Higher acuity means more specialists are needed for SNF, say NodMD executives

Clinical specialists and telemedicine are essential to support a higher acuity population among skilled nursing facilities, with the likelihood of fewer readmissions.

Ideally, specialists should be part of a clinical team within a nursing home, headed by a medical director, but sometimes facilities do not have access to the necessary specialists due to location and shortage. larger workforce that plagues the industry.

“One of the most common complications of COVID-19 has been pneumonia and respiratory failure,” said Dr. Madhu Murthy, president and CEO of nodMD. Murthy is also a Board Certified Infectious Disease Specialist. “What you have seen is a trend towards higher acuity of patients, particularly the management of respiratory failure, requiring say mechanical ventilation, like with a BiPAP or a CPAP, and also obviously care. respiratory tract. “

Chronic kidney management, post-COVID kidney and heart complications have also contributed to the industry’s changing patient population, in turn leading to a need for more specialists, Murthy said.

This is where telemedicine can help NSFs care for their increasingly ill patients, and partnering with companies like nodMD to save NSFs the trouble and expense of finding these specialists on their own.

“We align with local specialists and give them all the tools – for example, telemedicine,” Murtha explained. “Having a network of specialists, that’s it, that’s where there is emergency coverage. [We] make sure there is consistent communication with the core team. Ultimately, it’s about establishing that communication and then finding those like-minded partners.

Murtha, along with nodMD’s Vice President of Medical Affairs, Dr Kevin Stephan, spoke at SNN’s Virtual Clinical Summit last week. nodMD, Based in Phoenix, Ariz., Connects Medical Specialists to Facilities Via Digital Health Platform; approximately 250,000 independent specialists use the nodMD platform.

“If an individual SNF were to try to access specialist care on their own, it would probably be a difficult proposition as there is such a shortage and many specialists are focused on acute care in large metropolitan areas,” added Stéphane.

Telemedicine allows operators to get the right talent and bring in specialists as needed, Stephan said. The flexibility and speed of care made possible by telemedicine helps operators bring in the specialists they need when they already face a labor shortage on the front lines, said Stephan and Murthy.

NodMD’s telemedicine component has been a “very convenient” way to recruit specialists, added Murthy. Medical specialists appreciate the flexibility and quality of life offered by telemedicine.

“These same providers can then be used in multiple scenarios and in multiple contexts,” Stephan said. “Not every establishment probably needs a [full-time equivalent] endocrinologist… This works well for the SNF and it works well from the provider’s perspective.

Appropriate admission of sepsis and early establishment of treatment pathways slows down the “revolving door” of readmissions, Stephan said as an example; the implementation of other technologies such as remote monitoring of patients can contribute to the speed of care.

“Just to be able to speak to specialized support, this will allow [frontline staff] take good care of [that patient] and not having to worry about readmission, ”Stephan added. “There’s that possibility of having additional expertise, and it’s convenient and it’s at a time that works for the patient and for the facility.”

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