Why Telemedicine is the Future of Hospitalists

Telemedicine Equipment

Telemedicine is booming in popularity in critical access hospitals and appears to be the future of the industry. Many hospitals are shifting their models to include hospitalists and telemedicine because it increases the quality and efficiency of patient care. That is why Horizon Virtual is here to partner with hospitals with our telehospitalist platform to help them take care of their patients.

Here are a few reasons why telemedicine is the future of hospitalists.

1. Eliminates Patient Transfer Drive Times

Unfortunately, distance and travel time between patients and care providers can limit access to care. This is especially true in more rural areas. In fact, consumers are waiting longer for health-related services compared to non-healthcare related services. 

When patients are transferred from a local critical access hospital, patients spend around 55 minutes traveling and waiting for health-related services. This includes an average of 44 minutes of travel, to and from, and 11-minutes of waiting in waiting rooms. These waiting times account for more than 50% of the time spent receiving care. 

2. Allows a Hospitalist to Cover Multiple Locations

With traditional telemedicine, patients can communicate with their specialists even if they’re halfway across the country. Patients will still need to go to a clinic for lab tests, x-rays, and nursing procedures. But telemedicine allows doctors and hospital professionals to review all charting, vitals, and test results remotely. 

However, Horizon Virtual’s Telehealth services are unique. Our hospitalists actually assume care of our patients. This allows the patient to be admitted to the hospital and allows the hospitalist to order labs and images. The physician can review the results, diagnose and create a treatment plan.

Healthcare, as a profession, requires personal service, so it’s vital that physicians establish their presence wherever they are needed. This is why telemedicine is crucial for rural hospitals. Doctors, who often choose higher-volume hospitals, can help patients in smaller, rural hospitals no matter where they are. 

Patients have been expressing their approval as well, reporting that they feel the physician on a telehealth cart provides their undivided attention making the visit feel very personable.

3. Reduces Exposure to COVID-19

The COVID19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way most industries operate. This includes the health care industry. Telemedicine has helped doctors and hospitalists stay protected during the pandemic, by allowing them to check on patients from the safety of their home or office. 

In turn, this also reduces the chance of exposure for patients as well. By limiting the number of people you interact with, especially people who may have been exposed to the virus, you greatly reduce your chances of contracting the virus. Every Telehealth cart can be sanitized after every patient interaction. Telemedicine is the ideal solution for rural hospitals during this pandemic. 

4. Keeps Doctors From Burning Out

Physician burnout has increased in recent years and has become a large area of concern for hospitals. Nearly 60% of physicians say they feel burned out, a 50% increase from 2013. Hospitalists are particularly prone to burnout, as they are often at the front line of patient care. 

Lightening the workload hospitalists face is the number one step in reducing potential burnout. Telemedicine can help achieve this by evening out the workload virtually, rapidly fixing both coverage shortage and load imbalances. This means less excruciatingly long shifts for hospitalists, which can lead directly to burnouts. 

Horizon Virtual can Help

If you are a rural hospital facing staffing issues, Horizon Virtual can help. We have a medical cart that allows a hospitalist to log in from home and evaluate a patient that is in the hospital. Contact us today to find out how our product can help you with your overnight staffing problems.

 


COMMON QUESTIONS:

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR CONNECTIVITY & EQUIPMENT?
» Horizon Virtual provides the telehealth cart and all the equipment needed to set up in your critical access hospital. It is a turn-key operation which also includes training for all the on-site staff.

IS IT AN AS NEEDED SERVICE OR A SUBSCRIPTION?
» The type of service provided is subject to the census reports. Horizon Virtual performs a needs analysis prior to establishing contracts with any given hospital. We provide services through 12-hour shifts, ie: 7pm-7am, providing coverage 365 days per year. Keep in mind, there must be a calculated need for our services throughout the evening rotation prior to a hospital reaching an agreement to hire Horizon Virtual.

HOW’S IT DIFFERENT THAN OTHER TELEHEALTH (E-CARE) SERVICES?
» We provide coverage for an entire 12-hour shift and can cover multiple locations with one provider. Other E-Care telehealth providers do not typically assume care of the patient. Our care provides a hospitalist (board-certified internal medicine physician) that is qualified to admit the patient, take orders, review X-rays, MRI’s and other labs to create a care plan. Horizon Virtual physically sees and works with patients in an effort to provide local care to hometown patients.
WHAT IF A HOSPITAL IS ALREADY USING AN E-CARE TELEHEALTH SERVICE?
» No Worries. Litchfield Hospital is a great example of this. They have an E-Care Service in their hospital’s emergency unit and Horizon Virtual compliments that existing service.
HOW DOES THAT WORK FOR MEDICAL RECORDS AND BILLING?
» The Telehealth Hospitalist at Horizon Virtual is a credentialed & privileged physician on-staff, just like having an overnight doctor on staff. This is not a locum service. We integrate with nearly all EMR’s and our physicians receive continuous on-going education as well.
EMR ISN’T A CONCERN, PATIENT DICTATION IS A HIGHER PRIORITY FOR US.
» Telehealth services, such as Horizon Virtual, use Dragon Dictation to provide treatment plans and to update patient records quickly and in real-time. It is very important that these notes are readily available by the time the shift changes. Dictation is not a requirement, but 3rd party dictation services tend to slow the transition process down.

HOW DO YOU HANDLE SEND-OFFS / PATIENT TRANSFERS?
» Horizon Virtual is an independent company. We have no alliances or ties with any given association. Therefore, when a patient is not in critical need of care, we ask the patient where they would like to be transferred. If the patient does not have a preference, we follow the hospital’s standard protocol. If the patient is in critical need of a transfer, we transfer that patient to the nearest hospital.

WHAT IS THE COST TO PROVIDE TELEHEALTH SERVICES?
» It depends. (See Projected ROI Calculator) Our goal is to provide a service that is advantageous to reducing the number of patient transfers. Based on our experience, our service pays for itself each month. If your hospital retains 2-3 patients per month, our service fees are covered. To more directly answer the question, our costs are variable based on the hospital’s census and case mix index.

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