Recently we surveyed more than 400 healthcare professionals to find out how their offices and work are changing in response to Covid-19. Here’s what we learned:
With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, many members of the medical community find themselves thrust headlong into the world of telemedicine. With patients no longer able or willing to visit their doctor’s office, practices are using the opportunity to try out telemedicine.
Reckner Healthcare Surveys was curious about what our Panel members were experiencing, so we sent out a survey to the group. More than 1,000 Healthcare Professionals (HCP) responded, sharing their observations, opinions, and advice about telemedicine.
So, how is telemedicine being used? And, is it a game-changer or a necessary development?
Opinions varied widely, but there were several common threads expressed throughout the responses we received:
- Its usefulness depends upon specialty.
- It’s no substitute for a physical examination in many instances.
- It’s likely to be a larger part of medical practice going forward for certain fields and circumstances.
As expected, prior to Covid-19, the vast majority of patient interactions were conducted in person. Since then, that number has been cut by more than half, replaced by patient interactions by phone and video, which have increased 7 times and 15 times respectively.
As phone and video interactions became more prevalent, HCPs observed that patient interactions are generally shorter in length than in-person visits (61% shorter for telephone; 47% shorter for video). However, about 40% of those responding said both video and telephone visits were about the same length as in-person.
Regarding the future use of telemedicine, 75% of HCPs think the use of telemedicine will increase in the future, although 25% think it will go back to pre-pandemic rates.
As for employing telemedicine in your practice, our Healthcare Panel offered both advice and caution, which typically fell into five categories:
Use it appropriately
- Usefulness depends upon specialty
- Better for existing patients
- Useful for follow-ups and refills
- No substitute for a physical exam
- It’s a way to care for patients in today’s environment
- Its use will certainly grow in the future
- Some patients will need or demand it
Can be Helpful
- Useful for rural areas, elderly patients, busy patients, and follow-up visits
- Can be a more efficient way to “see” patients, depending on patient need/ visit requirements
- The staff has to be engaged in preparing patients for each visit
- Set patient expectations (e.g. set up required, payments, length of visit, what can and can’t be accomplished)
- Use HIPAA compliant platform, ideally, one that connects with EMR and is easy for patients to use
- Insurance reimbursement/documentation important
- Diagnosis errors/malpractice issues
- Patient’s acceptance
- HIPAA compliance and data security
One final tip: The AMA has shared a useful guide for telemedicine in practice covering implementation, policies, coding, and other helpful resources. The guide can be found here.
There’s no doubt that participating in healthcare market research is a great way to supplement your income. But many of our Panelists derive other benefits from participating in surveys or interviews. In the last issue of our quarterly e-newsletter we asked you what you enjoyed most about it (aside from the financial benefit) and 675 of you responded. Here’s what you had to say:
In a recent survey, we asked members of our Healthcare Panel about their experiences with Patient Chart Research. This methodology is useful for researchers as it is based on real-life cases, not hypothetical scenarios. Using anonymized data, these studies can be either online or by telephone, with the majority being online.
One important reason Reckner’s Panelists like to do Patient Chart Research is because they want their opinions to be counted. They also want to contribute to innovation in their field and learn about new treatments in the pipeline. Some say it is “fun” and others like “looking through records,” “improving patient outcomes,” and “feeling like I can make a difference.”
So the next time you accept a Patient Chart study, remember these useful tips from members of Reckner’s Healthcare Panel.
- It is helpful to prepare ahead of time by reviewing the questionnaire and pulling and reviewing appropriate charts before starting the survey.
- Many Panelists (40%) prefer to toggle back and forth on one device; 31% prefer to use two devices like a desktop and a tablet; and 14% prefer to print out the charts.
- In any case, it is critical to be able to access the charts while doing the study.
- Allow enough time to do the study in one sitting; avoid interruptions.
- Maintain the confidentiality of the patient and adhere to HIPAA.
- Accuracy is critical. As one Panelist said, “Try your best to be accurate in the information you provide since that is very helpful in the advancement of therapy and management of our patients.” Another concurred, “Be patient, always be honest…if technology is failing you—don’t guess, just end session. The only information that can help is accurate information.”
While Patient Chart Research can be required by a variety of fields, there is particular need in the areas of oncology, rheumatology, gastroenterology, dermatology, and plastic surgery.
The next time you are invited to participate in this kind of research, give it a try and keep these helpful tips in mind.
We continue our series of profiles of Reckner Healthcare Panel members with Dr. Michael Rotkowitz. He shared his thoughts about practicing medicine, music, and the benefits of participating in healthcare market research.
Dr. Michael I. Rotkowitz is a Board Certified Hematologist and Medical Oncologist who just began a new position at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Jefferson Health in Washington Township, N.J. This appointment follows positions at Cancer Treatment Centers of America and Comprehensive Cancer and Hematology Specialists, P.C.
On a personal note…
Dr. Rotkowitz has a strong connection to his patients through his personal experience; he lost his mother to cancer and his father, who subsequently passed, was a cancer survivor. “My ability to relieve suffering and optimize outcomes is incredibly important to me in adding days to patients’ lives, but more so, life to patients’ days,” he shared.
Dr. Rotkowitz enriches his own life through music, to which he draws a deep connection with medicine. “Music and medicine have many overlapping principles and both are instruments of healing to the mind, body, and spirit,” he said.
“In both the appreciation of music and in my love for medicine, listening remains my most important strength. My passion for both will involve a lifetime of education, inspiration, improvisation, and practice. Both medicine and music possess the power to heal and the ability to relieve pain. They both celebrate the harmonies of existence. As music provides the soundtrack of all human life, medicine remains the foundation that sustains it,” he continued.
On healthcare market research…
“Being a community hematologist and medical oncologist is difficult because you have to stay on the pulse of all updates and innovation in an ever evolving complex and diverse field of malignant hematology and medical oncology,” he said. “Taking part in healthcare and market research studies allows you to stay on the pulse of future updates and clinical data while also allowing you the opportunity for your ideas and insights to be heard,” he added.
Dr. Rotkowitz acknowledges that while the ability to earn accessory income and be compensated for one’s time and ideas is meaningful, he also believes that market research is quite engaging and allows one’s thoughts, concerns, and interests to be welcomed and appreciated. In his words, participating in market research offers “a voice and/or therapy to stress your concerns and share how you truly feel about issues related to the field. I feel rewarded to be able to be proactive in expressing ideas and thoughts that may implement some real positive change.”
Dr. Rotkowitz is particularly complimentary about working with Reckner Healthcare Surveys. “Reckner studies are always incredibly engaging, rewarding and allow me to be truthful in expressing concerns, thoughts, and feelings about a diversity of topics and products in the marketplace. I like the personal touch that Reckner provides as they have dedicated employees for particular studies and they are very meticulous about scheduling and following up,” he said.
“I feel assured that the enrolling and execution of these surveys will be incredibly efficient and allow me to plan my schedule accordingly. I also greatly appreciate the diversity of topics within the field of hematology and oncology that are available through Reckner,” he concluded.
Speaking on behalf of the Reckner Healthcare team, Vice President Jason Gamber said, “All of us at Reckner would like to congratulate Dr. Rotkowitz on his new position at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Jefferson Health. We have appreciated his input over the past years and look forward to his ongoing participation as a member of our trusted Healthcare Panel.”
More about Dr. Rotkowitz…
In his new position Dr. Rotkowitz plans to focus on treating thoracic oncology but will be “seeing patients of all tumor etiologies and both benign and malignant hematology,” he stated. He believes that this will allow great partnerships with the academic team at Jefferson’s main campus in Center City Philadelphia. He also continues to be interested in alternative therapies and palliative care medicine.
Dr. Rotkowitz received his undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware and attended medical school at St. George’s University in St. George’s, Grenada. After graduating in 2005, he completed his post graduate training St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center (Internal Medicine Residency Program and SUNY Downstate Medical Center (Hematology/Oncology Fellowship).
He has held various teaching positions since 2008 and is currently Clinical Assistant Instructor at the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University. He has authored several publications and given lectures to medical students and at medical conferences.
In addition to practicing medicine and playing the trumpet, Dr. Rotkowitz has twin boys (turning two in July) and a miniature poodle named Rocco. He is an avid fan of the New York Mets and New York Jets. His interests include travel, spending time with family and friends, and seeing live music.
As a regular feature on its new blog, Reckner Healthcare will talk with members of its Healthcare Panel about their backgrounds and interest in participating in healthcare market research. Panelist Dr. Claudio Sandoval, renowned in the fields of pediatrics and pediatric hematology-oncology, was the first to share his views on Reckner and healthcare market research.
Dr. Claudio Sandoval is board certified in pediatrics and pediatric hematology-oncology, and in addition to his active practice, is involved in teaching medical students and residents. He currently holds the rank of Professor of Pediatrics at New York Medical College. Moreover, he is active in both clinical and basic science research in the fields of ataxia-telangiectasia and minimal disease detection in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Dr. Sandoval has been a member of Reckner’s Healthcare Panel since 2002 and has participated in more than 50 studies. “I perform these studies so that others may benefit from my clinical expertise. I have been caring for patients with blood and cancer disorders for over 26 years and have a wealth of information and a deep reservoir of knowledge. I enjoy talking to people and contributing to the science and art of medicine,” he said.
Dr. Sandoval encourages his colleagues to contribute to healthcare market research. “This way we can expand the panoramic view of ideas. I tell them it is a nice way to contribute to science, and maybe even learn something along the way.”
Reckner prides itself in efficient, friendly, and appropriate communication with the healthcare professionals on its panel. Reckner understands how busy these professionals are and makes all provisions necessary to accommodate their complex schedules. Dr. Sandoval confirmed that “the Reckner personnel are always so nice to talk to. I have never had any issues with scheduling and whenever there is a change it is done in a timely fashion.” He also notes that the subject matters of the surveys are pertinent to his areas of expertise.
Dr. Sandoval, a storyteller by nature, prefers the long form interviews over online surveys because he says he enjoys talking in person. “Growing up in Long Island and being a fisherman I became a raconteur-fishermen–always bragging about the guppies caught or the guppies that got away,” he joked.
Dr. Sandoval encourages his colleagues to contribute to healthcare market research. “This way we can expand the panoramic view of ideas. I tell them it is a nice way to contribute to science, and maybe even learn something along the way,” he concluded.
“Dr. Sandoval has been an important member of the Reckner Healthcare Panel. We appreciate his more than 17 years of service and his contributions to the field,” said Lexy Frazier, Reckner Director of Qualitative Research.
More about Dr. Claudio Sandoval
- Author or co-author of 91 research papers in peer-reviewed journals
- Author of Up-to-Date articles and a chapter on iron deficiency anemia
- An active member in the American Society of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
- Received Doctor of Medicine degree from New York Medical College (1987), where he performed research on the effects of interferons on hematopoiesis.
- Trained in pediatrics at Schneider Children’s Hospital
- Subspecialty training in pediatric hematology-oncology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where he studied therapy-related secondary leukemias, and the granulocyte colony stimulating factor receptor in children with Kostmann syndrome. Both of these areas of research were presented at national meetings as oral and poster presentations and published in peer-reviewed journals (Leukemia, Blood, and the Journal of Clinical Oncology).