Implementation of synch ronous telemedicine into clinical practice
When entertaining the idea of telemedicine, the first step is to assess whether this type of clinical visit is appropriate for the clinician and the clinical practice. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) released a position statement on the use of sleep telemedicine in 2015 and this may help clinicians who are contemplating adding sleep telemedicine to their practice. Part of this assessment includes an honest evaluation of the clinician’s comfort level both with pursuing something new and with technology itself. If the clinician is initially apprehensive about either one, it is often helpful to identify the specific issues that lead to the discomfort. For example, the clinician may be intimidated by the software or the hardware required to perform a synchronous telemedicine encounter. There are classes available in person or online that may ease this discomfort. The clinician should consider being coached or trained by someone with technical expertise. Perhaps the clinician is concerned about learning how to use an examination extender, such as an electronic stethoscope, and how to coordinate a physical examination with a telepresenter. Often there are educational resources provided by the vendor with a support team who can provide troubleshooting tips. The better the source of the discomfort can be identified, the more likely it is that a specific resolution exists.