Credit: Wikipedia, Une compagnie de la 2e legion sur les champs de mars à Paris en 1836 par Auguste Antoine Masse
Are you in the French Foreign Legion? Probably not, but I would bet that you, like me, have felt like you sometimes work in an outpost. (Think: Lewis and Clark, Roald Admundsen, Davey Crockett.)
You are more fortunate. You have the telephone, so you are not so alone, right? You make a call, and bravely stand up to an attack of telephone tag. You describe clearly the change. You might hear five responses.
- "Can't be, I was just there yesterday."
- "Are you sure?"
- "I believe you, I wish I could see it."
- "She didn't have it when we sent her to you or admitted her."
- "This shouldn't happen, I need to contact my loved one's lawyer."
It's always tricky to describe something accurately. And it's even harder to describe a change or motion.
In the simple case of wound or rash, you can say "it is red" or "it has an exudate" or "it has granulation tissue." Technology can't capture everything that you can see as the observer, but a photo can show color, size, and texture. Plus, stored images can be compared to support analysis of changes.
In the simple case of a change in gate or speech, describing something as dysarthria, limp, lurch or foot drop does say something, but are not as convincing as a video clip. And again, stored videos can be compared to help monitor shifts over time.
So the 5 reasons to use photos and videos (via a telemedicine platform) in long term care or skilled nursing facilities are to:
- Describe changes in the patient
- Communicate clearly
- Resolve doubts that can hinder execution of treatment plans
- Document on-admission disease
- Communicate with the family
I am dumbfounded why legal counsel often tells their long term care clients to not take pictures. Ignoring a problem never improves it, and sweeping it under the rug of paper records brings ill will. Further, with the right technology, there is no reason for HIPAA to be challenged.
Why not have happy families, satisfied providers, documented change, and good records for education and reference?
You have a hard job in the outpost. Help you and your staff make it easier.
And if you're working on implementing changes like these in your long term care facility, our ebook may help with staying compliant, decreasing costs, and improving care"