CoffeeNComputerWEBNewer technologies are becoming more eagerly accepted and more mainstream.  Rather than spend the night in an emergency room or drag off to an Urgicenter, a million patients will consult a health professional online through their smartphone, iPad or laptop device.

People suffering from infections, itches, rashes and colds will describe their symptoms or show them through a conduit like Skype or other similar video applications to a doctor, receiving advice and treatment. The emergency care will come at their convenience in time and location.

The adoption of telemedicine has exploded over the last few years. There is no doubt that telemedicine is a great way to provide accessible medical care in rural or outlying areas, but it is now also being used by patients in urban settings too.

According to the American Telemedicine Association, there were approximately 800,000 telemedicine consultations this year alone. Towers Watson, a consulting firm foresees greater than 33% of employers will provide telemedicine as a perk to their employees.  At Teledoc, based in Texas, consultations through telehealth have escalated by five hundred percent over the last three years.

How Does This Benefit You?

There are several advantages to adoption of telemedicine in your medical practice.  These include:

  • Meeting Patient Demands: The public has shown that they want telemedicine.  The greatest driving force for this way of practicing is the public.

It best helps the caregivers, tending to patients who may not be mobile enough to reach a medical center, chronically ill patients, pediatric patients, the contagious, and the mentally ill.  Getting immediate care has a profound impact not only the patient, but also the family and the community.

  • Beating out your competition: Despite the demand for telemedicine, there will be physicians who only implement new practices once everyone uses it.  There is often great resistance to new methods of care delivery.

By implementing telemedicine, patients who desire this type of care will transfer to you.

  • Strengthening Your brand: Become known as the compassionate healthcare provider who is not afraid of using the latest technology and practices.
  • Bedside Consultations: If you need to check resources or a specialist to confer with over a difficult case, you can do so online while seeing the patient.
  • Remote Monitoring: Included with the practice of telemedicine you may incorporate devices that remotely measure and amass data, which is then sent to testing facilities for interpretation. Blood glucose levels, blood pressure monitoring, EKG readings, and times when pain or depression treat at is most symptomatic are but a few where telemedicine helps both patients, caregivers, nurses and doctors.
  • Growing Your practice: When demands are met and patients receive the care that they are looking for, reputations go viral and prospective patients flock to your office.

While self-monitoring devices like FitBit and iWatch are used in the community, there aren’t many practices that will incorporate this data into the care of these patients who are trying to participate in their healthcare.

Telemedicine enables doctors to reach out beyond their office and immediate office surroundings.

  • Adding revenues: Rather than having to rush out to see your patients in the middle of the night to a hospital or other setting, telemedicine allows you to consult with additional patients in the comfort of your own home, picking up that additional “moonlighting fee”.

Patients can be advised to make a follow up appointment in the office at regular times to ensure resolution of the medical problem.

Parameters of a Successful Telehealth Program

There are three basic factors to consider once you have a telehealth program up and running.  Ask yourself:

  • Consumer Usage

How frequently is the system used? Are more consumers taking advantage of the system in lieu of telephone or office consultations?

Is the system being largely ignored or only used in the introductory period?

What can you do or provide to entice new users and continuous consumer activity?

  • Return of Investment

Is your system profitable?  According to your business plan, is there a projection as to when you surpass the amount that has been invested to implement the system?  Obviously, the faster you can see the program in the black with positive cash flow, the more you can justify having the specific program in place.

  • Consumer Approval

Consumer approval is an essential sign of predictability when it comes to a lasting and successful program.  If the system is too hard to use, does not address the “wants” of the users or is inconsistent, consumers will not use it for long.  They may try it out but you want the long-term usage and glowing reports.

Feedback can be obtained in the form of surveys (online, and by phone), testimonials or client ratings, and interviews of the users themselves.


Digital logs of performance should be kept and reviewed on a regular basis.  If one of the parameters decline, ask yourself how you can improve upon it.

Once the system is functioning at the desired level, ideally it will be run itself without modifications or interventions.

Key to Success

The most important thing about telehealth is not to ignore it!  The public has had its outcry for the system and it is clearly desired by consumers.  Don’t get left out in the cold!

Want to know more?  Let’s discuss your needs.
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