Now I'm Convinced
A few months back, a member of my family was in a business meeting when suddenly his right hand became spastic. He looked at the person he was meeting with and couldn't figure out why he was there or what they had been talking about for half an hour. He was having a stroke.
He was rushed to the local hospital in Florida and immediately received wonderful treatment in the emergency room. His wife joined him there and they were suddenly confronted with a screen that had a live feed from Rhode Island. The doctor who would be tending to him was nearly 1400 miles away. He was getting live feed from the monitors in West Palm and talking with the patient and his wife about options for treatment. They reached an informed decision, treatment was rendered, and now the former patient is back to work, playing golf, and virtually indistinguishable from his pre-stroke self.
I've railed against tele-health many times in previous blogs. Often because it's used as a cost-cutting measure, rather than a way to bring the best parties to the table in situations where it would have been otherwise impossible or where waiting could have resulted in a vastly different outcome. Imagine the potential for treating people in remote rural areas. How about the ability to supervise a PTA in a home care setting without both having to be in the same physical space at the same time? How about my fellow ADVANCE blogger Michael Kelley, who last week posted about some trepidation treating vestibular patients, being able to consult with a trusted expert hundreds of miles away?
We have the technology to make our lives, and the lives of our patients, more secure, more efficient, and better able to achieve positive outcomes. We must ensure it is used for the noblest outcomes in our profession. We need to embrace it and be innovative with how we use it. Skype, FaceTime, and a host of other providers can link us together for the better.