Especially when it comes to the long-term care space.
We witnessed many dramatic changes in health care this year, one of which being a sudden widespread demand for telehealth services. As medical professionals and patients alike prioritized personal health and safety with social distancing protocols, they quickly traded exam rooms for video calls. This trend inspired the creation of a handful of new telehealth EHR integration options as software solution providers worked to better support the needs of their customers.
With that said, certain medical specialties have benefited more from telehealth thus far than others. Unfortunately, long-term care is not one of them.
Telehealth in Long-Term Care
Many long-term care facilities are living communities, a detail that made coping with COVID-19 particularly difficult. When a number of patients live in close quarters with one another, it’s more challenging to contain existing outbreaks, effectively isolate patients, and provide them with pre-COVID-19 quality care, especially as mobile providers and facility staff work to keep themselves safe as well. Assisted living homes and skilled nursing facilities nationwide faced serious staff shortages as more and more people were exposed to COVID-19, increasing workplace stress and rates of burnout for those left behind to bear the load.
While the addition of telehealth technology made logical sense on paper, implementing it in these long-term care settings was not so simple. First, telehealth platforms are not always easy and intuitive to use, so their learning curve can be time-intensive, requiring hours in a day that long-term care providers don’t have to spare during a public health crisis. And second, even after everyone receives proper training to use the telehealth platform, facility staff need to be available to cart a tablet from room to room to facilitate the doctor-patient connection. So, if you’re already struggling to meet existing patient needs with the remaining staff you have, asking these same employees to be a critical component of your telehealth delivery is not necessarily a recipe for success.
The Future of Long-Term Care & Telehealth
As we continue to support our clients working diligently to manage the threats of COVID-19 in their practices and facilities, we are investigating the various ways in which we can create telehealth services that effectively address the struggles experienced in the long-term care space. We are dedicated to helping find a solution, but we need your input.
Help us build the future of telehealth in the LTC space.
Share your thoughts on telehealth needs in the long-term care setting below.