How telehealth can keep people with disabilities out of an emergency

Emergency departments should be a medical option of last resort, but for people with disabilities who visit emergency departments in disproportionate rate Compared to those without disabilities, this last stop becomes more common.

Virtual care has inherent advantages that help prevent excessive visits to the emergency department for the entire population, including people with disabilities.

Spotting medical problems early is vital to cutting off the flow of people to EDs. Providing high-quality care to individuals with disabilities from the comfort of their homes can help prevent avoidable visits.

Ofir Lotan is Vice President of Product and Customer Success at TytoCare, a telemedicine technology vendor, who believes virtual care needs to provide comprehensive diagnostic testing and focus on a streamlined end-to-end user design to achieve a reduction in ED visits for populations with specific considerations, such as people with disabilities. .

s. What is the crux of the problem of people with disabilities visiting the emergency room at disproportionate rates?

a. People with disabilities often encounter higher rates Chronic cases, experience a higher rate Financial difficulty covering care costs, compared to the non-disabled population. They are less likely to incur health care costs, and more likely to have unmet health care needs.

This combination of complications, from increased care needs and a lack of means to cover health care costs, has resulted in a lower ratio of persons with disabilities who receive routine annual check-ups and preventive care necessary to divert emergency department visits.

s. How can telehealth help keep people with disabilities out of emergency rooms?

a. Virtual care can support people with chronic care conditions by reducing access barriers that prevent them from going to the doctor’s office, especially when they need very regular checkups.

By taking advantage of virtual care visits, people with disabilities can regularly check up on chronic care conditions, Prevent ED visits later. Regular checkups can divert patients from critical condition, but only virtual care can go the extra mile to remove additional barriers such as transportation, scheduling and long waiting times for medical appointments.

For a non-disabled person, these obstacles can be frustrating and time consuming. For people with special needs, these additional challenges can be insurmountable. Telehealth is running these preventive checks, enabling individuals to attend these important appointments, without the added burden of leaving home.

Q: You’re suggesting that comprehensive diagnostic testing via telemedicine is key to helping people with disabilities. why?

a. Remote physical exams take virtual care to the next level by bypassing basic audio and video visits. Providing clinicians with reliable patient data and information from a comprehensive suite of tests is critical in providing accurate insights into a patient’s condition, allowing for more accurate clinical decisions.

For example, the ability to accurately examine patients’ throats, lungs, and hearts from a distance could be lifesaving, particularly for those with physical mobility challenges that may hinder their ability to leave their homes easily.

The additional ability to provide clinicians with accurate medical information, which they previously could not obtain from the comfort of home, is a game-changing factor for this population, caregivers and medical staff alike.

Now, clinicians will be able to access a more complete understanding of a patient’s overall well-being, backed by accurate diagnostic screening data, enabling equitable, high-quality care.

s. What should HCPO CIOs and other health IT leaders be doing today to help people with disabilities in their communities?

a. Providers must focus on ways to increase their patients’ access to high-quality virtual care with solutions that have real-world testing capabilities.

For many people with disabilities, virtual visits that use only audio and visual capabilities are not enough, especially if they have a specific disability that affects speech, hearing, movement, or sight. CIOs and health IT leaders should not and should not compromise the quality of remote care.

We should meet people with disabilities wherever they are, and design comprehensive solutions with accessibility and patient assistance features, rather than expecting people with disabilities to adhere to the status quo.

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Contact the author: bsiwicki@himss.org
Healthcare IT News is an informational publication of HIMSS.

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