This is the 4th post in our "Voice of Telemedicine" blog series.
An opportunity for telemedicine professionals to share their experiences in telemedicine.
Today's guest blogger is Dr. Medhavi Jogi, a Houston based Endocrinologist.
About Dr.Jogi, I co-founded the endocrinology practice Houston Thyroid and Endocrine Specialists
in 2009. We now have a 4-doctor endocrinology-only group with two locations in the metro area. We're located in Katy,Texas and the Houston Medical Center. We've been early adopters of technology as we've strived to be a paperless practice.
I'm a native Texan, as I was born in Austin and attended the University of Texas Austin for my undergraduate education in biochemistry. I then attended medical school, residency in internal medicine, and endocrinology fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. I have interests in thyroid disease and technology solutions for patients with diabetes mellitus. The practice sees all general endocrinology patients.
What is your background? Specialty? How long have you been practicing? Where's your primary location?
I'm an adult endocrinologist, which is a subspecialty of internal medicine dealing mostly with hormone disorders including diabetes, pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal issues. More information about the training required of an endocrinologist can be found here http://www.houstonendocrine.com/the-doctors/What-is-an-endocrinologist
My primary location is our Houston medical center location office. I started to see patients as a double board certified endocrinologist since I graduated endocrine fellowship in 2009. I'm also a volunteer endocrinology clinical assistant professor teaching endocrinolgy fellows at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. I do enjoying teaching in general.
How long have you been practicing telemedicine?
I started using aspects of telemedicine since January, 2015. Originally it was only for diabetes education but now we are using it for multiple other patient services.
What motivated you to start practicing telemedicine?
I have an excellent diabetes educator who moved to Dallas in 2015. I wanted to retain her as an employee so I realized technology was the answer. I was able to keep her as part of our practice with telemedicine. Our patients also love the concept of a telemedicine solution and have been requesting this type of service for quite some time
How has telemedicine changed your practice?
I feel it's made our practice accessible to more patients. It's reduced the in-office burdens and slow downs. Patient satisfaction seems to be very high with this technology since a virtual waiting room allows for the patient to save time.
How do your patients like meeting with you by telemedicine?
Most of my patients would prefer televisits in general. They almost all seem to embrace it fully.
Do you have any insightful or notable experiences using a telemedicine solution? Patient portal usage has been pushed by the government but is an unfunded mandate. I spend many unreimbursed hours per week responding directly to portal messages from patients. This leads to back and forth disjointed messaging. Granted, it's better than phone-tag, but portal messaging is far from perfect. Secure telemedicine automatically improves patient care since it's convenient for both doctors and patients, allows for a more robust discussion of the medical issues, and is theoretically reimbursable by insurances.
What challenges have experienced practicing telemedicine? How did you overcome them?
The biggest challenges are navigating the medical board laws and regulations to make sure we are following all proper procedures. This is a work in progress. Over time I hope that the medical societies and telemedicine societies make the law and regulations less cumbersome and more clear to follow.
What advice would you give to other healthcare providers interested in starting telemedicine? “Just do it”. Telemedicine is not going away, and I think it will be how patients will expect medical care delivery to occur very soon. Start working on your workflows now.