To expand distance health, we need to overcome several
obstacles. The first is to expand access and use of telemedicine. By increasing the applicability for telehealth in post-op
and eConsult cases, we will introduce patients to the telemedicine platform. Further, by training primary care providers to
use designated telehealth systems, we have seen improved
coordinated care among our teams. Our goal is to expand the
availability and competency of the teledermatology platform
to as many of our in-network providers as possible. We look
forward to educating other advanced practitioners in our affiliate Express Care Clinics in using our teledermatology services.
Other issues involve legal technicalities involving interstate
care in addition to onboarding and training varied practitioners
in separate locations. The improvement of technical capabilities in the telehealth platform will allow superior continuity of
care. Advances such as high-resolution imagery, health record
integration with sophisticated wound volume measurement
applications, and enhanced Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act (HIPAA)-secured cloud network infrastructure will lead to enriched clinical decision-making with
The Value of Convenience
Telemedicine promises to decrease the travel burden on patient
families, expand care, and offer consistent follow-up. 21 As our
healthcare system moves to a fee-for-value system, it is in our
best interest to find ways to reduce costs to our patients while
increasing quality. Telemedicine, and teledermatology in particular, offers a unique opportunity to do so. By triaging patients,
having asynchronous visits, and using eConsults, we can expect
the cost and time of treating patients to fall. Further, patient
satisfaction will increase by offering patients timely, stress-free ways to get quality care. By submitting their own pictures
and video-conferencing with a physician in real-time, patients
can obtain direct care at their convenience.
Hirsh A. Shah, B.A., is a plastic surgery research fellow at Cleveland Clinic.
Karolina S. Mlynek, M.D., M.B. A., is a plastic surgery research fellow
at the Cleveland Clinic. Chris Piel, B.S., M.B.A., is an administrator for
the Dermatology and Plastic Surgery Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Daniel
Moussa, B.S., is a second-year medical student at the Cleveland Clinic
Lerner School of Medicine. Maria Madajka, Ph.D., is a plastic surgery
research assistant at the Cleveland Clinic. Francis A. Papay, M.D., is
chair of the Dermatology and Plastic Surgery Institute at Cleveland Clinic.
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