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Speeding Toward a New Healthcare Paradigm

Posted by eClinicalWorks on 4/10/20 5:03 PM

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Renewed focus on the doctor/patient relationship

The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has had a deep and likely lasting impact on societies around the world. In addition to the loss of life, markets have been shaken, and daily routines disrupted. The impact on healthcare has been sudden and dramatic, with a major and ongoing shift to technologies that can facilitate the delivery of care remotely.

Practices of every size and type are discovering — often to their surprise and delight — that they can still achieve many of their clinical goals through telehealth. And patients are finding that telehealth technologies are not nearly as daunting as they had feared.

According to a large satisfaction survey in 2019, acceptance and satisfaction of telehealth services among patients in the year before the coronavirus pandemic ranged from 80% to 90%. As telehealth expands to provide care during this ongoing crisis, more patients and providers will have the opportunity to experience its benefits.

A return to the roots of medicine

There is no doubt that a great deal of technology supports today’s telehealth products, including our own healow Telehealth Solutions, which offer an affordable and comprehensive solution, either integrated with the eClinicalWorks EHR or as an effective stand-alone solution for practices on a different EHR.

But all that technology should not obscure what may be the most important lesson that is emerging from the current crisis: Just as Americans are rediscovering the importance and value of the connections we too often take for granted, so too they are rediscovering that it is the doctor/patient encounter that lies at the heart of medicine.

Advanced equipment, lab tests, and office procedures all have roles to play, but by making in-person contact more difficult for all — and potentially deadly for some — this pandemic has reminded everyone that making person-to-person connections remain the most vital aspect of medicine and healing.

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A new paradigm — built on timeless values

Many providers — including existing eClinicalWorks customers and first-time customers seeking a telehealth solution — have said that their experiences during these last few weeks have changed the way they practice medicine. And many believe that telehealth will continue to play an important role at their practices when the current crisis has passed.

They are correct on both points.

Telehealth’s history has been one of long, slow growth, but also one that has faced a good deal of skepticism from providers and patients, as well as regulatory uncertainty that has sometimes limited its adoption.

The coronavirus crisis has brought new vigor and clarity to the world of telehealth. While the circumstances are unfortunate, the changes are welcome. Expanded access to care, particularly for those who cannot or should not make a physical visit to their doctor, is good news for practices and patients and marks a permanent and positive change for healthcare.

Best of all, it has reminded us all exactly where our focus should be — on the doctor/patient encounter.

Topics: telehealth, TeleVisits, telemedicine

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