Palliative Care Telemedicine Enables Coordination of Care in Comfort of Home
Technology Eases Burden and Discomfort of Traveling For Follow-Up Care For Patients Living With Complex, Chronic Health Conditions
(Fort Myers, Fla. – Jan. 16, 2017) --- Lee Physician Group Palliative Care recently launched a telemedicine program to serve patients who require complex care coordination. To ease the burden of traveling into the office for follow-up care, certain palliative care visits can now be done through video using the patient’s personal phone or tablet. The video visit, facilitated through the Epic electronic health record MyChart application, offers a comprehensive, caring conversation with a doctor in the comfort of a patient’s home.
Patients living with one or more chronic medical conditions often find themselves navigating a complex and sometimes confusing health care system. Life-changing challenges—including multiple doctor visits, treatments, medications, difficult medical decisions, as well as pain or depression—impact physical, emotional, spiritual and financial well-being. Palliative care is a medical specialty focused on assisting patients with complex decision-making, coordination of care and symptom management.
“Patients facing life-changing conditions, such as cancer, kidney disease, heart failure and/or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may suffer from symptoms like pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping and depression,” explains Colleen Tallen, M.D., Lee Physician Group palliative care specialist. “These symptoms affect their quality of life, and often their ability or desire to travel far from home. The telemedicine visit gives us the opportunity to provide a high level of care that is convenient for our patients.”
The telemedicine visits are expected to decrease emergency department and Convenient Care visits because the palliative care physician now can see patients who may have previously canceled an appointment due to an exacerbation of symptoms.
“In the past, a patient who woke up fatigued or in too much pain to travel may have canceled his or her appointment rather than drive to the office, now we can connect to the patient in the comfort of their own home,” Dr. Tallen says.
Palliative care consultations—whether in office or via telemedicine—offer support, encouragement and an opportunity for patients to feel in control of their health and well-being.
About Lee Health
Since the opening of the first hospital in 1916, Lee Health has been a health care leader in Southwest Florida, constantly evolving to meet the needs of the community. A non-profit, integrated health care services organization, Lee Health is committed to the well-being of every individual served, focused on healthy living and maintaining good health. Staffed by caring people, inspiring health, services are conveniently located throughout the community in four acute care hospitals, two specialty hospitals, outpatient centers, walk-in medical centers, primary care and specialty physician practices and other services across the continuum of care. Learn more at www.LeeHealth.org
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