Telemedicine Solution Improves Access to Medical Care and Saves Millions in Healthcare Costs
Created three years ago by a team of emergency-medicine physicians, StationMD utilizes telemedicine to provide high-risk patients access to quality healthcare in their own living facilities, including nursing homes, group homes and residential facilities. Using MediSprout’s secure, HIPAA-compliant video conferencing technology as a foundation for its StationMD product, the company has reduced unnecessary trips to hospital emergency rooms (ER) by up to 50 percent for some nursing home patients and a staggering 86 percent for patients in intellectually and developmentally disabled (IDD) facilities. Avoiding unwarranted hospital transfers and admissions helps some of the most vulnerable patients avoid traumatic travel, exposure to infection and disruption to their daily routines, and provides a tremendous cost savings to patients, facilities, and hospitals.
“Our goal is to offer a telemedicine solution to improve medical access and quality of care to patients with high risks and special needs, keeping them out of the hospital and improving their quality of life,” says StationMD CEO Matthew Kaufman MD, FACEP. “As ER doctors, we’re about providing care with efficiency and speed. MediSprout allows us to do that by offering technology that is smart, seamless and simple to use.”
StationMD is a portable tablet device that uses a secure video-conferencing system augmented with diagnostic tools—such as a stethoscope and high-quality diagnostic camera—to connect medical personnel, such as on-site and home healthcare nurses and their patients to board certified doctors for evaluation and treatment. StationMD doctors are available immediately to perform a telemedicine exam and to work closely with facility staff, patients and their families to prescribe treatment plans and schedule necessary follow-up.
StationMD Allows for More Immediate Care and Saves Patients and Facilities Millions of Dollars in Healthcare Costs
StationMD conducted a three-month telemedicine pilot at a 300-bed skilled nursing facility in Staten Island, New York to measure its effectiveness in reducing preventable hospital transfers. The facility saw a nearly 50 percent decrease in ER transfers when staff utilized StationMD to connect with emergency medicine physicians for medical issues that could be addressed onsite. By averaging the cost of hospitalization admission diagnoses, they estimate that this reduction has the potential to save $65,000 per 100 patients per month or $2.4 million for a facility of this size.
Similar comparisons were done on the use of StationMD in IDD facilities. Using the technology to connect with physicians, the facilities are able to reduce unnecessary transfers to ERs by as much as 86 percent. “Patients at IDD facilities, such as those with cerebral palsy, often need frequent medical care,” says Kaufman. “Saving them a traumatic trip to the ER, which can be a scary place with long waits has a major impact on their well being and plays a significant role in reducing their exposure to infection.”
MediSprout’s Innovative Features Allow Doctors to Prepare and Initiate Care without Delay
Unlike many other healthcare practices, StationMD connects with patients on an unplanned basis—when an emergency or urgent medical need, such as a fever, suspected infection or respiratory issue occurs in a nursing or residential facility. MediSprout’s Waiting Room feature, a virtual waiting area where patients requiring care are coordinated, allows StationMD physicians to see a queue of patients awaiting service and to prepare for their needs. For instance, providers can pull medical records, request vitals, and prepare equipment, sometimes starting or coordinating care before the actual tele-visit while patients wait comfortably in their own residence. The feature allows medical staff to get treatment started quickly without patients having to endure long wait times before being seen by medical personnel.
User-Friendly, Secure, Seamless Technology Promotes Utilization
Kaufman says the medical community is often reluctant to adopt new technology because of the time it takes to learn and implement it into a busy practice. But this isn’t the case with StationMD. “Nurses and doctors are up and running—connecting with and caring for patients—with a click of a button and a few keystrokes,” he says. “It requires very little training, which means utilization is enormous.”
Conclusion and Next Steps
Built on MediSprout innovation, StationMD offers a simple, reliable way for healthcare providers to connect some of their most vulnerable patients to the care they need without unnecessary visits to hospitals when no immediate care is available. The innovative technology also saves patients, providers and facilities significant healthcare costs.
“Telemedicine allows the medical field to apply clinical skills anywhere they are needed, providing a new level of healthcare access,” says Kaufman. “For many, including the elderly and patients with special needs, that reach has a major impact on quality of life.” The company plans to expand its business, working with traveling nurses to provide care to patients who were previously out of reach.