Telemedicine Program Signals Bold Leadership on a Small Scale

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media , December 7, 2012

"This is not primary care, it's just an add-on," Nagler says, adding, without being specific, that patients identified as using the system too often will be "curtailed from doing that."

On the surface, I'll admit, it may not seem like a big, innovative step, and maybe it's not. But it does open up new revenue streams and new sources for patient interactions for the physicians that call Continuum home in some way.

It's a way to expand office hours without a physician revolt, and it keeps patients in the hospital's ecosystem. Perhaps it will bring more patients who don't have a primary care physician into Continuum's sphere. It does cater to some degree to concierge crowd, who don't want to wait, and best of all, it's an all-cash or credit business. No waiting around for reimbursements and patient billing.

"We're going to measure the volume of calls and activity and the economics and referrals that come into our system as well as satisfaction rates," says Nagler, who adds that at some point, Continuum docs may be available to patients in an expanded geographical area, that is, outside New York City.

"I think it has the potential to bring in a younger population initially who may not need the services of a traditional hospital environment," he says. "As we gain acceptance, it has the potential to percolate up through the family, if you will."

Not if I will. If the patients will.

Philip Betbeze is senior leadership editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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