What is Telemedicine? Keeping Medicine at the Heart
Guest Post by Dr. Melynda Barnes for The Petrova Experience. In this post Dr. Barnes answers the question “what is telemedicine,” and reminds us to keep medicine at the heart of telemedicine.
For years, I trained and worked as an ENT and surgeon at institutions like Stanford and Yale. Then, to the surprise of many, I left to join a telemedicine startup.
The truth is, I was growing tired of the traditional ways of doing medicine and wanted to do more. While the field of medicine is full of smart, driven and talented people, it’s easy to become myopic. As physicians, we tend to do things a certain way because that’s how they’ve always been done — without necessarily asking how they can be done differently.
The past decade has seen explosive growth in digital health and telemedicine services. In 2018, digital health startups raised $14.6 billion with a fourteen-fold increase since 2010. According to the American Hospital Association, 76 percent of hospitals now offer tech-enabled care to patients. Even insurers are embracing telemedicine: Cigna has committed $250 million to fund health care startups and emerging companies focused on digital health, care delivery and analytics.
Telemedicine is creating a new reality for how health care is delivered, but not without skepticism. Critics often question how these businesses are run. Specifically, how do digital health businesses ensure patient safety? How much is medicine really at the heart of these businesses?
As a clinical director at a telemedicine startup, my job is to provide a medical perspective on business practices and product development. This means using my knowledge of what happens in a doctor’s office and applying it online, such as providing the medical rigor for the dynamic online doctors visits, treatment plans, physician guidelines for practicing telemedicine, frequently asked questions for important safety information and more.
To deliver safe, high-quality care, it’s crucial that medical professionals are involved at the heart of the innovations that are changing health care in the 21st century.
This is why I left full-time clinical practice to help build the next wave in health care technology.
Entrepreneurs and engineers are great at building software and devices. However, we also need the professionals who have dedicated years to health care delivery and the practice of medicine, or else this transformative effort will be wasted on building things that do not adequately solve the problems the American health care system presents, such as cost and access.
In 2017, Merritt Hawkins conducted a survey that showed that the average wait time to see a primary care physician in major markets in the United States is 29.3 days. Through telemedicine, patients can avoid long wait times for appointments and skip the waiting room altogether.
For instance, 96 percent of patients who successfully complete Ro’s dynamic online visit hear back from their doctor within 24 hours. This can have a huge impact for people living in areas where physicians are scarce and for whom time is limited, such as hourly workers, single parents and patients with multiple dependents.
But that doesn’t even consider monetary cost.
The average cost to see a primary care physician in America is $106, which would be 10 percent of someone’s monthly income on the poverty line. One of the reasons we’ve seen this surge in telemedicine use is that these companies offer price transparency and a low, flat fee to “visit” with a physician.
Low income or uninsured individuals are able to access high-quality physicians without breaking their daily routine or their bank account. On a macro level, telemedicine startups have the ability to take some air out of the system, easing federal and state budget spending on health care every year.
But what good will telemedicine do for patients if there are not enough physicians on the other side?
The good news is a recent Doximity report found that in the past three years, the number of physicians who self-reported telemedicine as a skill doubled, increasing 20 percent per year. Physicians are using telemedicine to complement their brick-and-mortar practices as supplemental income to their full-time positions or as a full-time option for physicians who want more flexibility.
In addition to telemedicine platforms for general care, there are others that specialize in dermatology, depression, men and women’s health — the list goes on. By focusing on a small group of medical problems, physicians can become subject matter experts in a relatively short period of time.
Physicians also opt for telemedicine part time or full time as a result of the growing physician burnout in America. It’s no secret that rates of burnout, depression and suicide are higher among physicians than the general public. In the 2018 Medscape National Physician Burnout and Depression Report, 42 percent of physician respondents reported burnout.
What’s worse, WebMd reported that a physician commits suicide in the United States every day, making medicine the profession with the highest rate of suicide. For some, telemedicine offers the opportunity to save careers for some doctors contemplating leaving medicine. For others, it may serve as a short-term bridge during a challenging time.
This is exactly why I work in telemedicine.
This pioneering field has the ability to change health care as we know it, harnessing the power of technology and the expertise of medicine to bring quality, affordable care to as many people as possible. It also has the potential to ease the pressure on physicians in America.
Though it won’t fix all of the problems in our health care system, telemedicine can provide working solutions to some of our most common pain points.
About Dr. Melynda Barnes Oussayef, MD
Dr. Melynda Barnes Oussayef, MD is the VP of Medical Affairs and Research at Ro and Clinical Director for Rory, Ro’s digital clinic for women’s health. Dr. Barnes is also a double board-certified Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon and Otolaryngologist. Dr. Barnes specializes in cosmetic and reconstructive facial plastic surgery including skincare, preventative and rejuvenation procedures to treat facial aging and women’s health.
Her interest in women’s health began when she noticed that most of her patients, who were women in midlife, were experiencing similar age-related skin issues, such as hormonal acne, increased facial hair, skin dryness and wrinkles. As her patients discussed other symptoms of midlife and women’s health in general, Dr. Barnes recognized an unmet need. Dr. Barnes joined Ro to lead Rory and help improve the future of women’s healthcare.
Dr. Barnes earned her undergraduate degree from Stanford University and attended Mount Sinai for medical school. Prior to Ro, she was an Assistant Professor of Surgery-Otolaryngology at Yale School of Medicine and served on Yale Medical Group’s Board of Directors.
Dr. Barnes has been recognized as a 40 Under 40 Leader in Health and her expertise has also been featured on Fast Company, Business Insider, Fortune, Forbes, Bustle, Shape, Elite Daily, Oprah.com and more.
This article originally appeared in Morning Consult.
Poor Integration is Bad for Customer Journey and Worse for Brands
Although we all have bad customer experiences, there is still a big debate about “the CX field” and whether it will survive the test of time. There is no doubt…
Holiday Wishes for Great CX: Career Advice Edition
Every successful customer experience initiative starts with a skilled CX team. Brush up on your CX skills to strengthen the business case for CX; to develop relationships within your organization; and to deliver standout customer experiences in the new year.
End to End Customer Experience – How to Get it Right
When we think of travel, we often think of the flight experience. But the end to end customer experience is complex, and includes all modes of transportation that get you…
Freelance Customer Experience Lessons for Freelancers
For small businesses and freelancers alike, it’s important to recognize that your business is as strong as the relationships you build with your customers. That’s just one of the key…
Is Covid19 What We Needed to Build Seamless End-to-End Travel Experience?
On January 10th, we published an article called The Future of Travel We Deserve. In it, we laid out the foundation necessary to implement innovation at scale. Four months later,…
Customer Experience Trends – 8 Actionable Tactics in 2021
As we begin Q4 of an eventful 2020, it’s time to look out for the 2021 customer experience trends and tactics for creating exceptional experiences in increasingly complex environments. We…
Airport Experience – Are You Letting Down Your Precious 2021 Travelers?
A month and a half ago, as part of our ongoing conversation about airport experience, we introduced the concept of revenge travel. We pleaded with the public to trust us…
Hiring Tips: Who Should I Hire First on My CX Team
The pressure to demonstrate business impact and ROI on your Customer Experience initiatives quickly makes your first hire even more important. As usual, there is no answer that fits all scenarios perfectly. We have some helpful strategies to consider based on the structure of your organization and your goals.
Organizational Culture and Access to Information
By and large, people perceive culture as an HR discipline. The most common perception is that culture covers the soft side of performance. Culture is about how you do things, not so much about what you do. This approach to culture could not be more wrong. In fact, organizational culture is about so much more than a few words in a performance review sheet. It is about leaders expressing values, and the action guidance their cultural behaviors provide.
Do You Know Why The Iconic Brand Toys ‘R’ Us Closed Doors Despite All Our Memories? #RetailBlues
The year is 2016. You are the CEO of Toys ‘R’ Us. Your brand still controls 13.6% of the toy market although the company is highly leveraged, a strategy of…
Digital Customer Experience Strategy – Top Three Mistakes
How many of you have interacted with financial and insurance institutions who seem to have forgotten the invention of the world wide web and applications design? In 2021, Major players…
CX Skills Builders: You May Have a CX Job and Not Know It
Last week we talked about the identity crisis of CX professionals and we urged you to fix any small problem or seam on the customer journey in order to build internal brand equity and buy in.
WeWork Does Customer Experience Right with a Wow Moment
Used at the right time and place along the customer’s journey, the Wow Moment is an excellent retention technique. When a brand creates personal, relevant experience at exactly the right time, it can build a lifelong, loyal customer relationship.
Customer Experience Design – How Do You Want Customers To Feel?
Last week, we talked about CX Design in terms of space and function. Today, we continue our customer experience design journey to talk about the design of emotions and feelings. All…
Customer Experience Audit: eBay’s Vibrant Marketplace of the Future
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of Customer Experience Audits. They highlight advances in artificial intelligence in retail and other technologies. See all audit stories. Two years…
How to talk to your CFO about customer experience and revenue growth
Last month we introduced the topic of Customer Experience ROI and the complexity of building a good business case for it. The Customer Experience business case is strong, but not easy to prove. Today we will focus on two big wins of a successful customer experience investment – revenue and customer growth of your business.
Customer Experience Audit: Mobile Provider Eliminates Remote Workforce
How to balance the efficiency call center metric FCR (first call resolution) with wait and talk time? JetBlue promotes human interactions as a brand promise.
4 Career Tips to obtain a Customer Experience Role
In honor of the 4th of July, we are rounding up 4 career tips for CX professionals. Set aside some time during the break from work to take stock in your CX career and evaluate the steps you need to get to the next level.
Customer Experience Audit: Cadillac Scores Millennial Customers with Future-Forward Thinking
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a Customer Experience Audit series. See all the audit stories. The automotive industry is right next to the airline industry in terms of…
What Can Casino Consulting Firms Learn from Airlines?
Today we’re talking about casino experience. Casinos and airlines are similar in their operational complexity and sense of wonder. They also are similar in the way they can implement technology…
Customer Experience Technology View of your Call Center
By 2022 the global cloud based contact center market is growing from USD 6.8Bn in 2017 to 20.93Bn in 2022. This makes for CAGR of 25.2%. If you do not…
Create Your Tribe: How Great CX Makes a Lifestyle Brand
Newcomers to the market realize that their business is only as strong as the growth of their customer base. With that in mind, senior leaders work hard to shorten the distance between them and the customer.
Why Bt2B Businesses Must Think Like B2C in the Next Decade
B2B vs B2B thinking makes a real difference when it comes to customer experience. According to Gartner at least 80% of B2B buyers now expect the same buying experience as…
Why you need a defined culture for customer experience?
When designed and built correctly, customer experience expresses an organization’s brand. Your brand and marketing promises serve as a guiding light to your experience team. Similarly, organizational culture serves as a goalpost for the service side of customer experience.
Customer Experience Audit: Domino’s Making the Right CX Choices
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of Customer Experience Audit – as series of articles featuring examples of good customer experience and bad customer experience in practice….
Healthcare Whitepaper: Impact of Patient ‘I Wants’ in Healthcare
Rachel Dreyfus joins The Petrova Experience with a guest blog about patient experience. Background A culture of positive patient experience is increasingly important in Healthcare, affecting patient outcomes and satisfaction….
Coronavirus Travel: What Does Hospitality Mean Now?
I want to tell you about my recent passenger experience. Earlier this week, I traveled to New Orleans from JFK Terminal 5 in New York. I had planned an airport…
Leadership During the Pandemic: Guest Post by Rachel Dreyfus
This is a guest post by Rachel Dreyfus, President, Dreyfus Advisors, who researched leadership and organizational culture during the pandemic. How has Covid19 influenced leadership over the past three months?…
Customer Experience, Self Service, and the Gift of Time
Time is the most precious gift in life. If you think about it, time is the one thing we all want more of. As we get older and busier, time gets even more valuable to us.
Customer Experience Audit: Uber Bets On Self-Driving Cars With Big Volvo Purchase
The question that remains unanswered is who will be part of the future of transportation. Uber is going for the vertical integration – the whole pie. The future industry of urban transportation will be made of players in three different categories: cars, self-driving software, and ride-sharing network. In contrast, Lyft approaches the future through partnerships.
Even the US Government is Jumping on the Customer Experience Train
As we get ready for 2021, we have been diving in to the top customer experience trends we see on the horizon. So far, we have looked at why customer…
Autonomous Customers, Traveler Privacy and More Questions for CX Professionals in a Changing World
“As we move toward a more automated culture, most travelers will adapt to a Jetsonian, automated lifestyle. Every industry we know will be disrupted. For those of us in aviation,…
What is Human-Centered Design and how to Leverage it in 2021?
At its core, design is about value creation. In the world of Customer Experience, value-driven design requires CX professionals to use empathy to imagine a future customer experience that is…
Let’s Get You Certified as a Customer Experience Professional!
Like all mature professions, customer experience has a certification that is internationally recognized. Adding it to your resume will signal to the business community that you are serious about customer experience and your aspiration to be part of its leadership ranks…
Top 5 Customer Experience Design Principles in 2021
Customer experience design principles are difficult for organizations to understand and apply. Time and again, we see this in organizations, even though we encounter customer experience design principles in our…
3 Ways to Create a Better Employee Experience Strategy
Guest Post by Gabe Smith, CCXP for The Petrova Experience The relationship between employee experience strategy and customer experience has long been discussed. Without engaged employees, we’re told, it’s difficult…
The Great Re-onboading: How to Bring Back Your Employees
Re-onboarding is the next employee experience organizations need to tackle. Since March 2020, leaders have encountered pandemic shutdowns, remote workforce transitions, and the Great Resignation. As restrictions lift and we…
Get Customer Experience Basics Right and You Don’t Need to Invest in Wow Moments
Wow Moments are a Customer Experience hot topic. Customer experience professionals ideate how to build, prioritize, finance, and measure these Wow Moments. Chip and Dan Heath wrote a whole book on the topic: The Power of Moments. No Wow Moment saves you from negative word of mouth if your brand fails to get the customer experience basics right or to deliver the expected brand experience consistently.