Telemedicine can be said to be the use of information of a medical nature, shared by one site to another via the internet or intranet or any mass medium to help in the strengthening of the patients’ health (Sharpe, 2011). This involves the use of modern technology to communicate with patients and health practitioners. This may be through the use of e-health, videoconferencing, patients’ portals, still images and many others.
This technology results to the improved access by the patients to health care and improves the productivity of the health practitioners if well installed. It has also been shown to lower the hospital cost of the hospital and the patients themselves. But, much needs to be done for the technology to be efficient and effective. As seen from the case of Grand Hospital, the hospital needs to restructure of most its units in order for the adoption process to be effective.
Implementing a Telemedicine Solution
Grand hospital can be seen to be a not-for-profit hospital with the nearby hospitals being 75minutes drive away from it. From the case study, it is seen that 11,000 in-patients and 160,000 out-patients visit the hospital annually. This figures account for 136% of the patients it addresses as it has over-reached its limits by 36percent. With this in mind, the management can be seen to have invested 57 million for the expansion of the hospital and renovation. Amidst of all these, the hospital can be seen to be struggling to recruit physicians who are to ensure that the quality of health delivery by the hospital is maintained (Wager, Lee & Glaser, 2013). Grand has been relying on the use of old technology to manage its information systems. This can be seen to result in low employment of the physicians. The physicians mean age is seen to have increased over the last eight years period.
Many have retired over the same period leading to a shortage. The information system in place is said to be in a position not to handle the increased number of enquiries regarding physicians in the hospital. This will create a problem in the adoption of a new telemedicine solution as there is already a shortage in the number of physicians (Norris, 2012). This will limit the rate through which the program can be installed in the hospital due to over-working of the current physicians. Considering most of the physicians are also older, the program will be ineffective as some of the physicians are bound to retire with time. Also, some of the old physicians may take time to adopt the program hence dragging the progress down.
Over the past few years, the hospital has been suffering from a shortage of qualified physicians. The management is said to have employed a technology that could not handle the applications of new physicians hence not being in a position to recruit qualified physicians depending on the population growth rate of the hospital (Wager, Lee & Glaser, 2013). This is seen to be a major problem when it comes to success of the telemedicine technology in the areas behavioral health, radiology and intensive care. On the areas of Radiology and Behavioral health, it can be noted that the physicians are needed in the hospitals 24 hour a day and 7 days a week. This means that the hospital needs to mobilize funds to employ these physicians immediately before telemedicine technology is involved in the hospital. This is not an easy task as a series of interviews need to be conducted in order to determine the best physicians for the job. Since it is a non-profit organization, the hospital will need to look for new sources of funding, to be specific grants that take time to acquire from the government.
These two areas hence will be the hardest to transit into telemedicine as they will require a large capital outlay and major restructuring in the departments. On the intensive care area, it can be noted that there is also a need for physicians in this area. But, it has been said that there exist voluntary physician who frequently occupy this position the hospital could use these voluntary physicians for a period of time before plans are made to hire permanent ones. The process of hiring new physicians would also be an easy one as they already have people who are experienced in the given jobs. It would be cheaper to hire physicians who had volunteered in the hospitals as they know their way around and the culture of the organization as compared to hiring new employees who have no idea of the organization culture. This means that the hospital can function well with only employing a few of the physicians. This makes the intensive care unit of Grand to be the easiest to transit into telemedicine.
Norris, A. (2012). Essentials of Telemedicine and Telecare. West Sussex, England: J. Wiley.
Sharpe, C. (2011). Telenursing: Nursing Practice in Cyberspace. Westport, Conn: Auburn House.
Wager, K.A., Lee, F.W., & Glaser, J.P. (2013). Health care informationsystems: A practical approach for health care management. (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.