Teleservices Delivers Healthcare Expertise in Minutes to Remote or Rural Communities

 For newborn Piper McAlister, timing is everything. Arriving 4 weeks pre-mature, she was born with pneumothorax- a condition in which an infant’s lungs can’t expand and the baby cannot breathe.  In such a case, medical staff have approximately 6 minutes to intervene and stabilize. For Piper and her parents, those 6 minutes could literally have become a lifetime, but thanks to the staff at the Intermountain Healthcare Valley View Medical Center, and the remote care team located at Dixie Regional Medical Center, Piper received the expert medical attention she needed. Doctors and nurses were able to consult with specialists via a brand new teleservices solution that had only been installed for 3 days.

Disruption = Better Patient Centered Care at a Lower Cost

The value of teleservices in healthcare is growing. Classified as “disruptive technology”, the disruption really means getting creative with technology designed to help drive healthcare costs down, as opposed to implementing technology at any price. Hospitals can adopt proven use cases to provide better patient services at a much lower cost per capita. As we move away from fee-for-service to a value-based, patient-centered healthcare system, we need to reduce costs while improving patient engagement, satisfaction and outcomes. Disruptive technologies promise an opportunity to do this by transcending traditional clinical workflows and exploring innovation.

Barriers of Entry

The US is known for having one of the costliest healthcare systems in the world (accounting for 17% of the gross domestic product with growth estimates of nearly 20% by 2020). US-based healthcare providers who want more cost-effective models need to consider more than simply the technology. Workflows, service fees and roles must shift as well to fully capitalize on the opportunity. Many are turning to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Triple Aim Framework to understand what other elements need to be considered as new technologies are introduced. The Framework provides a guideline, advocating a systematic approach to change based on identifying and understanding the needs of each unique community and population being served. In parallel, helping government and insurers amend regulations and compensation models for services will also assist healthcare providers as new methods for innovative patient care are rolled out.

Teleservices Opportunities

Teleservices is an exciting area to explore for healthcare professionals looking for a “quick win” for savings while delivering better care. There are many use cases that teleservices enables, some of the more common benefits include: 

  • reduced delays in care delivery and improved clinical outcomes;
  • serving patients outside of hospital and emergency-room settings; and
  • accessing expert clinical diagnostic resources across multiple environments and settings.
As we move away from fee-for-service to a value-based, patient-centered healthcare system, we need to reduce costs while improving patient engagement, satisfaction and outcomes. Disruptive technologies promise an opportunity to do this by transcending traditional clinical workflows and exploring innovation.

By helping patients remain in their own communities, teleservices reduces travel costs and the anxieties related to being away from home during stressful times. Teleservices also supports the concept of care-teaming – enabling general practitioners, social-workers, therapists, family members, neighbours and the patients themselves to actively participate in care management.

In Summary

Piper is home now, joining her parents and older brother after only 4 days in hospital. Her home-coming was much sooner than expected. Both her family and the medical professionals involved credit teleservices as a factor in providing the much-needed collaboration environment at a critical time in Piper’s life. By including teleservices as part of their care footprint, Intermountain Healthcare has realized the promise of a technology solution whose time has come. That time is now. That time belongs to people like Piper.

To learn more about Microsoft’s options for teleservices and healthcare, contact your local Microsoft Account Team, or read our blog.