At a Glance
- Greater flexibility & productivity for physicians
- Cost-effective expansion to under-served areas
- Increased access for patients in rural areas
- Expansion of specialty care at medical practices
- Medical care provided anytime, anywhere
- All patient data immediately available
Clinicians Telemed—California’s largest multi-specialty telemedicine provider—chooses Polycom
Clinicians Telemed (Clinicians) is a multi-specialty telemedicine group developed because of the need to provide expanded access to specialty medical care. Clinicians is comprised of physicians and healthcare professionals who can assist healthcare organizations expand access to medical specialty care and achieve the kinds of operational efficiencies that often prove elusive.
Equipped with Polycom video endpoints and infrastructure solutions, the high-quality video and voice connection enables flawless interactivity.
Clinicians provides telemedicine services in a wide array of specialties, including: endocrinology, cardiology, dermatology, gastroenterology, general surgery, infectious disease, neurology, neurosurgery, nephrology, orthopedics, psychiatry, pulmonary medicine, and pain management. These services are provided from nine Clinicians’ telemedicine sites.
In 2009, Clinicians provided more than 8,000 telemedicine patient care visits to 32 different locations in California. Many of the telemedicine locations are in remote sites in California with minimal access to medical specialists. From the Northern California Coast to the High Sierras to the Imperial Valley, medical specialty visits are conducted by physicians of Clinicians Telemed.
Rural and remote areas typically have difficulty attracting and retaining physician specialists; especially if there is not enough demand to support a full-time specialist. Clinicians solves this problem by providing physician specialists to any area for any amount of time needed. Providing flexible scheduling is a very cost-effective solution for the clients of Clinicians.
Many clients have used telemedicine services and the expanded access to medical services provided by telemedicine as a marketing tool for their practices. Patients benefit from telemedicine by receiving access to medical specialists they may not have had access to otherwise.
Clinicians utilizes an electronic medical record (EMR) system. All data from the patient exam is stored in Clinicians’ EMR. Therefore, all information needed by the physicians, such as x-rays, labs, and physician notes, are immediately available. “I can do a history, look at any labs, and have access to everything I need to come up with an assessment and recommendation,” explains Dr. Nelson Madrilejo. Using an EMR also benefits Clinicians’ clients by providing them access to patient records remotely anytime, anywhere.
Another benefit from utilizing telemedicine is a reduced carbon footprint. Less travel by physicians and patients is required which means fewer vehicles are on the road, resulting in a reduction of pollutants. “Not only does this technology provide care to those that normally may not have access to medical specialty care, but it also helps reduce the environmental impact,” says Quon Louey, Clinicians’ Vice President and the person tasked to design and implement the telemedicine infrastructure.
Telemedicine is an area quickly transforming the dynamics and economics of healthcare delivery. Clinicians is happy to have been in the forefront of this exciting medical transformation.
Building an Infrastructure on Polycom
Louey chose Polycom solutions after evaluating “all the major vendors” on the key factors listed below:
• Interoperability. The systems had to work seamlessly with our clients’ previously installed video conferencing units and “the systems had to be compatible with imaging units, scopes and a variety of medical instruments providers use to assess patients,” says Louey. Polycom stood out by being able to provide broad interoperability.” Polycom’s open standards-based solutions are designed to protect customers’ investments by supporting multivendor networks, and this capability simplified deployment.
• Simple, flexible network management. “One of our clients operated on an ISDN network, but it wasn’t cost-effective for us to run ISDN,” says Louey. “With Polycom, we could seamlessly mix our IP lines with our client’s ISDN lines by utilizing the Polycom® MGC™ multipoint conferencing bridge. This allows us to have doctors come in on IP lines, and the client’s presenting sites on ISDN. There was no degradation in video or audio.”
• Scalability. With a Polycom Converged Management Application™ (CMA™) server, Clinicians eventually plans to equip more physicians’ offices with video conferencing capabilities on their desktop and notebook computers. “The CMA makes expansion far more cost effective and flexible,” says Louey
• Enterprise integration. Polycom systems are designed to integrate with popular Unified Communications solutions, such as Microsoft, IBM, Avaya, and others. In addition, Clinicians was also able to easily integrate its Polycom infrastructure with its own Unified Messaging environment developed for healthcare clients. “With Polycom, we have a complete and unified video and audio communications environment.”
• Ease of use. “Physicians want to see patients and not worry about the technology,” Louey says. “With Polycom, the connections are easy to make, and it is easy for users.
• Quality of user experience. “The camera’s zoom functions are crucial for some specialties, and it makes all the difference,” says Louey. Polycom People + Content™ IP collaboration technology allows doctors to review x-rays during a consult.
Moving Beyond California
With the broadest array of specialties offered by any California telemedicine provider, Clinicians Telemed is expanding their client base to community and rural health clinics. “Around the country, rural and poor areas are underserved by a growing number of medical specialties,” says Louey. “As the nation looks to lower health care costs, telemedicine will offer a way to provide care for more people at a lower cost. With Polycom, we plan to drive that trend in California and beyond.”
“With Polycom, we have a complete and unified video and audio communications environment”
Vice President and IT Director, Clinicians Telemed