Previously, patients admitted in the middle of the night have had a higher mortality rate, according to the American Medical Association. Soon, however, this statistic may be a thing of the past; telenocturnists have begun volunteering for the less-desired weekend and nighttime shifts, and they’re hoping to lessen the disparity in outcomes while reducing the financial burden on hospitals.
Traditionally, hospitals employ three or more nocturnists to ensure that a physician is always available. It’s an effective but expensive approach—higher salaries or extra benefits must be used to encourage experienced doctors to take the position.
That’s where telenocturnist services come in. As explained by Eduardo Vadia, MD, co-founder of medical group Access Physicians, one doctor can cover two or three facilities during one overnight shift. At a cost of $25 to $40 an hour to one hospital, that’s a lot more palatable than the typical $150 to $175 per hour for an onsite doctor. This can translate into annual cost savings of tens of thousands of dollars for hospitals.
And when physicians are assigned to particular hospitals or facilities in a geographical region, the hospital clinical teams get to know the remote physicians. Over time, this leads to strong working relationships where the onsite staff and remote doctors are on a first-name basis.
For a successful program, remote physicians must communicate well across the computer screen with warmth, concern, and sincerity. Confidence in the technology helps too, although that often depends on the telemedicine platform’s reliability and quality of audio and video transmissions.
A live video medicine platform such as swyMed would be ideal for telenocturnist services. SwyMed remains connected even in low-bandwidth settings, such as those found in rural areas, and its intuitive user interface makes it easy for staff to adjust to a telemedicine scenario.
To learn more about telenocturnist programs, click here.
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