Up to 50% of Hospital’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic Patients Stay Connected to Care via Telemedicine Visits, Cutting Hospitalizations that Average $50,000 per Admission.
The Susan and Leonard Feinstein Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Clinical Center at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York is a nationally ranked facility for the care of pediatric and adult patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Within the practice lives a patient-centered subspecialty medical home, known as GRITT-IBD (Gaining Resilience Through Transitions), created to treat complex IBD patients by providing real-time care and support from physicians, nutritionists, psychologists and social services. To stay connected to patients between office visits, practitioners rely on MediSprout’s V2MD, a HIPAA-compliant video conferencing technology for telemedicine visits.
“MediSprout’s V2MD removes barriers to care by allowing us to go to our patients rather than waiting for them to come to us,” says Laurie Keefer, PhD, Health Psychologist and Director of Subspecialty Medical Home, GRITT-IBD. “Through face-to-face interaction via telemedicine, we are able to build relationships with patients, including those who have the most critical needs, and work with them to provide care and support before problems escalate. We can do this without burdening patient or doctor schedules.”
Keefer utilizes MediSprout’s V2MD to provide psychosocial care, such as cognitive-behavior therapy, gut-directed hypnotherapy, and resilience training. Other practitioners at the center rely on V2MD visits to otherwise manage IBD symptoms, address medication side effects, offer nutritional advice, and provide injection training. Since implementing MediSprout’s technology into their practice in August 2016, Keefer estimates that the Mount Sinai IBD Clinical Center has conducted nearly 700 telemedicine visits with about half of its 5,000 patients and 40 percent of its highest risk patients, who account for 20 percent of its practice. Before implementing the technology, it relied on traditional office visits and was often frustrated with barriers to care, such as inconvenience, inefficiencies and an inability to stay connected to patients.
Continued Care and Connection Decrease Unnecessary Hospital Visits
Providing a convenient continuum of care to GRITT patients via V2MD—a process Keefer estimates costs the hospital about $1,500 per patient per year—significantly reduces unnecessary hospitalizations, which cost an estimated $50,000 per admission. For instance, when IBD patient experiences abdominal pain and is unable to visit a doctor, he or she is often sent to a hospital emergency room for assessment. The ER staff—who is alerted that the patient has an IBD, but may have little or no knowledge of disease history or state of remission—is often quick to admit the patient, exposing him or her to invasive imaging, administering opioid pain medication, and often admitting the patient for monitoring. It’s an expensive route for patients and providers. Instead, patients can conduct a telemedicine visit with a nurse practitioner who knows their history and can gauge their current problem severity, decrease anxieties and recommend next steps. “Because of frequent interaction through telemedicine, we know our patients well and can often save them from reaching acute distress or making an unnecessary trip to the ER,” says Keefer.
MediSprout’s V2MD Offers Reliable, User-Friendly Technology for the Real World
MediSprout’s V2MD allows Mt. Sinai’s IBD clinic to track visits and generate reports, a feature that makes it simple to integrate the technology into the practice and send metrics to administrators. Reliability is also important to the clinic, for instance to Keefer, who relies on solid operability and connection while providing therapy or conducting gut-directed hypnosis.
The technology works as well for patients as it does medical personnel. Mt. Sinai uses MediSprout’s V2MD to connect with patients who teleconference via the V2MD app on their smartphone or from a computer. “It works for nearly everybody,” says Keefer. “I have investment bankers who tele-connect from conference rooms, college students who use it from dorm rooms (saving themselves a trip home to see their doctor), and Medicaid patients who connect from a shared computer at their local library,” Keefer says.