Years ago doctors made house calls. If you were sick, you contacted your doctor and he/she saw you at home and prescribed whatever was needed for your illness. They had office hours but would actually visit in the evening or after hours. In a way, doctors are again making house calls via telemedicine.
We visited Nemours Children’s Hospital in Lake Nona and received a demonstration of their telemedicine program. Nemours has partnered with telehealth provider American Well to offer patients on line consultations. This year, patients will be able to connect with a Nemours provider via the Internet or a mobile application. The telemedicine initiative will be focused on urgent care to help patients and families avoid long trips and to also cut down long waiting times in emergency rooms, which will save patients and hospitals money. Families will be able to pay for the telehealth visit with a credit or debit card at the time of service. Nemours goal is to network the state of Florida to provide service to areas and hospitals that do not have a pediatric specialist.
A number of other telehealth initiatives are taking place throughout the United States to better serve rural populations and small hospitals. MEdSim has highlighted a number of initiatives in our daily online medical news.
That is but one example of how healthcare and hospitals are changing. Technology will help with record keeping, billing, charting, ordering supplies and being able to monitor patients, for example. However, the real key to hospitals is the performance of the individuals who make up the hospital community. Each member of the team must perform to maximum efficiency and know and do their task to the best of their ability to improve patient safety and provide quality care.
Technology can make the team’s life simpler but education and training of staff from sanitation engineers to surgeons is the key to success.
The medical community and hospitals in particular are facing a number of challenges during the remainder of 2015. The ICD-10 transition will affect physicians practice and hospitals, from software upgrades, to patient registration and referrals, to clinical documentation and billing. With the compliance date (October 1, 2015) quickly approaching, CMS has developed a video to help train staffs and hospitals are using different strategies to achieve compliance.
In addition, both the share of hospitals receiving penalties for 30-day readmissions and total fines are higher in 2015, compared to previous years – due mostly to more medical conditions being measured, rather than increases in the penalty cap.
This edition highlights new approaches in training medical students to the ever increasing role of physician assistants in healthcare practice. Our interview examines Maintenance of Certification and its importance in credentialing physicians. One author offers IT solutions for delivering quality care, cutting cost, increasing productivity and improving patient safety.
There is also the balance between physicians treating their patients for maximum safety and the hospital need to restrain cost. All offer challenges that can only be resolved through team work and cooperation of all parties.