We are big fans of the phrase “the future is now,” and one of the greatest examples of that phrase is the rise of video teleconferencing. A versatile, cooperative telehealth tool, video conferencing enables patients to engage with their entire medical team at once, and helps that team remain up-to-date and coherent on their patient’s needs and care regimen.
Patients who live in rural areas, or those who suffer from complicated or chronic illnesses, can be left struggling with the daunting task of not only making time to see each of their specialists, but also making sure that all of those specialists are “seeing” each other.
Let’s use the father of one of our staff members as an example- we’ll call him John.
John suffers from COPD, bladder cancer, a heart condition, and failing knees. He would like to have knee replacement surgery, but that requires appointments with his primary care physician and each of his specialists. The pulmonologist and cardiologist are in their offices on the same days; the urologist wants to begin a new chemo treatment but hasn’t received a return email from the primary care physician about drug interactions; and the knee surgeon cannot complete an evaluation without John presenting a report from each doctor that is no more than 30 days old.
It’s like one of those dreaded third grade paragraph-long math problems.
But it doesn’t have to be- if John’s physicians were using telehealth they would be what they’re supposed to be- a TEAM. With live streaming video conferencing, John could see each of his doctors and they could see each other, all at the same time. The pulmonologist could make sure he’s using his new inhaler correctly; the primary care physician could instantly approve or deny the new chemo treatment; the cardiologist could discuss his progress with the pulmonologist; and once John hangs up, the surgeon could chat with the entire team and fit together every piece of the puzzle to get his surgery scheduled.
If his physicians used video teleconferencing, poor John could be walking his dog at the local park instead of sitting at home in pain, making phone calls and writing down enough appointments on post-it notes to make A Beautiful Mind look simple.
Of course, not all teleconferencing services are created equal. John’s team would want a system that is reliable, streams clearly, and has the capability to securely store the conferences for later review by any member of the team.
So, if John’s team is reading this- give us a call and find out how to solve this messy math problem with a GD solution.