Telemedicine untethered: Eliminating the digital ready room
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Your digital go to along with your physician is at 1:00 p.m. It’s now 1:20 p.m. and your doctor has not but logged in. Do you name the clinic? Hang up and log again in? Groan in frustration?

Being caught in a digital ready room and gazing a clean pc or gadget display screen is a large dissatisfier amongst telemedicine sufferers. To respect sufferers’ time, and supply the optimum expertise, UC San Diego Health carried out a 10-week high quality enchancment examine to judge how textual content messaging a hyperlink to a affected person when their physician is prepared offers a solution to join sufferers and medical doctors most effectively, with out counting on the digital ready room.

Results of the examine revealed within the May 27 on-line difficulty of Quality Management in Health Care.

Borrowing from the airline and restaurant industries, we examined whether or not we may contact sufferers through textual content to log into their appointment when their physician is prepared. The aim of the feasibility examine was to find out if this flexibility result in improved notion of ready time and an enhanced expertise, whereas assessing for time saving for each sufferers and suppliers.”

Brett C. Meyer, MD, neurologist, co-director of the UC San Diego Heath Stroke Center, and scientific director of telehealth at UC San Diego Health

“We stepped back and asked, ‘Do we need a virtual waiting room at all? Can we let patients know when their provider is available instead of making them wait online?'” mentioned Emily S. Perrinez, RN, MSN, MPH, examine co-author and director of telehealth operations at UC San Diego Health. “The reality is that wait times and lack of timely communication both correlate with patient experience. Real-time text notification that the provider is ready improved patient satisfaction and this experience is the kind of feedback we love to see.”

Twenty-two sufferers at a stroke clinic participated within the two-and-a-half month examine. Patients selected to both obtain a textual content, which included a go to hyperlink when their supplier was prepared for his or her go to or the usual telehealth routine of logging in at a scheduled time and ready in entrance of a digital camera in a digital ready room.

Results confirmed that zero sufferers have been seen late, whereas fifty-five p.c of the sufferers have been seen early. On common, there was a 55-minute time financial savings in clinic operations attributable to sufferers being seen early. Study metrics additionally included demographics, go to charges, and satisfaction surveys.

“Providers are extremely interested in making clinic visits better and easier for our patients -; especially in the event we are running late,” mentioned Meyer. “Our old patient-communication strategy was complicated by the fact that the device that we would call to inform of a delay was often the same device they were actively using for their video visit.”

During the pandemic, UC San Diego Health noticed a 1000-fold improve within the price of telemedicine visits. The present quantity of telemedicine encounters stays excessive, with greater than 550,000 ambulatory telehealth visits seen at UC San Diego Health because the begin of the pandemic, for every type of medical and surgical care wants.

“Overall, the text method makes life so much easier for patients. As long as a patient has a smartphone handy, they can go about their day rather than waiting for the provider to join the video visit,” mentioned Meyer. “For the provider, it definitely increases flexibility and may even increase throughput. Additionally, texting decreases the anxiety of a provider who may be running late. Knowing that we are not keeping a patient waiting is, in my mind, the most important thing. We respect that patients have obligations and their time is precious as well, and we don’t want to keep them waiting.”

UC San Diego Health is increasing the “telemedicine untethered” choice into numerous high-volume major and surgical care clinics in summer time 2022.

The text-to-video know-how was supplied by Doximity, Inc.


Journal reference:

Meyer, B.C., et al. (2022) Tele-Untethered: Telemedicine Without Waiting Rooms. Quality Management in Health Care.

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