Clinical Telemedicine Process
As the Upper Peninsula Telehealth Network clinical telemedicine applications grew it became apparent that a more efficient process for scheduling consults was necessary.
The UPTN and the Information Technology department at MGH, working closely with originating sites, and specialty offices developed a new and improved electronic scheduling option for telemedicine consultation requests. This electronic version allows for increase productivity, efficiency, and patient confidentiality.
· An electronic scheduling request is created by the specialty offices and sent, by the click-of-a- button, to our operations staff at MGH and local clinical site coordinators simultaneously. Local coordinators electronically confirm site, room, staff, and system availability informing the specialty office that either books the appointment or reschedules related to a decline notice. The operations staff at MGH then knows to be on stand by for technical support.
· Once the appointment is confirmed, the specialty office faxes the telemedicine orders and demographics to the originating site clinical coordinator allowing them to admit the patient.
All scheduling for clinical telemedicine was approved through MGH information technology compliance officer to assure compliance with HIPAA regulations.
Originating site (local clinical site coordinator) contacts the patient to explain details (confirming arrival time, directions to the telemedicine visit, and answers any questions about telemedicine)
1. Originating site registers the patient as an outpatient to their facility allowing a medical record to be generated.
2. Patients sign necessary consents/authorizations at the originating site. These consents and authorizations remain in the medical record at the originating site.
3. Videoconference systems connect at least 15 minutes prior to the consult to assure ample time for technical triage.
4. The specialty office staff or nurse is the first contact on the system and verbally requests information as needed from the originating site presenter such as weight, vital signs (from the physician orders faxed during scheduling). The specialist is the second contact on the system and discusses with the patient their plan of care.
5. When the consult is complete the far site documents the consult per their hospital/clinic process.
6. The originating site marks the telemedicine consult in the electronic schedule as "was held" "was not held" and submits electronically.