DETROIT (WXYZ) - The number of patients dealing with medical problems keeps growing. Yet with their busy schedules, doctors cannot be everywhere at once to help them out.
But now some physicians are testing out new technology that may bring doctor-patient communication to a whole new level.
One Henry Ford Hospital surgeron is now using face-to-face video calls on iPads and other tablets to check on patients the day after surgery.
7 Action News cameras caught up with Dr. Craig Rogers, Director of Renal Surgery and Director of Urologic Oncology at Henry Ford. He was in the middle of “telerounding.” That’s what he calls “rounding” while using facetime on an iPad.
He is at another hospital 25 miles away from the patient he is talking to.
“It’s not meant to replace bedside visits,” said Dr. Rogers.
He’s been testing “telerounding” since January.
“I can check how the patient is breathing, responding, and I can look at their incisions. I can actually use the iPad to examine them,” said Dr. Rogers. “I still have a team onsite. I still have nurses, and a fellow, and residents that are here. It definitely helps that I can be more of a part of the process.”
The patient he is talking with when our cameras were there was Mickey Kourt. He had just had a tumor removed from his kidney 19 hours before their video chat.
"I like talking to him. Face-to-face was good because he's always got a big grin on his face," said Kourt.
Dr. Rogers and Henry Ford Hospital fellow Dr. Bartosz Kaczmarek started studying what patients thought about face-to-face video calls in January.
“The answer to one of the [survey] questions was that patients would rather see their own doctor on an iPad if they have to be hospitalized without their doctor around, than see another doctor directly,” said
Keeping this face-to-face video chatting confidential is also key.
Henry Ford Health System now requires iPads be given an asset tag and set up with Airwatch to encrypt the data to provide an extra level of protection and privacy.
Telemedicine may also catch on outside of the hospital setting.
This spring, Poject Healthy Living tested an emerging technology at its sites called JEMS.
It was designed and created right here in Michigan.
JEMS Technology encrypts the video for privacy and streams it to a doctor who has JEMS software on his smartphone.
“This is absolutely the wave of the future because besides just doing a live video feed, we can attach other equipment to this,” explained JEMS COO Jeff Pfund. “Anything with a live feed like an EKG or anything that’s got a camera type feed reading anything coming out of the body, we can attach it to this so the doctor can get a profile of the patient.”
Project Healthy Living coordinators see the need.
“Especially in rural areas,” said Ifetayo Johnson, Executive Director of the United Health Organization.
“It’s been great because it lets the doctors who can’t get away from their office actually give consultations from their office and see people who come to our sites,” she added.
So the idea is to go high-tech while staying personal.
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