We are proud to announce that we have added a new blogger to our 2014/2015 blogger series.
Dr. Sunny (Vikrum) Malhotra is a US trained Cardiologist who was named one of the top "Doctors on Twitter" to follow. He is an entrepreneur and investor. He is the founder of Bookaclinic.com, a Canadian telemedicine practice in Ontario, Canada.
In this month’s edition of Caregiver Tip Tuesdays we look at Telehealth and the benefits that it has to patients, physicians and our health care system.
Telemedicine is an emerging industry that allows health care to come to the patient while still maintaining a strong return of investment for health care facilities. The benefits of telehealth have a range of utilities from an individual patient basis to the entire healthcare system.
Patients have been found to have better clinical outcomes since they have timelier access to specialists who can provide a better standard of care associated with their specialty. Telehealth also reduces the amount of unnecessary admissions or readmissions since healthcare professionals, through remote consultations, can evaluate patients at home. Having access to a remote specialist also means that the specialist can determine if that patient’s best option for treatment is to be treated locally or at another facility. This in turn avoids unnecessary transfers between hospitals. Bookaclinic.com is an example of an Ontario based online telemedicine practice helping patients access their specialists over an established Ontario telemedicine network.
By utilizing telehealth, these sites can offer their clinical staff access to a specialist support network, which in turn can provide better care to patients. This network will also allow the sites to retain their patients, rather than transferring them to another site to see a specialist, which reduces overall healthcare costs.
Telehealth can be advantageous to doctors by extending their clinical reach to patients in order to help more patients. Physicians can also use this extended range to identify patients in remote areas that require care. Using remote consultations also means a reduction in transit time between facilities, which increases productivity. Also, in some cases, physicians may be able to earn on-call pay for providing tele-consults with services like Teladoc, and RubiconMD.
Tertiary Care Facilities:
Physicians can use tele-consults to direct patients in need of tertiary care directly to underserved facilities, which in turn would prevent unnecessary admissions, readmissions or transfers to the incorrect facility while also increasing revenue for tertiary care facilities.
Healthcare System as a Whole:
Telehealth benefits the entire healthcare system by ensuring a greater amount of patients can have access to the declining supply of physicians, while decreasing the costs and providing timelier access.
Want more from Dr. Sunny? Follow him on Twitter at @DrSunnyMalhotra