Best Practices for Patient Engagement with Telehealth

Ted James, MD, MHCM
June 2, 2020

“In an age where the average consumer manages nearly all aspects of life online, it’s a no-brainer that healthcare should be just as convenient, accessible, and safe as online banking.”

— Jonathan Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association

Health care organizations are actively leveraging telemedicine as a natural solution to connecting with patients while addressing new social distancing realities. Honestly, I found it difficult at first to establish an effective rapport with patients using telehealth, especially for new patient consults. Many physicians report difficulty making the transition to virtual patient encounters.

The learning curve was more than I had expected, and my first few telehealth visits seemed disengaged and sterile. Not to mention having to deal with technical problems. In response, I looked for resources about making meaningful connections with patients, despite the loss of physical presence. I also looked at how to apply the basics of patient-centered communication to this new digital platform. As it turns out, you can learn techniques to become more comfortable and improve your ‘web-side manner.’ Continue reading “Best Practices for Patient Engagement with Telehealth”

The Role of Doctors in the COVID-19 “Infodemic”

By Marwa Saleh, MD
May 19, 2020

In late March, several news outlets1,2 ran headlines stating that hundreds of Iranians died and others went blind after drinking adulterated alcohol for protection against COVID-19—some of them were children. On a similar note, the Journal of Histopathology documented the case3 of a 41-year-old American who was hospitalized after drinking disinfectant leading to the severe injury of her small bowels.

Other stories include  a father who died of COVID-19 after delaying medical help because he believed that COVID-19 was just like the flu, and the couple5 who ingested chloroquine (not intended for human use) leading to the death of the husband and hospitalization of the wife.

The tragic incidents were the result of misinformation and these consequences aren’t rare; A WHO report6 in February stated that we were facing a “massive infodemic.” The hazards of misinformation are vivid—misinformation costs lives. Continue reading “The Role of Doctors in the COVID-19 “Infodemic””

Leading Beyond the COVID-19 Health Care Crisis

By Ted A James, MD, MHCM
May 5, 2020

The disruptive nature of the global pandemic has created a rapidly changing environment with long-lasting implications for health care far beyond the immediate crisis.

It is unlikely that we will simply revert back to normal; new ways of thinking will be required and the ability to adapt to new realities and prepare for an unknown future will mean the difference between success and failure. The challenge calls leaders to navigate uncertainty while restructuring care in an abruptly transformed health system.  Continue reading “Leading Beyond the COVID-19 Health Care Crisis”

A Double Whammy: The COVID-19 Pandemic and Burnout in Medical Professionals

By Dr. Marwa Saleh, MD
April 9, 2020

Scientists and manufacturers everywhere are working on vaccines, drugs, and low-cost ventilators to manage the coronavirus pandemic. Governments are building make-shift hospitals in many countries. It seems like everything is being covered, everything but the one irreplaceable link in the health provision chain—health care workers. Continue reading “A Double Whammy: The COVID-19 Pandemic and Burnout in Medical Professionals”

COVID-19: Quarantine Tips from a Dietitian

By Jamie M. Marchetti, MS, RDN, LD
March 20, 2020

As grocery store options grow sparse and many face the possibility of being quarantined to their homes in the wake of COVID-19, neither you nor your patients may be able to eat the way you normally do. As your typical foods may be unavailable or perishable, consider these tips when choosing new options from the grocery store, and share this information with your patients as well. Continue reading “COVID-19: Quarantine Tips from a Dietitian”

Gaining Leadership Buy-in for Organizational Change in Health Care

By Ted A James, MD, MHCM
March 12, 2020

Do any of these situations sound familiar?

  • You desperately need additional personnel for your clinic but hear that there is a hiring freeze, as funds are not currently available in the budget for recruitment.
  • Your request for a medical device that is necessary for a new procedure is placed behind several others in the queue for planned capital equipment purchasing. After asking for updates, it appears that the wait will be indefinite.
  • You have an excellent idea for a quality improvement initiative that will improve clinical outcomes, patient experience, and clinician satisfaction. However, you cannot seem to obtain the necessary organizational resources to support your proposal.

Physicians involved in day-to-day patient care often come across opportunities to improve the health delivery system. However, funds may not be available to support their ideas. This situation can lead to frustration and discouragement. Worse still, we lose out on the advantages that these innovations would bring to our patients. Continue reading “Gaining Leadership Buy-in for Organizational Change in Health Care”

Engaging Physicians to Lead Change in Health Care

By Ted A James, MD, MHCM, FACS
January 9, 2020

Doctors must be central players in the sweeping changes transforming health care. Indeed, any change strategy they do not embrace is doomed.” Thomas Lee, MD

THE IMPORTANCE OF PHYSICIAN ENGAGEMENT

I was recently invited to participate in the National Academy of Medicine Emerging Leaders Forum, where the group explored the most pressing challenges in health care and sought to develop new ways of thinking that could lead to change. One takeaway from the meeting was that today’s ever-shifting landscape of patient needs, regulatory environment, and downward cost pressures requires physician leadership to meet the changing demands of health care. Continue reading “Engaging Physicians to Lead Change in Health Care”