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Telemedicine Is Here to Stay and So Is the National Deficit of ID Specialists

Bridge the Gap and Bring Consistency, Transparency, and World-Class ID Support to Any Sized Hospital

Forward-looking hospital administrators, healthcare providers, and healthcare systems know telemedicine is more than just a doctor/patient encounter over the phone or a video link. Telemedicine is revolutionizing care and expanding patient access to critical healthcare resources that would otherwise be unreachable. Telemedicine is also helping to tackle some long-standing intractable social disparities in access to the highest quality medical care.

The real test for telemedicine to date has been in the ongoing crucible of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitals, providers, regulatory bodies, and patients had to adapt to this reality rapidly, and it has been a great success. Patients have come to accept and demand this flexible option. Similar can be said of healthcare providers, the front-line workers who often have more patients than time.

“Since we started using ID Connect’s telemedicine consultation service, we’ve had no complaints from patients who have been comfortable with the experience. What’s more important to patients is who the information about their care comes from, not where they are when receiving that information.”

Elizabeth Piccione, M.D., President, UPMC Jameson and UPMC Horizon

Telemedicine efficiently utilizes healthcare resources at a time when those resources are hard to come by, particularly for smaller facilities or distant geographies. This is particularly true of infectious disease specialists and the complexities inherent in creating, maintaining, and administering a robust antimicrobial stewardship program.

For more than a decade, the number of new infectious disease specialists trained in the United States has declined. In the U.S., 80% of all counties are entirely lacking in this subspecialty.1-4 At the same time, there has never been a greater need for ID expertise. Global factors are increasing the spread of novel pathogens and facilitating the rise of multidrug-resistant organisms that can quickly sidestep the latest and most potent antimicrobial agents. In a special report, just released by the Centers for Disease Control, the pandemic has directly contributed to more resistant infections, increased antibiotic use, and less data and prevention actions.5

The question then becomes: what can a hospital or healthcare system with limited ID resources at its disposal do to meet these dual challenges and ensure optimal patient care outcomes, adequate and consistent staff training, and real-time intelligence on every ID patient’s status and needs while in the hospital?


The Answer: Let Experts Customize ID Support for Your Hospital’s Specific Needs

World-class infectious disease specialists are much more efficient and effective in deciding when and where ID consults can have the greatest impact. They are also more likely to deliver simplified, consistent clinical support and patient intelligence to hospitals in a scalable and customizable manner. Their added expertise can also prevent your limited ID physicians from burning out and offer more uniform ways to train key support staff on ID best practices and facility-specific guidelines.

Tele-medicine makes specialized ID consults easier to access and extremely cost-effective, and Infectious Disease Connect is elevating tele-ID to the next level. ID Connect’s tele-ID practitioners provide live, asynchronous, or telephonic consults at any time and across a broad spectrum of ID specialties. The clinical team from ID Connect also suggests and delivers grand rounds sessions and provide one-on-one coaching when needed to general practitioners. To further support their telemedicine ID services, ID Connect has expanded hospitals’ economies of scale and scope through clinical decision support tools, including Ilúm Insight® and Inform. The real-time patient-tracking and monitoring capabilities of the Ilúm Insight platform create a more unified working dynamic and collaboration between physicians, pharmacists, and other key ID clinical support staff.

By providing up-to-the-minute patient data and alerts when a status change is noted, or a laboratory value comes back, the entire team can do their part to immediately change or recalibrate an individual’s care. The simplified approach of the Ilúm Inform app allows staff to access a customized center of information housing ID protocols and best practices that can streamline communication and reinforce consistent actions. 



“The marriage between the well-designed and flexible software platforms of ID Connect and their high-quality consult services provide a level of consistency in care we did not have before with our infectious disease services.” – Dr. Piccione

The Results

Standardization of care and adherence to best practices and institutional guidelines are vital components of the entire ID Connect suite of services and support tools. Speed is also another factor that ID Connect leverages to directly impact patient outcomes and other quality metrics, such as patient safety and certain financial incentives. When services and technology are combined, ID Connect’s hospital and health system partners are able to reduce patient transfers by up to 40%.

“You always want to be practicing at the highest level of care and do so sustainably over a long period of time. ID Connect helps us do that and put one more check mark in the column of advancing quality patient care.” – Dr. Piccione

The real-time capabilities of the Ilúm Insight solution have decreased antimicrobial use by 30%

Accelerated conversions from IV antibiotics to oral antibiotics by 20%, and decreased patient length-of-stay by one full day.

ID Connect’s telemedicine, informational, and patient monitoring tools for infectious diseases and antibiotic stewardship are powered by combining expert subspecialty medical insight with robust, transparent, and flexible technology, simply and consistently leading to improvements in infectious disease management and antibiotic use.


References and Further Reading

  1. Where is the ID in COVID-19. Walensky et al. Ann Intern Med. Letters – 6 October 2020.
  2. Chandrasekar P, Havlichek D, Johnson LB. Infectious Diseases Subspecialty: Declining Demand Challenges and Opportunities. Clin Infect Dis. 2014; 59(11): 1593-1598.
  3. Park SE, Kim B, Jung DS, et al. Psychological Distress Among Infectious Disease Physicians During the Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak in the Republic of Korea. BMC Public Health. 2020; 20(1): 1811.
  4. The Scary Shortage of Infectious Disease Doctors. New York Times. April 9, 2019.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19 & Antibiotic Resistance.

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