- The telemedicine industry has been revolutionizing how doctors and patients interact on a daily basis. For example, video recording of a doctor visit could be vital for reducing misconceptions and redundant questions among caregivers, families, and patients themselves. mHealthIntelligence.com spoke with Dr. Randall Porter, neurosurgeon at Barrow Neurosurgical Associates, and Lucas Felt, President of the medical video messaging company The Medical Memory, to find out how video recording benefits both the patient and provider communities.
First, Felt explained the idea behind how The Medical Memory app – a video recording platform that shares physician conversations among patients and their families - originated and was developed over the last several years.
“Originally, the idea that Dr. Porter had was based off his experience with his father,” Felt stated. “His father had prostate cancer. Being a neurosurgeon, Porter knew that the importance of communication was high, but what he noticed was that his dad wasn’t making sense on all the information he received from his physician. This made him think about how he talks to his patients and how well they understand the information.”
“Dr. Porter looked into this further and found an overwhelming amount of research that suggested patients aren’t able to recall the information that they receive in medical settings,” Felt said. “From there, he developed a system using a regular camcorder and burning it onto a mini-DVD. That was the early stages. Then he toyed with moving the videos to the cloud – instead of having to give discs out to everybody – to streamline the experience and use email to give out the videos.”
“The hardest part was workflow. It required a ton of work and explanation for the office staff. There was loss in translation as to what it was about and why it was being offered. The idea was to make the office environment accessible to their patients forever, so they can go refer back to that visit as often as need be. With cloud computing and mobile devices, we decided to embark on finding a streamlined way to bring those together. We did this with our current product today,” Felt explained.
“For me, the idea for The Medical Memory started in 2003 when my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer,” Dr. Randall Porter mentioned and went over the lack of effective communication between his father and the team of oncologists.
“I noticed many patients often called back to the doctor’s office to clarify and ask questions previously explained,” Porter continued. “I even saw kids flying in to talk to a doctor who would repeat information previously explained to the patient. While family members experienced frustration, I saw physicians also frustrated at having to repeat themselves. Offering video recording to patients solved the issue.”
When asked what strategy would best spread the adoption of The Medical Memory application across healthcare settings, Felt responded, “It’s human nature to be risk- and change-averse. One thing that we’ve seen is that initially when people first hear about it, they’re skeptical that they’re communicating poorly or that their patients misunderstand what they are told. What ends up happening – two to three weeks later – is a patient who has to call back repeatedly to ask redundant information, a patient whose comfort with understanding of their treatment options was low, or a patient who later required a repeat visit. Knowing that it’s out there and that it’s used in a way that enhances the things that are working will help spread adoption.”
“For us, spreading adoption of the app is done through social media and by getting the word out,” Porter positioned. “We’ve been meeting with hospital administrators and providers to discuss the application. Providers should ask themselves, ‘What’s the best thing for my patients?’”
When asked how telemedicine services and video recording affects patient care in his practice, Dr. Porter responded, “The facts are that patients don’t hear what we tell them. They listen and understand only about 10 percent of what we say. For example, as part of the Affordable Care Act, we’re required to print out and distribute a note when sending patients for a test, but still I’ve seen patients come back and tell me they’re upset because they missed something.”
“The video recording helps patients remember important medical information,” he continued. “It also protects me legally and can help patients, family, and caregivers comply with physician recommendations. When patients can’t remember a treatment plan because their diagnosis is overwhelming, the video recording helps. If, a month after an initial conversation, a patient isn’t clear on their treatment or recovery, he or she can refer to the videos.”
Dr. Randall Porter also spoke about some of the biggest benefits of video recording among the patient population.
“In short, patient satisfaction and patient compliance are major benefits,” Porter stated. “The family is more satisfied and more brought in to the patient’s care. But it also reduces phone calls by 25 percent and cuts costs due to disparities in health literacy.”
When asked how telemedicine benefits the healthcare provider community, Porter answered, “For me, as a provider, it gives me time for other patients because I don’t have to repeat myself to patients and caregivers, it protects me in a legal standing, it assists me with more difficult patients and makes my practice more efficient by reducing patient calls.”