Telehealth ER Opportunities and The Aging Population

By: Team T

Healthcare for the aging population is central to our mission here at TeleMedCo.

Our vision to utilize technology to increase the efficiency and quality of healthcare will play a huge part in improving the ER experience for all patients, but especially for the complex needs of geriatric healthcare. As the population increases and ages, more and more demands are being placed on the healthcare ecosystem. Medical schools cannot turn out trained physicians fast enough to effectively and efficiently handle it.

From 2010 to 2050, the rise in the US population of people ages sixty-five and older will more than double, and those ages eighty-five and older will more than triple.(1)

Anticipating this increase of demand on Emergency Rooms and actively developing telehealth platforms to provide effective solutions is critical. What is needed to alleviate this strain is more predictive ER care, decreased wait times, and decreased costs.

It is estimated that forty percent of geriatric ER patients suffer from cognitive impairment, such as dementia and delirium, (2,3) and cognitive impairments are a huge safety concern for ER patients. Providing accurate medical history is crucial for the health provider to give accurate diagnosis and treatment, and when a patient is suffering from cognitive impairment, it is far more likely that the patient cannot provide accurate medical history and current medical complications and medications. These patients are far more likely to be inaccurately diagnosed, or practice noncompliance with prescribed treatment, and therefore be re-admitted to the ER, all of which endangers the patient and is much more financial strain on the ER.

With the implementation of TeleMedCo’s platform, a lot of this stain will be alleviated. Through our cutting edge technology, IBM Watson’s cognitive computing platform will be able to run cognitive analyses based on a comprehensive patient record, complete with treatment history including all drugs that the patient may be taking. Beyond that, TeleMedCo’s platform, powered by IBM Watson, will also update patient records, code and process insurance claims, and monitor patients for aftercare. This will represent a paradigm shift in the approach to healthcare, making both hospitals and practices more profitable while saving money for patients and their Insurance carriers.

Geriatric patients with complicated health problems also need more time being evaluated in the ER, and TeleMedCo’s platform, powered by IBM Watson, will be able to check in the patient, take vitals and complete an initial evaluation, so that the ER doctor can quickly dive into the deeper, nuanced medical and psychological needs of the patient. This will not only cater to the complex needs of geriatric patients, but decrease ER wait time overall.

Beyond Emergency care, we plan to work closely with providers of wearable monitoring devices. This will allow the medical community to provide aftercare that can obviate the need for re-admission to a hospital and save lives. Using the capabilities of wearables, a person suffering a monitored episode that requires assistance can be located easily and supported with telehealth services. TeleMedCo also plans to develop applications in the area of anti-aging medicine, the cutting edge of healthcare and assist the consumer in maintaining health and fitness.

Despite the demands and stress currently in ER’s, there is a bright future for geriatric ER healthcare. Our team at TeleMedCo are committed to developing the most innovative and life-changing software possible- to support medical professionals and the healthcare ecosystem, and to give the best care to our loved ones.

(1) Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics. Older Americans 2012: key indicators of well-being. Washington (DC): Government Printing Office; June 2012.

(2) 11. Hustey FM, Meldon SW, Smith MD, Lex CK. The effect of mental status screening on the care of elderly emergency department patients. Ann Emerg Med. 2003;41(5):678–84. [PubMed]

(3) 12. Carpenter CR, Bassett ER, Fischer GM, Shirshekan J, Galvin JE, Morris JC. Four sensitive screening tools to detect cognitive dysfunction in geriatric emergency department patients: brief Alzheimer’s Screen, Short Blessed Test, Ottowa 3DY, and the caregiver-completed AD8. Acad Emerg Med. 2011;18(4):374–84. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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