Telehealth steps up in wake of pandemic

Patient satisfaction on the rise with this new technology

Left to right: Sesh Mudumbai, MD, Kent Berg, MD, MBA, and Nasrin Aldawoodi, MD
Left to right: Sesh Mudumbai, MD, Kent Berg, MD, MBA, and Nasrin Aldawoodi, MD

PN327 – Telehealth: Building a Bridge for Your Practice and Hospital to Success
Monday, October 24 | 3:45-4:45 p.m.
Room 252-254

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed medicine in many ways, not the least of which is the rise in telehealth. Health care professionals at all levels have had to adapt virtual visits, remote monitoring, and mobile technology into their daily practice.

At first glance, anesthesiology might not seem an ideal specialty for telehealth, but Sesh Mudumbai, MD, Associate Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, California, said that is not necessarily the case.

“Anesthesiologists regularly encounter articles trumpeting near-magical advances in remote monitoring and how telehealth adoption can allow anesthesiologists to increase continuity of care, extend access beyond the hospital, reduce patient travel burden, and help overcome clinician shortages, especially in rural and underserved populations,” he said. “But how can and should telemedicine work? How will we deploy it and build trust from our patients and from surgeons?”

Those are questions Dr. Mudumbai will seek to answer in the Monday panel discussion “Telehealth: Building a Bridge for Your Practice and Hospital to Success.” Proposed by the Committee of Informatics and Information Technology, the panel will also feature Kent Berg, MD, MBA, Director of Perioperative Informatics and Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, and Nasrin Aldawoodi, MD, Medical Director of the Pre-Anesthesia Testing Clinic at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Florida.

Dr. Berg said telehealth impacts and restructures the entirety of the health care system, including anesthesiology and surgery, affecting access at many levels of the national system, especially in remote geographies.

“In particular, telehealth could improve patient satisfaction,” he said. “But it could also revolutionize health care in terms of earlier access and more communication in between in-person visits. It could potentially lead to more frequent health care visits, cutting down on the time spent sitting in a waiting room, having patients be more actively involved in their care, reducing readmission rates, and more. Since anesthesiologists are running many of these perioperative programs, we are set up as a specialty group to shape how telehealth will impact the surgical patient.”

Dr. Aldawoodi added that telehealth could impact other areas as well.

“It could improve preoperative assessment and optimization of patients prior to surgery, which has been shown to reduce perioperative cancellations, morbidity, and length of stay after surgery,” she said. “It could also improve post-hospital discharge monitoring and tracking and that could lead to decreased morbidity and decreased likelihood of 30-day hospital readmission.”

Within anesthesiology in particular, Dr. Mudumbai said telehealth has the potential to improve the overall patient experience as well as access for the patients themselves.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, specialty care areas such as surgery and OB/GYN have had to increase or at least explore the use of telehealth and telemedicine visits,” he said. “Surgical patients routinely undergo pre-anesthesia evaluation prior to scheduled surgery or invasive procedure in order to assess their pre-procedure condition and risk, optimize their status, and prepare them for their procedure. The lack of a preoperative evaluation can increase morbidity and mortality. Up to 25% of day-of-surgery cancellations are due to inadequate preoperative workup, and it is well established that these preoperative clinics reduce the risk of such cancellations and delays.”

Dr. Mudumbai said the session will include updates on telehealth legislation for numerous states across the U.S.

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