What is a Telehospitalist?
From health care organizations, hospitals and primary care offices, many clinicians have adopted some form of telehealth practice to ease the burden during the coronavirus pandemic. As the shift has broadened accessibility to treatment, more patients are becoming accustomed to receiving routine care without ever having to step foot outside of their home. So, what does this mean for the traditional hospitalist?
For starters, hospitalists can continue providing quality care, but in a much more convenient way. By partnering with other health care institutions like skilled nursing facilities (SNF), hospitalists can perform a number of services as an extension of their team without ever having to transition to another location. Additionally, clinicians that offer telehealth hospital visits can deliver services to a wide range of populations in need that otherwise may not be able to access care.
In the case of certain patients that need to transition to an SNF after being discharged from the hospital, telehospitalists can help provide ongoing support. Especially with nursing homes and in the case of patients with complex medical conditions or a developing serious illness, having access to a telehospitalist can give nursing staff a higher competency for quality care. Particularly in the case of overnight shifts, nursing staff can feel more confident with accessibility to qualified physicians.
Lower Readmission Rates
For hospitals and SNF’s alike, keeping readmission rates low is the ultimate goal. This can get tricky though in situations where discharged patients have higher risks for rapid changes in condition. If this happens, the standard protocol for most SNF’s is to send that patient to the emergency room by ambulance. This not only can cause poorer patient outcomes, but also places a burden on surrounding residents and health care workers. In many cases, a telehospitalist can offer appropriate treatment to a patient without that patient needing to leave their bed. In certain situations, if a telehospitalist does deem it necessary for the patient to return to the hospital, they can aid in the transfer and facilitation of care while also helping to reduce wait times.
Often in SNF’s health care providers are met with challenges such as being understaffed, overworked, and having fewer resources than their peers in similar care settings. Because of this, turnover often tends to be higher in SNF’s and other long-term care facilities. By utilizing a telehospitalist, nurses and clinicians in these settings can establish an immediate connection with a qualified and supportive physician. This is especially helpful for nurses who are working alone, during the nightshift, or with only a small team. Having a partnership with an around-the-clock telehospitalist also reduces the need to disturb an on-call physician or medical director who would normally have to come to the facility in person to assess the situation.
Telehospitalist support can improve the quality of life for patients and other residents as well as outcomes for health care teams and organizations.
As telemedicine solutions become more widely accessible and utilized, it’s important to pause and take a look at the positive difference it can make in all aspects of care. For more information about telemedicine in the hospital setting from Advanced Care Hospitalists, please call us at 863-816-5884 or contact us online.
Contact Advanced Care Hospitalists to Learn More
ACH is a Lakeland-based hospitalist group providing comprehensive patient care in community hospitals across Central Florida. If you are interested in learning more about our programs, services, providers or becoming a partner facility, please call us at 863-816-5884 or fill out a contact form online.