Medicine is an altruistic career path for most of the people who undertake it.
Certainly, there are those who pursue it for the perceived salary benefits, but most health care providers pursue medicine as a means to help people, and to achieve a level of professional excellence.
Sometimes I wonder if this is why many doctors are very resistant to “anything extra.” We feel so overtaxed by the altruistic work we do every day that we simply can’t comprehend adding anything else to an already full plate — both practically and emotionally.
Although there are altruistic reasons to do healthcare collaboration and use telemedicine, I also believe that there are selfish reasons as well. And perhaps the best professional practices are those that sit at the intersection of both.
Yes, telemedicine is altruistic in the sense that it improves outcomes for our patients.
But the reality is that, as medical providers, we benefit as much as the people we are treating, do. So I thought back to the benefits that my colleagues who use iClickCare have experienced and realized that the benefits to the individual provider are meaningful and concrete.
5 Concrete Ways that Telemedicine-Supported Healthcare Collaboration is Good for Medical Providers:
- It gets you home to your kids faster. The reality is that working with colleagues on a diagnosis but not having to play phone tag to do so will save time -- those minutes grabbed during "lunch" (obviously just a sandwich while you do notes) or at the end of the day. And that means that you are delivering the care you know is appropriate, but you're home for dinner faster.
- It can improve data and sophistication of care. I was really interested to see this article describing the healthcare collaboration among several competing health systems to share data to support precision medicine. Many of our newest technologies, including precision medicine, require resources and knowledge that we just don't have on our own. Just as sharing the burden of a specialized diagnosis can increase what we know, sharing data can increase our capabilities.
- It will decrease burnout. Healthcare provider burnout is exacerbated by providers' feeling of inefficacy in their work, overload in work quantity, and a feeling of disconnection from their patients. Healthcare collaboration can support improvements around all three things. Especially when supported by a telemedicine tool, healthcare collaboration can increase your feelings of connection and efficacy but not increase your workload or time burden.
- It makes your day more manageable. Playing phone tag might be done in stolen minutes throughout the day, but those minutes add up. Videoconferencing can further grab hours and attention. But healthcare collaboration that's asynchronous doesn't need to be a burden at all. It can actually streamline diagnoses, care plans, and your appointment schedule.
- It can keep you HIPAA safe. The reality is that whether you have the tools or not, you're going to ask colleagues for their input. But if you're texting, emailing, or using an other HIPAA-insecure tool, an innocent question can turn into a huge fine. If you have a HIPAA-safe telemedicine tool available to you, on the other hand, it's there when you need an answer, and you don't have to worry about staying compliant.
Ultimately, we know that you'll decide what tools you'll use based on what's best for you and what's best for your patients. But it's certainly helpful to know that a tool, and workflow that improves outcomes, together, are a route to positive things in your day and your life.