Even as the U.S. moves into a new phase of recovery from the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, a severe shortage of infectious disease (ID) specialists persists, as 80% of U.S. counties lack an ID doctor. And, with 44% of ID residency positions remaining unfilled during the fall of 2022, there is no immediate end in sight to the shortage.
A recent article in Grid Health quotes Carlos del Rio, president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, “It’s been a longstanding issue and it’s getting worse.”
Telemedicine is uniquely positioned as an ideal solution to the shortage for hospitals of any size, anywhere in the country. Access TeleCare’s teleInfectious Disease programs provide continuous access to experienced ID physicians to give hospitals 24/7 coverage for patients with complex infections and for oversight of antibiotic stewardship programs.
Inpatient and Outpatient Infectious Disease Care
Access TeleCare’s ID specialists are available within minutes to support hospitals and clinics in achieving their ID care goals through telemedicine.
Access TeleCare’s full-service inpatient telemedicine programs reduce transfers, health care-acquired infections, and patients’ length of stay. Access TeleCare’s telemedicine specialists enhance inpatient care and enable onsite medical teams to treat complex infections through a collaborative and fully integrated telemedicine program that develops the onsite staff’s comfort level with complex, and even rare, infections and their treatment.
On the outpatient side, virtually any clinic can have access to ID specialists to provide care from a patient’s initial visit to any follow-up visits. These programs cover the treatment of a wide range of conditions, including infected diabetic foot ulcers, post-surgical infections, and long-term antibiotic therapy.
Specialist-Led Antibiotic Stewardship Programs
An infectious disease telemedicine program through Access TeleCare also gives hospitals the capacity to participate in and maintain antibiotic stewardship programs led by a board-certified ID specialist.
The worsening ID specialist shortage can create significant challenges for hospitals to maintain a robust stewardship program that is required for hospitals receiving Medicare and Medicaid payments and for Joint Commission-accredited facilities. Access TeleCare’s ID specialists are equipped to create and manage cost-effective antibiotic stewardship programs without putting additional strain on onsite staff because they collaborate with on-site professionals, including other physicians, pharmacists, technicians, and nurses.
“Our infectious disease specialist-led antibiotic stewardship programs dramatically reduce unnecessary antibiotic use,” said Jade Le, M.D., Access TeleCare’s chief of infectious disease. “On the pharmacy side, there is a huge positive impact by reducing antibiotic costs.”
Telemedicine as a Complete ID Solution
With timely access to ID specialists, hospitals can retain and treat patients experiencing complex diseases, regardless of location.
From inpatient care to antibiotic stewardship programs to outpatient programs, Access TeleCare’s infectious disease services offer hospitals complete coverage for the treatment and management of high-complexity diseases, even in the midst of a severe ID specialist shortage.
Contact us today for more information about our TeleInfectious Disease service line.