Specialist Consults Via Video – The Next Best Thing to Being There

Does anyone remember not needing an appointment to visit the doctor? It’s hard to believe that as recently as the 1950s and 60s, going to the doctor appointment-less was not only permissible, it was the standard. Today, we all too often make appointments to visit the doctor, only to spend a significant amount of time in a waiting room and a relatively insignificant amount of time in actual doctor-patient consultation.

A primary care physician’s central goal is the delivery of coordinated and comprehensive care for their patient, and this requires a broad spectrum of medical knowledge, effective use of the local health care system, and attention to both the “big picture” and the details of a patient’s life and health. However, specialist physicians serve an increasingly pivotal role in modern medical treatment.

The ability to consult with a specialist is not only of increasing importance to the patient, but also the primary care physician. For the patient, interactions with a medical specialist will help them understand the specific illness or disease they have contracted, and will position them to make more informed decisions regarding the course of treatment they will undergo. For the primary care physician, the frequent interaction with medical specialists provide a form of continuing education that serves to broaden their understanding and knowledge of their patients’ illnesses and diseases. It’s a clear win-win, provided that all of the participants are involved.

With the numbers of medical specialists in many high risk fields like high-risk pregnancy, behavioral health and neurology in short supply in many metropolitan regions, it is of paramount importance that we find ways to leverage these scarce specialist resources across the widest number of patient cases possible. Traditionally, specialist consultations involved either a patient and a specialist, or a primary care physician and a specialist. Through modern telecommunications, it’s now possible for the patient, the primary care physician, and the specialist to engage simultaneously to discuss a patient’s illness or condition and possible treatment options.

And of course, it’s not just about the people – it’s also about the data. Aggressive routing and storage technologies can permit the availability of medical imagery (MRI, PET, CAT scans) from remote locations. Real-time streaming from specially configured medical devices can permit real time interactive clinical consultation.

Large hospital chains are investing millions to provide remote medical consultation services across their network of hospitals, care centers, and doctor offices with the hope of providing access to the few specialists they have for certain difficult medical conditions. Primary care provider networks are even taking it to the next level by providing patient follow-up consultations via secured Internet platforms that allow the patient to consult with their primary care provider from the comfort of their home or office.

Physicians have been traditionally trained to first diagnose, and then prescribe treatment – the two central activities in the delivery of health care. While there are steady achievements in the areas of researching and understanding illness or disease, inventing new medical devices, or devising new prescription protocols to treat illnesses, analyzing physician time as a resource has received surprisingly little attention. However, the amount and quality of the interaction between patient and physician has been shown to have statistically relevant impacts on more than patient perceptions of quality, but also measurable improvements in both health outcomes and patient loyalty.

Improving patient engagement in the health care decision process, combined with the effort to link monetary incentives to post-care outcomes may sharpen the attention for the physician to not only improve the amount and quality of communication with their patients. Primary care physicians should also make use of the technology at their disposal to involve available specialists in their efforts to diagnose conditions accurately and early and prescribe the correct courses of treatment for their patients.


Medical Technology for Patient Engagement

While the Affordable Care Act may promote both patient engagement and patient activation, the larger encompassing idea is that of doctor and patient communication. When a doctor and patient are sufficiently communicating, a patient will begin taking a larger part in caring for his or her own health. In turn, this will result in shared decision making, as well as numerous other benefits for both parties. And with today’s new medical technology, efficiently communicating with patients is easier than ever before.

Eliminate Telecommunication Errors With MedXCom

A new medical application with the purpose of improving doctor and patient communication is the MedXCom app. Launched by Dr. Michael Nusbaum, a New Jersey bariatric surgeon, the MedXCom app records, stores, and transcribes all cell phone conversations between doctors and their patients in an effort to improve telecommunication. With such an app, medical professionals can ensure phone conversations are understood and received correctly by reading and sending a full transcript of the conversation to their patient through the app, and the patient can follow up with any questions through the apps secure text messaging system. Additionally, the transcription protects both the patient in the event of poor advice and the doctor in the event of any misunderstandings that could potentially lead to unwanted lawsuits. To learn more bout the MedXCom app, click here: http://bit.ly/1lV02o9

Up-To-Date Communication With TreatSpace

In addition to MedXCom, Treatspace is a clinical social software also intended to improve communication between doctors and patients. With its many features, Treatspace is meant to provide both patients and medical professionals with a unified platform in which each can stay up-to-date with one another and in communication. For medical professionals, Treatspace can become a place to build a social profile for ones practice in which a medical professional can easily keep the practice’s information current and up-to-date, while privately communicating with patients through a secure messaging system. For patients, Treatspace is a place to easily find and connect with healthcare providers, while keeping up-to-date with the healthcare provider’s latest updates, as well as privately connecting when necessary. For information on Treatspace, click here: http://bit.ly/RocOzV

Honest Communication With TickiT

A third new medical technology now on the market is TickiT. TickiT is a secure tablet and web based data collection platform in which healthcare providers can create and manage custom surveys. Patients often have a difficult time discussing personal issues with medical professionals and will therefore frequently lie about their own health and lifestyle. And yet, such details into a patient’s life is critical in improving doctor to patient communication, as well as quality of outcome. TickiT takes the personal questions a medical professional would ask and turns them into a graphic survey that is both great for youth engagement and for a variety of literacy rates. This allows patients to fill out the survey easily and privately, while simultaneously encouraging honesty. When the survey is finished, the information is automatically transferred to the healthcare provider’s computer with the most vital information flagged and shown at the top. The goal of TickiT is to improve doctor patient communication by ensuring that both the medical professional and patient are already on the same page and ready to go as soon as the medical professional enters the room. To learn more about TickiT, click here: http://bit.ly/1j8iWr9

The Informacio Workstation Increases Health Literacy & Patient Engagement

One last piece of new medical technology that will promote doctor and patient communication is the Informacio Workstation. It helps medical professionals both verbally and visually communicate with their patients. Designed by a global team of scientists, designers and entrepreneurs, the Informacio Workstation was created to easily accommodate users of various technical levels. It provides a physical platform which promotes health literacy and in turn improves doctor and patient communication. To learn how you can help be a part in creating the Informacio Workstation, visit the Informacio Workstation Indiegogo campaign here: http://bit.ly/1jqHD0A

Developing strong doctor and patient communication can benefit both a patient and clinician in multiple ways. And with the Affordable Care Act now set into motion, developing quality doctor and patient communication is essential. Fortunately, we live in an age in which medical technology and medical equipment is developing at miraculous speeds, making establishing quality communication between doctors and patients easier than ever before.