Telemedicine Could Be Helpful for Nighttime Patient Admissions
According to a new study published in Telemedicine and e-Health, the low number of nighttime admissions to hospitals may reveal an opportunity for leveraging telehospitalist physicians to deliver inpatient services during that time.
For the study, researchers analyzed the Florida state hospital discharge dataset to investigate the potential market for nighttime telehospitalist service. They found 19 percent of common hospitalist admissions occurred from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., with zero to ten patients per night. Eighty percent of admissions occurred before midnight.
"The low volume of nighttime admissions indicates an opportunity to leverage a telehospitalist physician service to deliver inpatient medical admission services across a network," the study's authors concluded.
The study's authors said nighttime care is especially problematic for hospitalist practices offering 24/7 care because staffing is usually reduced starting at 7 p.m., and night coverage is more expensive than day coverage because of lower volumes of billable services.
Nighttime could be one of the most useful times to employ telemedicine, authors argued, because "telemedicine is most effective when applied where physician resources are scarce, patient care is time sensitive and service volume may be distributed across a network."
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