As recently as 10 years ago, telemedicine was generally thought of as the ability for remote clinicians to conduct phone consults, meaning a phone interaction with patients or with another physician on a remote basis. That is no longer the case. Advancements in telecommunications coupled with 1) the growth of video technology, 2) the general acceptance of consumer-type applications such as Skype or FaceTime, and 3) the normalization of video-to-video communications, have transformed the very definition of telemedicine. Today, most people expect telemedicine to be more of a video-to-video exchange.
This new paradigm in adoption can be seen across the healthcare continuum, including the acute setting where response time is critical and patient care is more complex. A few short years ago, the notion that telemedicine could be deployed effectively in a clinically complex case such as a critically ill stroke patient was a fairly foreign concept.
The industry remained skeptical regarding this type of use of telemedicine until recently. Today, data exists that demonstrates why a comprehensive telemedicine program can be good for business: significantly reducing a hospital’s response time in a consistent and sustainable manner; improving coverage and volume; reducing operational costs; and generating actionable data for further improvement. [Read more…]