Physicians have been providing prescriptions since the beginning of history. From herbal remedies and leaching to modern day prescription medicines, the limited number of trained healthcare professionals have relied upon various methods to handle ever growing number of ambulatory patients. We are now moving into a new age of prescriptions because of COVID-19’s shelter-in-place requirements where clinicians may be prescribing new digital medicine apps to handle the remote care requirements of today.
Managing Ambulatory Patients
Current healthcare policies in the US that incentivize pay to bring people to hospitals and the doctor’s office actually put most patients at risk for transmission of other diseases and COVID-19 has shown that the needs of ambulatory patients may need a new level of attention. The concept of ambulatory patients is not new. VeryWellHealth.com describes this concept as:
“Healthcare professionals may refer to a patient as ambulatory. This means the patient is able to walk around. After surgery or medical treatment, a patient may be unable to walk unassisted. Once the patient is able to do so, he is noted to be ambulatory.”
The article then goes on to add:
“The term ambulatory patients may also refer to outpatients who are being treated in ambulatory care settings rather than as hospital inpatients. It is a synonym for outpatients. They are coming and going to the care setting and not spending the night. In this case, the patients may or may not be able to walk and they may need a wheelchair. Ambulatory simply means the patient is not confined to the hospital.”
This secondary definition of ambulatory patients is particularly noteworthy during these exceptional times brought on by COVID-19.
COVID-19's Impact On Digital Health
The World health Organization has been tracking COVID-19 since December 2019 and issued a pandemic warning on March 11, 2020. This brought about the shelter-in-place requirements and the start of a new drain on the healthcare system. Unfortunately, we have historically adhered to a dogma that care can only be delivered in an office or hospital, but most care is not tied to venue with the obvious exception being surgery. It doesn’t matter if you play football in your backyard, a field, high school stadium or the Superdome, you are still playing football. COVID-19 has not only proven that telemedicine is a viable alternative for care but actually is preferable because the ceremony of requiring an exam room actually puts patients at risk and access to care is hampered by how many people can get into the facility.
This has also given rise to a plethora on new digital healthcare apps. In order to be effective, these apps must be “integrated into care” and not just be an “accessory to care”. Wearables are an example of being an accessory to care because they don’t drive data to the clinician to be useful. If the app can be added into the care program for a patient, then there is also an added median value to the patient by not creating extra work while delivering a serotonin release for the patient seeing immediate results or a feedback loop from their care provider.
MOre Than Just Telemedicine
Physicians should think of the emerging class of digital medicine apps as a digital toolbox like any other medical tool they use (i.e. scalpel, blood pressure cuff or rotoscope) only the app can provide more data touchpoints to their patients to improve the quality of care. The wrong way to do it is to think it is like a pill to provide a cure. It would also be shortsighted to believe that current telemedicine apps alone can handle the depth and breadth of requirements for ambulatory patients.
Noteworth’s comprehensive care delivery system allows integration and optimization with your EMR, and it can replace multiple remote offerings under one platform, reducing the need for multiple reporting overlaps. On top of which, it allows for a “walking diagnosis” and tracking of symptoms with Patient Reported Outcomes and Adherence to Care Plan, including Medication Management and RPM which allows for proactive care. Noteworth enriches the ambulatory patient experience and allows clinicians to practice at the top of their licenses by easily and effectively producing and managing the data that confirms superior clinical outcomes, reducing cost of care and improving patient safety and satisfaction.
Bottomline is that by creating an empowerment model which makes the patient feel like they are actively involved in their own care with a feedback loop (and not just something else to do), you set an entirely new bar for healthcare delivery. Now is the time to see for yourself how you can provide unrivaled confirmation of superior clinical outcomes, reduce cost of care and improve patient safety and satisfaction by enriching the patient experience and allowing clinicians to practice at the top of their licenses or better yet, request a demo today.