Finding your Telemedicine Match: Factors to Consider in Choosing a Partner

Finding your Telemedicine Match: Factors to Consider in Choosing a Partner

Written by Dr. Jason Perlman | MD, MHS, Clinical Professor | President and Co-Founder of Telehealth Solution

As a health facility administrator, you might know that it’s time to consider telemedicine as an option to secure your facility’s future. Choosing the right telemedicine partner, however, can still be daunting. In order to help you in that process, we offer several factors worth considering.

1) What kind of telehealth providers will your partnership get you?  

If your goals are reducing hospital readmissions, you need to have telehealth providers who are well suited to that task. Many telemedicine companies rely on outpatient providers who work on an as-needed basis. This means they may not have expertise in determining a patient’s acuity. At Telehealth Solution, our doctors are hospitalists with acute care expertise and comfort. This provides an advantage when they perform an evaluation at bedside, since they are less likely to escalate care or encourage a hospital readmission if a problem is capable of being treated on-site.

2) How can your telemedicine partners help ensure continuity of care without being on-site? 

The reason avoiding hospital readmission is a hot button issue is because hospital readmission means lost revenue in your facility while increasing morbidity and risk for your patients. This is partly because hospitalization interrupts continuity of care. Yet, ironically enough, the consistent care reasoning for reducing readmissions brings up a key barrier for many telemedicine partnerships.

Most telemedicine companies contract out for the care they provide, relying on part-time providers. This means that when your staff calls for help, they are unlikely to get the same provider twice; the continuity of care for your patients depends on the telemedicine company’s system for documenting prior patient encounters. If providers involved don’t know each other or your staff, it’s hard to establish a relationship of trust.

TeleHealth Solution is able to provide full-time doctors who are familiar with your facility, medical staff, protocols and acute care partners to enhance continuity of care in your SNF. TeleHealth Solution’s physician founders are involved daily in patient care, and know the importance of continuity of care for patients and staff. They bring this experience to every discussion and decision about how we operate and every decision about patient care.

3) Is your telemedicine partner agile enough to meet your specific needs? 

Your SNF is unique, and it’s important to find a telemedicine partner capable of understanding and responding to that.

In the tech world, companies are often evaluated based on their “agility.” This refers to the capacity to rapidly respond to changing needs, to evolve, and to develop quick solutions if customers encounter problems. To achieve that, they have to bypass bureaucracy, quickly evaluate what works and adjust as needed, continually improving on the product they deliver.

In order to carry out rapid problem-solving processes and tailor their services to your needs, telemedicine companies need to have learned lessons from medical experience and the technology field, and they need to be able to wear both hats at once.

Because Telehealth Solution is entirely privately held, if a decision needs to be made or a process needs adaptation, we do that quickly. Our founders know what the problem is, because they’re doing the clinical work, too. There’s no calling a board meeting, writing long proposals, or endless voting about how we solve a problem. We’re able to be true partners, providing tailor-made solutions for your facility. We really listen to you, and we work together.

Our goal at TeleHealth Solution is to offer flexibility, accountability, and responsiveness to improve care and your bottom line. If you’re on the fence about a telemedicine partnership, reach out to us. We’re listening.

About the Author:

Dr. Jason Perlman graduated summa cum lauda from Eastern Michigan University, where he triple majored in Health Sciences, Health Management, and Human Behavior and Communication. After graduating top of his class from AUC for medical school, he completed his residency in Family Medicine at Cabarrus Family Medicine within Carolinas Healthcare System, where he was chief resident in his final year. First an Academic Hospitalist and then an Assistant Clinical Professor through UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine, he also served as Medical Director of Hospital Medicine. In addition to starting a fellowship in Hospital Medicine, Dr. Perlman won awards for process changes reducing readmissions surrounding CHF, and was Medical Director for Community Care of North Carolina, a Medicaid program.