Increasing acceptability from clinicians, patients, and payers is necessary for teleneurology to revolutionize how neurologists approach patient care. After four years of development, teleneurology is ready to provide remote treatment for some of the most vulnerable patients in medicine.
Hospitals are rethinking their approaches to patient care as video conferencing and telemedicine gain popularity. Many hospitals use teleneurologists in light of the COVID-19 outbreak to safeguard patient health, make the most of limited resources, and streamline administrative processes. Hospitals are finding that teleneurologists can be helpful for in-patient rounds.
In-patient Rounding: What is It?
In-patient rounds have always played a significant role in providing quality medical treatment. Proactive patient care, in the form of regular check-ins, has long been recognized as beneficial by medical professionals. This practice dates back at least to the 17th century. In-patient rounding is a common practice in modern hospitals, and it’s used to check in on patients, make any necessary adjustments to their treatment, and map out what comes next once they’re discharged.
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It can be challenging to get neurologists to work on-site to undertake things like in-patient rounding due to a nationwide shortage of neurologists; however, this is unnecessary.
Utilizing Teleneurologists to Meet the Shortage of Neurologists
In the next several years, the lack of neurologists in the United States is only expected to worsen. An 11 percent deficit in neurologists was reported in 2013 by the American Academy of Neurology, and this gap is expected to widen to 19 percent by 2025.
The shortage of neurologists is expected to worsen as the Baby Boomer generation ages. In turn, more people are diagnosed with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and strokes remain the third highest cause of death in the United States. One-third of centers reported wait periods of more than three months in 2016, and the average wait time to see a Parkinson’s disease expert was over two months.
It is especially true that traditionally underserved populations, such as those in rural areas, would feel the effects of scarcity. A nationwide survey of EMS response times found that just 22% of the rural U.S. population was within a 30-minute drive of a medical center with a neurologist on duty.
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Because of this deficit, neurologists are in short supply in many hospitals. Specialists on-site devote their full attention to urgent cases, such as individuals showing up with stroke-like symptoms. Because of this, in-patient rounding is left to the on-duty neurologist or to the generalist staff members who aren’t trained in neurological care. These obstacles, among others, can disrupt patients’ access to consistent treatment, lengthen diagnosis time, and force rural residents to travel long distances.
This vacuum in routine treatment may be filled by teleneurologists, who can help hospitals utilize their resources, increase efficiency, and ultimately give their patients better health. Let’s look at four reasons teleneurologists should be used in in-patient rounding.
A more consistent level of care
Rehabilitation after a stroke or other neurological disorder is a challenging field. Without a silver bullet, neurologists must base treatment decisions and post-discharge plans on a patient’s history, daily progress, and results from a battery of tests and scans. Unfortunately, most hospitals either do not have on-site neurologists or have too few neurologists to devote time to in-patient rounding and other non-emergency circumstances.
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If you choose online neurology services and a planned coverage model for teleneurologists, you may be sure that the same teleneurologist will continue to treat you while you heal. Having the teleneurologist oversee the patient during the hospital stay improves progress tracking and has also been demonstrated to promote patient satisfaction.
Increased diagnostic speed
Teleneurologists can give speedier medical counseling and diagnosis when an on-site neurologist is unavailable. Teleneurologists can significantly increase the likelihood of successful recovery with the help of on-site experts, allowing them to swiftly evaluate CT scans or test findings. Every second counts while treating stroke victims. Therefore, any time saved can significantly influence the patient’s prognosis.
A shorter wait time
Nighttime and early morning hours are often the only times when neurologists on-site are available. The time it takes for a doctor to see a patient for a consultation or to go over lab findings is sometimes a significant inconvenience for patients. However, when a hospital has teleneurology coverage, patients can visit a specialist immediately without waiting for hours or being transferred to another facility.
A patient’s ability to access and receive care easily
As a result of the national trend toward specialization in medicine, rural areas are experiencing the most significant shortages of medical professionals. Only 22% of rural towns are within a short drive of a healthcare facility with a trained neurologist. Therefore, teleneurologists offer a way for rural people to get care without going too far. The hospital will gain in a few different ways from this. It’s suitable for their standing in the neighborhood and assures that emergency medical services won’t bypass them if they need a neurologist. Similarly, it lessens the likelihood that a patient would need to be transferred to a different institution, which can significantly influence the patient’s prognosis.
The growing popularity of telehealth and telemedicine among patients and doctors presents an excellent opportunity for teleneurology. Hospitals can improve efficiency by delegating mundane activities to a distant team of teleneurologists to conduct in-patient rounds. Therefore, patients’ health is safeguarded, hospital resources are maximized, and more people may be treated, leading to better patient outcomes.Schedule an appointment now with NeuroX to see how our expert teleneurologists working under a shift-based care paradigm may streamline in-patient rounds and enhance patient care.