Meet Shruthi Chandra, MD
Jefferson Medical College, Medical School
Dr. Chandra, MD practices Emergency Medicine in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Chandra graduated from Jefferson Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in 2012 and has been in practice for 7 years. She completed a residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
A CONVERSATION WITH DR. CHANDRA ABOUT TELE-HEALTH
Currently, at Jefferson, the two things that we’re doing about to telehealth;
One is on-demand care. We give acute care directly to the patient, which is exactly what we do in our real practice. The patient calls in they have a chief complaint. They’ve got a problem, we can listen to them and treat them online, on video.
The other way that we use telehealth to help with some flow in the emergency department is tele-triage. Every single patient who walks into the emergency department is evaluated by a physician on video through tele-triage, at which time we can make a quick assessment as to what the patient needs where they need to go, and what blood work labs, imaging, etc that we want to do. We put that in upfront just a few minutes after they enter the emergency department so that all that work up is done in a timely fashion. They can get dispositioned meaning discharged or admitted in a much more timely fashion, which helps with the flow of the emergency department.
Those are the two initiatives that we’re using in the emergency department right now. In the rest of the hospital, there are a lot other uses as well. Primary care physicians are using it for visits, surgeons and radiation oncologists are using it for post-care visits or pre-operative management. Some psychiatrists are trying to use it for several applications, so it can be used as a tool.
Overcoming Barriers in Telehealth Adoption
The barrier comes from people accepting it on both sides, the physician side as well as the patient side, and implementing it. A good thing for us in our institute is that we have made a concerted effort institution-wide to adopt telehealth into our practices. Therefore, when you tell someone that they need to do it, they get in line and they do it. We’ve also found that once physicians begin doing a few visits with telehealth, they realize that it’s just them practicing medicine, and they are simply using a different modality that’s more convenient to them, more convenient to patients. It also helps with better outcomes, better times, and better access.
Once they realize that it’s not that much more complicated, and it’s not that much of a new skill set that they need to learn, they’re much easier to adopt that. Patients, on the other hand, find that it’s much more helpful for them to get access to this physician, to not have to travel to the clinic or the hospital as they’re supposed to. Once we start to help them adopt, for example, they’ll come into the emergency department and we’ll upload the app for them on their phones. Same thing in the, in the primary care of space. If we teach patients ahead of time and we get them to get comfortable with the technology, they’re easily able to use that at home. So I think the ways to overcome these barriers are education and training and supporting patients ahead of time to make that happen.
This interview was recorded at HIMSS Conference