A team of healthcare specialists in scrubs wheel a stretcher into a room marked “Emergency.”

The benefits of telemedicine in remote patient triage

MARCH 20, 2018 | BY BIOTRICITY

Telemedicine usage is increasing in healthcare; rather than supplanting the patient-provider relationship it seeks to improve the care experience. Telemedicine in remote patient triage can optimize emergency care, provide more access to healthcare for patients in remote areas, and reduce healthcare costs.

Telemedicine for emergency and urgent care triage

In emergency and urgent care settings, telemedicine triage can help to more effectively screen patients and ensure that the ones who require immediate assistance are seen first. One start-up developed a telemedicine platform that allows patients waiting in an emergency room to be seen by a doctor or physician assistant through video-conferencing technology first, to help determine whether they need further tests or medications. The technology improves triage while managing physician shortages and patient congestion in emergency rooms.

Telemedicine in rural communities

The U.S. faces growing healthcare disparities and access gaps between urban and rural communities, as rural hospitals and health facilities are increasingly closing. Telemedicine can help bridge these gaps by linking patients in rural communities with healthcare specialists who can assist in diagnosing conditions and prescribing medications. For remote and underserved communities, telemedicine can expand the reach of specialists while alleviating care and travel costs.

Leveraging Telemedicine to Lower Costs

Telemedicine could bring long-term value-based care by ensuring that patients are receiving the best care for their individual health needs. If patient triage is improved to focus on high-risk patients, and telemedicine is utilized to remotely monitor chronic disease patients, this could ultimately lower costs, increase efficiency, and generate revenue. Chronic disease makes up the highest percentage of the nation’s aggregate healthcare spending, so leveraging telemedicine for chronic disease management would make significant inroads on lowering costs. For instance, a remote cardiac device could be used to actively monitor a patient’s ECG in real-time, constantly collecting and compiling data on the device and uploading to the cloud. When physicians are provided with real-time patient data, they can detect problems faster, make accurate diagnoses, and prescribe more efficient treatment plans.

Read the entire article here. Waqaas’ article is available on Becker’s Hospital Review. Becker’s Hospital Review is the leading hospital magazine that provides news and analysis for hospital and health system executives.