparate patient records will remain an age-old problem as long as records remain in paper making collaboration and standardization of care difficult and costly. 
      • Claims processing.  One word. Fraud. Transparent systems that support faster validation make a whole world of difference for the operations of care providers.
      • Change from episodic to wellness-oriented care; from service-based to value-based healthcare.  These two healthcare ideals deserve an article of their own but to simplify, these are about preventive health maintenance (prevention cost way less than cure) and results-based care incentives (better, not unguaranteed, care outcomes)  both of which disrupt the payment model.

Overall, digital platforms will change care delivery models, like how telemedicine has abruptly transformed the patient visit.  The world is looking at unprecedented change caused by this pandemic and healthcare players will have important decisions to make if they are to survive, thrive, or perish in this new normal.

https://www.financialexpress.com/opinion/digital-health-mission-a-200-billion-opportunity-ndhm-will-greatly-empower-patients/2095337/

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The Next-Level Gameplay in Healthcare

The Next-Level Gameplay in Healthcare 768 487 Exist Software Labs

The healthcare industry is experiencing an immense paradigm shift as the world battles against the global health crisis.

Such turn of tides pressed health institutions and other concerned parties to rethink how they will carry out their duties, both to achieve more efficient outcomes and to curtail the spread of the unseen virus. In Asia alone, governments are implementing measures differing from one another, which results in contrasting ramifications, both successful and unsuccessful.

The Philippines’ Department of Health recently issued the Administrative Order 2020-037 or the Guidelines on Implementation of Local Health Systems Maturity LevelsThe order aims to provide local health units with a health information management system that can support the needs of all health care providers in the Philippines during and even post-pandemic. Among the maturity indicators is an EMR system integrated with a telemedicine service.

An account wherein a person snip-snaps on the idea of consulting to a medical professional during this dire time in the health sector is not an untold tale. The pandemic sparked fear of going outside the house, more so, of going to health facilities possibly packed with infectious pathogens.

Virtual visits through telemedicine should now be an option, especially for patients with chronic diseases and those living with immuno-compromised individuals, babies, or senior citizens. Moreover, telemedicine also helps with real-time tracking and monitoring of possible asymptomatic virus carriers.

According to healthcareitnews.com, nearly 80% of cardiology, gastroenterology, pulmonology, and respiratory physicians said that their use of virtual care technology had increased during the pandemic. More than half of which are not using telemedicine before the crisis. Furthermore, more than three-quarters of them said they would continue to use virtual care technology in the future.

The above data clearly shows how COVID heightened the demand for telemedicine services and will continue to support healthcare providers beyond the pandemic. It delivered on its promise of reducing person-to-person transmission, relieving the burden of the overworked care providers, and providing easier access to quality healthcare for patients who cannot meet their respective physicians.

Different countries around the globe have seen how telemedicine can help in reducing the threat/effects of COVID. Indonesia, for example, declared a shortage of protective gears and medical practitioners, with only three (3) doctors for every 10,000 Indonesians, and limited healthcare facilities. The government of Indonesia then directed its citizens to telehealth firms who can offer verified medical guidance, provide consultations via telephone or text, and prescribe medications and have them delivered to the patients who need them.

Vietnam, one of the few Asian countries to manage the COVID threat, also launched its first official telemedicine application as part of its valuable tools/gears in fighting the pandemic.

These case studies show how technology, particularly telemedicine, serves an important role in the global health battle. It is no longer just a band-aid solution but an inevitable future, that although in-person visits have their fair share of benefits, embedding telemedicine as an integral part of healthcare is a must-have level up – an upgrade that all care providers must consider.

 

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What You Need to Know: Telemedicine Benefits and Disadvantages

What You Need to Know: Telemedicine Benefits and Disadvantages 768 487 Exist Software Labs

If you are not aware yet, the practice of medicine is in the midst of a reckoning forced by a global pandemic with every response designed to reduce the risk of viral transmission. While telemedicine has been around for quite some time, only now has it become less of an option but more of mandatory service. Read below to learn more about the benefits and disadvantages of telemedicine for patients as well as providers.

Telemedicine, or telehealth, is medical care that you can receive digitally often via video conferencing that replaces seeing a doctor in person.

Benefits to Patients 

      • Convenience and Access: The benefits of telemedicine include reducing geographic barriers, improving access to care, cutting down on travel time, and preventing the spread of illness. Even if you live near a doctor, telemedicine can be more convenient than traditional office visits. It eliminates travel time, cuts down on waiting rooms, and allows for more flexible scheduling outside of regular office hours. Telemedicine improves access to medical care especially those with limited mobility, such as people with a spinal cord injury or neuromuscular disorders.
      • Prevents the spread of infection or illness: More people are opting to use telehealth services now because it limits potential exposure to infection. This can be especially useful for those who are considered high risk, like the elderly population or people with pre-existing medical conditions
      • Telemedicine allows for easy management of chronic illness: With remote patient monitoring, some chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure can be more easily managed. For example, some patients can use at-home devices – like blood pressure cuffs, digital scales, and blood glucose monitors – to record vital data that can be digitally transferred to your doctor.

Benefits for healthcare providers

      • Keeps business of providing medical care in business: It’s not just the commercial establishments that are bearing the brunt of a business downturn during the pandemic. Even care institutions are negatively affected by COVID19.  Having to deal with the surge in patients in reference to the adequacy of personnel is well documented. But other than treating infection cases, the need for other medical specializations services plummeted.  Telemedicine enables these providers to continue the medical practice. Providers who offer telemedicine services may incur fewer overhead costs. For example, they may pay less for front desk support or be able to invest in an office space with fewer exam rooms.
      • Additional revenue stream: Clinicians may find that telemedicine supplements their income because it allows them to provide care to more patients.
      • Less exposure to illness and infections: When providers see patients remotely, they do not have to worry about exposure to any pathogens the patient may carry.

However, telehealth can’t completely replace in-person visits for chronic or special medical conditions. Someone with diabetes will still need an annual in-person eye exam and patients who just had surgery will need to be personally seen to check for progress.

Telemedicine has limitations and may not suit every person or situation. Compared to traditional care methods, a doctor cannot “feel” the patient (think abdominal examination), which is why traditional office visits must not be abandoned, but rather supplemented through telemedicine.

The following sections look at some disadvantages for patients and healthcare providers.

Disadvantages for patients

Not all patients can be a good fit for telemedicine. Some drawbacks of this include:

      • Securing medical data: Increased chances of hackers and other criminals to be able to access a patient’s medical data, especially if the patient accesses telemedicine on a public network or via an unencrypted channel.
      • Urgent Care delays: When a person needs emergency care, accessing telemedicine first may delay treatment, particularly since a doctor cannot provide life-saving care or laboratory tests digitally.

Disadvantages for healthcare providers

Healthcare providers may also face some drawbacks associated with telemedicine, including:

      • Technological issues: Finding the right digital platform to use can be challenging. Also, a weak connection can make it difficult to offer quality care. Clinicians must also ensure that the telemedicine program they use is secure and fully compliant with privacy laws.
      • An inability to examine patients: Providers must rely on patient self-reports during telemedicine sessions. This may require clinicians to ask more questions to ensure that they get a comprehensive health history. If a patient leaves out an important symptom that might have been noticeable during in-person care, this can compromise treatment.

Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/telemedicine-benefits#disadvantages

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Telemedicine is House Call 2.0

Telemedicine is House Call 2.0 768 487 Exist Software Labs

It used to be that doctors were the ones doing the consult visits and by the patient bedside performing a medical consultation.  In modern times, these were replaced with the patient’s going to doctors’ offices and interaction was now happening across the desk. Factoring infection risks and patient comfort, telemedicine provides a necessary alternative — one which may soon become the norm.

The trip to the doctor, a rather uneasy experience for most people, suddenly turns to be a thing of the past.  The threat of COVID has put everyone on alert that even periodic out-patient visits have to be second-guessed in light of the risks. Unsustainability and population growth have put an end to doctors doing house calls in the same way that the threat of infection prevents people from showing up in clinics or hospitals.

Regardless of one’s attitude towards the use of technology, it is without a doubt that it has been part and parcel of the way that the practice of medicine continues to evolve.   Lab equipment and imaging machines aside, medicine and technology go hand in hand and would continue to do so. Right now, it teams up once again to bring the patient and the doctor together via a screen display.

While there are certain situations where a personal visit is warranted, the use of telemedicine presents a valuable tool in limiting the risks, especially in today’s pandemic.  Though talking to a screen would seem to replace the warmth of face-to-face interaction, the cold reality is that telemedicine provides each participant with a level of comfort by being in familiar surroundings.  Truth be told, it is probably not telemedicine that makes this interaction awkward because talking virtually with friends is certainly something most of us would look forward to.

Whether face to face or virtual, logic dictates that people heighten their guards when discussing serious topics, and talking about a health issue does fit into that category.  A smoker would certainly feel less comfortable being visited in his home by his pulmonologist because it exposes the reality that despite the advice, evidence at home would probably present more of an embarrassment.  For years, the privacy of a doctor’s office serves the patient more than the doctor.  Using telemedicine, a peek into the patient’s environment seems possible – which yields more valuable information (eg. senior citizens and home hazards like stairs, etc.) but only for those patients who have developed stronger relationships with their providers.

“In essence, COVID-19 has allowed us to lower our psychological barriers to the adoption of technology,” Professor Vishall Ahuja says. “All of a sudden, we realize we’re not as inflexible as we thought we were. We’re not as tech-adverse as we were. Necessity is the mother of invention.”

 

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Improving Healthcare Quality

Improving Healthcare Quality 768 487 Exist Software Labs

If there is a word often used (and abused) in marketing, it is the word ‘quality’.  Why not?  Positive quality connotes class, distinction, and a cut above the rest.  More often than not, it also subtly echoes what being upscale is as opposed to bargain type items as well as services.  From the abstract (one’s life) to the mundane (pencil, paper, computers), there is nothing quite as aspirational as shooting for superior quality.

In healthcare, patients, doctors, and care institutions pursue quality at every touchpoint.  Yet, knowing whether they’re (patient) getting or providing  (doctors, nurses, providers) quality care has always been a matter of debate.  Even medical professionals can’t always judge this. Quality management in health care works to measure the health benefits of doctors’ and hospitals’ work and improve patient outcomes.

Tip:

Quality management in health care works to reduce errors and improve patient care. The safety and effectiveness of treatment are two of the most critical measures of quality.

Mr. Fraser Sherman writes an excellent piece about the challenge of measuring quality in healthcare.  

Put simply he writes that, “Quality management in health care works to reduce errors and improve patient care. The safety and effectiveness of treatment are two of the most critical measures of quality.”

He writes further that formulating healthcare metrics is complicated in healthcare compared to other businesses dealing with bottom-line sales and revenues. In health care, different patients may have widely different problems, even in the same specialization such as OB-GYN or oncology. Despite similarities, treatment, and services to patients’ conditions have to be individually tailored, not mass-produced.

Despite this, health care quality is measurable!

According to Tefen Management Consulting, it’s the degree to which programs, policies, services, and research produce good health care outcomes and lead to conditions in which people can stay healthy. 

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) describes quality management in health care as a strategy or strategies that meet the needs of the industry’s customers, the patients.

You can read more on the informative piece here: https://smallbusiness.chron.com/quality-management-health-care-62136.html#socialshare

The effectiveness and safety of treatments are particularly important. Prioritizing quality management in these areas yields the best results.

Check out our healthcare product, MEDCURIAL, and see how it helped some of the biggest hospitals in the country provide better patient outcomes.