Sometimes things are more than what they seem.
For some, the picture on a patient’s nightstand might be an ordinary photograph, but to the patient, it’s a cherished memory of a loved one. A college degree might seem like an expensive piece of paper to a few, but it represents a lifetime ambition and the promise of better opportunities to others.
Similarly, teleneurology is often seen as just stroke care, but to millions of Americans across the country, it’s much more than that.
Teleneurology’s capabilities and benefits extend far beyond just treating stroke patients. For those impacted by seizures, headaches, concussions, traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, and other degenerative conditions, patients, families, and healthcare providers can rely on the benefits of teleneurology.
Reduced Wait Times
It is a fact that stroke patients need to be seen quickly, and teleneurology can certainly deliver that care; however, neurological patients who aren’t in need of immediate care still need to be seen in an appropriate time frame.
The reality for many neurological patients is that they can spend an average of 32 days waiting for an appointment with a neurologist. One such report states that a patient, suspected of having Parkinson’s disease, was told it would be a nine-month wait until an appointment became available. Similarly, a patient suffering from severe migraines was informed it would take anywhere from six to eight months to see a doctor.
Both patients and hospitals are in a dilemma. The demand for neurologists is rapidly increasing while the supply of qualified physicians is decreasing. However, no matter if a patient has severe migraines or multiple sclerosis, waiting days or months to receive treatment can make a massive difference in their level of treatment and outcome. Teleneurology is a solution that provides immediate access to virtual neurologists for these patients.
Better Care for All Patients
Depending on the diagnosis, some patients require much more long-term attention and care from neurologists to ensure a successful recovery. However, many hospitals are not equipped and have limited onsite neurologists. These physicians are forced to split time between higher acuity patients and patients that require ongoing attention. This added responsibility often leads to burnout (which, according to recent studies, already impacts nearly 60% of neurologists), lessens the quality of care, and reduces the continuity of care that neurology patients rely on.
Ensuring continuity of care is vital when treating neurology patients. Physicians rely on their knowledge of a patient’s history, daily progress monitoring, and an array of tests and scans to make informed treatment decisions and determine discharge plans. However, because some hospitals simply have limited onsite neurologists to allocate enough staff towards this level of care, many patients leave the facility with no follow-up strategy.
By leveraging teleneurologists, hospitals and healthcare systems can balance their workforce and re-prioritize low-acuity cases while also delivering immediate care to those that need it. In addition, utilizing teleneurologists for scheduled appointments allow onsite neurologists to focus their attention on those higher acuity patients, reducing wait times, lessening burnout, and bringing in additional revenue.
Increased Patient Satisfaction and Outcomes
For many patients with chronic neurological conditions, the first visit to see a neurologist is far from being the last. After all, the patient’s care journey doesn’t end once they’ve left the hospital – it continues in the form of routine appointments and follow-up care.
Unfortunately, with a critical shortage of neurologists, especially in rural communities, a quick visit to see the neurologist is simply out of the question because it’s either too far or inconvenient. This is especially true for patients with limited mobility, who might not have a caretaker on hand to help with these routine appointments. By missing appointments, patients are at risk for more expensive healthcare procedures down the road, avoidable readmissions, or worse patient outcomes.
Teleneurology provides a convenient way for patients to remain engaged with their health and ensure routine follow-up care is available, regardless of where they are or their personal circumstances. Not only that, by offering teleneurology services closer to home, it improves patient satisfaction and boosts the reputation of the hospital within the community.
Virtual Physicians Are Prepared to Deliver Comprehensive Neurological Care
Teleneurology is much more than just stroke care. By providing access to virtual neurologists, millions of patients and their families can receive much needed care for neurological conditions that extend beyond just strokes. With reduced wait times, better care for all patients, and increased patient satisfaction and outcomes, the opportunities for teleneurology represent more than what they may seem.
Adopting teleneurology is easier than you think. To learn how a telemedicine partner can streamline implementation and help your telemedicine program succeed, schedule a demo today.
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