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EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 3/31/22

March 31, 2022 Dr. Jayne 1 Comment

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A recent survey conducted by the American Medical Association found that 85% of responding physicians are using telehealth in their practices. Approximately 60% of physicians agreed or strongly agreed that telehealth enables the provision of high-quality care. I wasn’t surprised by the breakdown of visit types – 93% of them are offering video visits and 69% of them are offering audio-only visits. More than half of respondents say they are motivated to increase the use of telehealth in their practices. Uptake of other telehealth services, such as remote monitoring, seemed low at only 8%. As far as other interesting statistics, more than half of physicians indicated that telehealth had improved job satisfaction. The online survey was conducted anonymously, with 2,000 physicians responding.

A lot of people think that true telehealth services have to include both audio and video, but in my experience as a telehealth physician, it seems that the majority of patients are happy with audio-only services. Physicians have mixed feelings about doing audio-only visits. It’s definitely easier to assess whether people have an increased rate of breathing when you can see them, and you can quickly gauge their overall level of distress. Especially when caring for sick children, I like to see if they are clingy and how consolable they are as part of the evaluation.

For many adults seeking telehealth services, however, observation and other elements of physical examination don’t add much to the clinical picture. Ultimately it should be a balance, taking into account the patient’s preferences and the clinician’s comfort level with different telehealth modalities. There are plenty of studies that indicate that inclusion of audio-only services results in greater telehealth access among underserved populations, older patients, those who seek care in safety net facilities, and some demographic subsets.

Although there’s a lot of enthusiasm about telehealth, other sources look at telehealth from a different lens. One survey commissioned by UnitedHealth Group found that 55% of physicians are frustrated by managing unrealistic patient expectations for virtual visits. About half are also frustrated by issues with audio and video technology. Providers who responded to the UnitedHealth survey were less optimistic about telehealth’s impact on job satisfaction, with only 25% saying it was improved. There was also division on the role telehealth plays with regard to physician burnout – 30% said it increased burnout, while 30% said it reduced it. I’m sure the perceptions are valid at both ends of the continuum since I’ve seen some outstanding telehealth implementations and some that are marginal at best. I do hope that those organizations that plan to continue making it a large part of their patient care strategies spend the time and money to optimize their offerings for both patient benefit and clinician satisfaction.

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Henry Ford Health unveils a new brand, dropping the word “system” from its name. According to its press release, removing “system” places more emphasis on the word “health” and broadens the vision. The new logo drops the iconic Henry Ford signature and oval and adds three shades of blue as well as a swath of purple. The purple is certainly eye-catching, but I’m not sure what to think about the different blues. The organization plans to roll out the new branding to its largest facilities first, with others phasing in the new branding over the next few years. Along with the visual branding, Henry Ford Health is launching an omnichannel ad campaign titled “I Am Henry.” It includes stories from the organization’s patients, employees, and from the communities it serves.

The organization’s press release notes that the “new logo clearly transitions the identity from one steeped in the visual history of founder Henry Ford, to a brand expression focused on humanity, backed by a powerful heritage of innovation and drive.” I’m not sure I fully feel that, but I’m willing to play along. On one of my recent projects, I learned an incredible amount about marketing, branding, and how different visuals can evoke specific responses from viewers. Looking critically at the new logo, I find the font rather intriguing. The majority of the letters are strong and uncomplicated, but the leg of the R adds a bit of whimsy. The swooping crossbar of the leading H pulls you into the name, and the trailing H feels downright playful. The purple feels a little too bright compared to the blues, but that’s just me. I’d be interested to hear what the marketing gurus out there think of it compared to my decidedly amateur opinion.

I learned last night that a physician who I worked closely with during my residency took his own life on Monday. He was a few years ahead of me in training . The loss of a young and talented physician (as well as a father and spouse) is tragic. Each year, 300 to 400 physicians die by suicide. Even if we personally are not at risk, the odds are that someone we work with might be struggling. The grief was particularly heavy since Wednesday was Doctors’ Day in the US, which was created to honor physicians for their dedication and their service to humanity. Knowing that some physicians feel there is no way to get through the challenges is heartbreaking, especially since I’ve lost two colleagues this way in under two years.

Judging by the reports in some of my social media feeds, the day was subdued for many, with occasional “snacks in the breakroom” celebrations. One physician reported that their organization gave everyone a book on wellness, which for many frontline physicians has become synonymous with pizza parties and therapy dogs. Another received a heart-healthy cookbook that appeared to be left over from a recent cardiology department open house based on the sticker gracing the back cover. I doubt hospital executives think about the idea that their selections might be posted on nationwide Facebook groups as a humorous counterpoint to those “best places to work” lists. Sadly, some physicians reported receiving no recognition in the clinic at all. With all the work physicians have put in over the last couple of years, I’m hoping that for them Doctors’ Day 2023 will be a better one.

Did your organization do anything to mark Doctors’ Day? Leave a comment or email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.



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Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Prediction: At some point in the future, Henry Ford Health will be renamed HF Health, or FordHealth or something similar.

    Many businesses do this over time. They simplify their names, distance themselves from both their origins and founders, and try to broaden out their brands.

    Examples:

    Kentucky Fried Chicken -> KFC
    Business Insider -> Insider
    Consumer Value Stores -> CVS
    Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing -> 3M
    Literally all of the old-school broadcasting companies (CBS, NBC, ABC, TBS, etc.)







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