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10/16/2018

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Telemedicine: No Longer Just for The Jetsons

by Joseph Chow, MD, President, Ambulatory Care

For those who remember The Jetsons, talking to another person via a computer screen seemed so out of reach and farfetched. (For those who don’t, you can Google it). Now, I FaceTime my kids whenever I’m out of town and it’s the norm.

Last month, I had the privilege of attending the annual conference of American Well, one of the leading telemedicine platform companies, where the end users talk about their usage, experiences and new ventures. There is an impressive ecosystem of health delivery already out there, including urgent care, primary care, behavioral health and even physical therapy, all delivered via a telemedicine platform.

When speaking with some users, they shared some insights on their experiences. It is a labor of love. From finding the right technology to fit the population you are serving, to getting practitioners on board, to practicing quality medicine and receiving compensation for care—achieving these many objectives obviously takes a village. Most clinicians are not making any money from telemedicine but rather use it as a service add. Yet, with all the obstacles inherent to telemedicine, most potential new partners TeamHealth encounters always ask about what we are doing in this space.

There has been activity within TeamHealth in finding the right technology and case usage. We are an attractive partner – our strength lies in our clinicians, and clinical quality and patient safety is our priority focus as directed by our leadership. In TeamHealth’s ambulatory care group, we are starting to take those first steps by developing training modules of the most common things we see in urgent care, only via the telemedicine route. We are more than happy to share and receive any feedback when it is solidified.

Healthcare is in the midst of fast-paced, ever-changing and exciting times. Telemedicine is definitely no longer just for The Jetsons but is here to stay, and we need to be ready for it.

To learn more about TeamHealth’s ambulatory care group, and how it plays a vital part in the continuum of care, visit our website. You can also read our telemedicine risk management white paper.