Thursday, June 21, 2012

What Will the Future EDs & Urgent Cares Look Like? --- The Remote Controlled Practice

The Big Bang Theory
The future of medicine is in a state of flux due to politics, economics, demographics, provider shortages, and consumer activism. The paradigm will need to shift to accommodate the seemingly endless demand on the healthcare industry. Expectations (realistic or not) of quality, efficient care will drive the shifting process.

I expect to see a new process similar to the one below:
  1. The basic face-to-face to provider will be a “physician extender.”
  2. This extender will be supervised by a “physician advisor.”
  3. The physician advisor will be on location in high volume, high acuity facility.
  4. The physician advisor will interact with the extender from this remote location via electronic devices for multiple urgent care practices simultaneously. On the “Big Bang Theory” television show Sheldon created a portable extension of himself through technology. Perhaps physicians will find a way to be in two places at once…
  5. Consultants will be available through Skype, telemedicine, Ipad’s facetime and other such technology. Through this technology physicians can interactive with both the patient and the physician extender. A “Flow Facilitator” will be watching all the data streams and communicate with the local provider determining what to do next to achieve maximal efficiency.
  6.  Artificial intelligence from EHR to take symptom complexes and PMH to assess risk of that particular patient's visit (maybe 15 years away.)
  7. EHR becoming user friendly rather than onerous.
  8. Patients carrying their entire medical history on their personal device.
Consumer demand will dictate a flow of patients into the system. The majority will rely on classic medical care; however, a large segment of the population will adopt an anti-technology “Luddite” approach in response to the all the available technology. They will resort to massive increases in alternative medicines.

Regardless of the quality of the care in this remote model, the “Human Touch” will always be needed to inspire confidence in the patient.