Caring for Patients in the Community with Smart Health Video Consultation

Partnering with nursing homes, IMH’s Smart Health Video Consultation programme leverages the National Telehealth Video Consultation (VC) platform to provide cost effective teleconsultations for its patients, re-engineering the current consultation process.

Nursing homes would previously charter an ambulance to bring patients to IMH for consultations. Doctors generally based their consult on observations of the patients and feedback from the accompanying nursing home staff. However, the staff who accompanies the patient on a visit may not necessarily be the one directly caring for the patient on a day-to-day basis. As a result, the doctors often needed to take a second step of calling the nursing home to speak directly to the patient’s caregiver.

The National Telehealth Video Consultation platform supports multi-party high definition (HD) video and audio quality, as well as document sharing and annotation. With these features, the doctor can see important details as in a face-to-face consultation, and can consult a third-party specialist or involve the patient’s caregiver in the consultation. 

IMH’s Smart Health Video Consultation programme has saved about 21 man days or $6,690 monthly, by reducing the need to transport patients between nursing homes and IMH. The number of patients seen through Smart Health VC has also increased by 270% over a 12-month period. About 85 video consultations take place in a month, and IMH doctors have capacity to take on 620 additional consultations a year.

In addition, as patients and accompanying nursing home staff no longer need to ambulate to IMH, savings on transportation cost amount to $66,600 a year. The patient default rate has also been reduced from 20% to zero – with prompt and regular consults, patients display better compliance to their treatment plan, which in turn reduces their risk of relapse.

Ten nursing homes have adopted Smart Health VC to date, and 289 unique patients have benefited from it.