In the wake of COVID-19, competition for clinical talent has never been more fierce. Health systems were already up against staffing shortages, high turnover rates, and an epidemic of provider burnout before the virus swept across the globe. After the pandemic, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) projects that physician shortage could be as high as 139,000 physicians by 2033, with an annual turnover rate of six to seven percent.
Second opinions are, in the words of many within the healthcare industry, essential in the case of critical illness and should be the right of every patient. Most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover or even require an in-person second opinion consultation with a specialist prior to treatment. Medicare even pays for a third opinion if the second opinion differs significantly from the first.
If you are like most practices, the words “virtual care” have become critical to your survival. With the changes the world has faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, facilities that once relied exclusively on in-person treatment have been forced to explore ways to meet their patients’ needs without always seeing them face-to-face. By 2021 and 2022, most practices have used telehealth software to enable a virtual meeting with a patient. These programs allow physicians to talk through simple issues with patients during a live video consultation. But what about complex cases, chronic issues, or complicated cancer diagnoses? What if your practice offers specialized care that requires an assessment of a patient’s case history?
Basic telehealth tech does not typically have an answer for these questions as the systems lack a comprehensive method for aggregating and presenting health information, especially for records like test results and radiology scans. It’s for these cases that your virtual care toolbox needs to include a method for Remote Second Opinions. But what is a Remote Second Opinion (RSO)?
Well, I’m glad you asked…
Most cloud-based Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) have a maximum useful life of somewhere in the range of five to ten years. If you're a doctor and your system is nearing that age or older, you need to begin considering your backup plan and budget for replacing a new one.
Telehealth exploded at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as patients and providers scrambled to find safe, effective ways to receive and deliver care remotely.