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Why Telemedicine’s Efficiency is About Humanity, Not Money

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Tue, Jun 26, 2018 @ 06:00 AM

annie-spratt-693090-unsplashMany times, our conversations with hospital systems about iClickCare boil down to dollars and cents.

We argue that Hybrid Store-and-Forward® telemedicine, like iClickCare, is important because it reduces readmissions, reduces length of stay, improves outcomes, and decreases costs. The ROI is strongly positive.

But in reality, those metrics aren’t what pull us out of bed every morning, excited to do the work. In reality, what motivates us are the human stories behind each and every case that is facilitated by Hybrid Store-and-Forward telemedicine. It’s about individual patients thriving more, surviving life-threatening illness, and living the lives they were meant to live. But how exactly does telemedicine help with that? A pediatric neurology resident described how.

A pediatric neurology resident shared her story in the New York Times recently. She had a stroke as a baby and lost the use of her right side as a child, for the most part. When she was 4, she and her cousins were climbing trees and she realized she couldn’t reach up and grab the branches with her right hand, like the other kids could. Sad and scared, she had little idea how this limitation would evolve in her life.

As it turned out, the moment that the author realized her limitation was the moment that she decided she would learn to do as much as she possibly could. Encouraged by her parents as well, Waldron stayed after school to work on the monkey bars, played high school basketball, and was a competitive mountain bike racer. She was far from defined by her disability. And she credits her success in this way to all of the “regular life” things she did that were ultimately therapeutic for her, dramatically expanding her abilities.

As the author shares, “Sports, video games, music, friends, bedtime stories, drawing, climbing trees, going sledding, playing with dolls, building with blocks, rough housing with siblings, participating in childhood in whatever way possible, builds confidence and synapses.”  Each of these moments in her life was actually part of her treatment. And the less time she spent in the hospital or doctor’s office, the most time she had for these activities that were the way in which she improved.

To me, this story shows how important it is for medical treatments to get out of the way of the patient’s life.

Especially for children with life-threatening conditions, like a stroke or cancer, it’s easy for the medical team to use an “at any cost” approach. It doesn't matter how expensive the care, how many doctors' visits it takes, or how much time we spend driving to hospitals. But for all patients, especially pediatric patients, it’s important to remember that play and school and life aren’t just “quality of life” issues — they’re actually core parts of the patient’s recovery.

That’s why when I tell colleagues that iClickCare facilitates medical collaboration such that the time patients wait for appointments, or the amount of travel they have to do, isn’t about ease or saving time. It’s about making sure that the therapeutic reality of their life is as un-curtailed as possible. Healthcare collaboration, supported by technology like Hybrid Store-and-Forward telemedicine, can have a dramatic impact on each patient getting back to regular life as quickly and efficiently as possible.

This saves the medical system money, of course— but it also means that a child might be able to climb a tree rather than sitting in a waiting room. And that can mean a dramatically better outcome. 


ClickCare Quick Guide to Hybrid Store-and-Forward

Tags: hybrid store and forward medical collaboration, telemedicine solutions

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