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Remote Collaboration and Evidence-Based Care

Providing care to individuals living in remote areas has been an issue for healthcare providers for a long time. Fortunately, the emergence of new communication technologies, such as messaging and the Internet, has removed some barriers to healthcare access. Telemedicine, which is the use of communication technologies in healthcare, is a novel approach to providing care to patients. According to Kruse et al. (2021), it solves the problem of limited access to medical services in rural communities and patients with restricted mobility. In this video, I will describe a case of one patient living in a rural area and the ways in which telemedicine helped healthcare professionals to collaborate with each other and develop an appropriate care plan for this patient.

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First, I will introduce the patient and describe the evidence-based care plan that has been developed. Caitlynn is a two-year-old girl who has been admitted to the pediatric unit in Valley City Regional Hospital for pneumonia, which was her second admission for this diagnosis in the last six months. Based on her symptoms, vital signs, and test results, the pediatrician concluded that the patient had cystic fibrosis. The diagnosis was confirmed, and the healthcare team had to develop a care plan based on the information that the patient lived in a rural area, over one hour away from the hospital. The team also had to take into account that the patient’s condition required significant parental involvement.

An evidence-based care plan for this patient included the education of the parents, which started at the hospital and continued via Skype after the discharge. Further, since the local hospital had difficulties providing the patient with the necessary medications and pancreatic enzymes, it was decided that the Valley City Regional Hospital would give assistance. The hospital also arranged for the social worker to provide the parents with access to groups dealing with grief. Finally, the local pediatrician was asked to provide the parents with the information resources necessary for treating their child’s difficult condition. During remote educational sessions, the respiratory therapist responded to the parent’s concerns about the treatment and assessed whether the parents performed the prescribed procedures correctly.

Now, I will explain how an evidence-based practice model was used in care plan development. According to Tucker et al. (2021), different evidence-based practice models possess common elements: an assessment of the situation, the search for the best evidence, selection of the most relevant evidence-based practices for implementation, and evaluation of outcomes. In this scenario, healthcare professionals assessed the patient’s situation and found that remote communication and coordination were necessary to ensure the patient’s safety and improved health outcomes. Further, the hospital used the best available evidence about providing care to patients in remote areas. As Kruse et al. (2021) point out, telemedicine is a viable option in this case because it increases the communication between the patient and the provider, gives cost advantages, and improves health outcomes. Upon reviewing the available options, the hospital chose to communicate with the patient’s parents via Skype and coordinate care with the help of Skype, phone calls, and text messages. Finally, the healthcare provider evaluated the outcomes of this intervention by arranging video calls with the patient’s parents and assessing the patient’s condition.

Next, I will reflect on the evidence that appeared to be most relevant in the decision-making regarding the care plan. Research findings synthesized by Kruse et al. (2021) reveal that the use of telemedicine improves the quality of care and patient outcomes. Therefore, the healthcare team’s decision to use telemedicine for patient-provider communication was informed by evidence. Further, the study conducted by Farber et al. (2018) showed that parents needed healthcare professionals to tell them the truth about the diagnosis of cystic fibrosis and help them with managing the disease. In this regard, the healthcare team made the right decision in reassuring the patient’s mother and asking the social worker to find a grief recovery group for the parents.

Finally, I will identify the advantages of remote collaboration and discuss strategies to mitigate challenges emerging when developing a remote care plan. The major benefit of remote collaboration is that the members of an interdisciplinary team can communicate with each other, being located in different places or even time zones. One challenge is a lack of access to the necessary technologies for remote communication. According to Kruse et al. (2021), this problem is mitigated by a wide choice of communication technologies. If some members of the team do not have access to telemedicine equipment, they can always use other options, such as Skype or phone calls. Another challenge is the scheduling of remote communication, which sometimes cannot be performed during working hours. The healthcare professionals in the discussed scenario mitigated this issue by scheduling after-hours appointments or communicating via text messages.

In conclusion, remote collaboration has been enabled by recent advances in communication technologies. There is strong evidence that the use of telemedicine improves patient outcomes and positively affects the quality and cost of care. Based on this evidence, as well as using best practices regarding particular treatments, interdisciplinary teams can provide care to patients in rural communities that often suffer from inequitable access to healthcare.

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References

Farber, J. G., Prieur, M. G., Roach, C., Shay, R., Walter, M., Borowitz, D., & Dellon, E. P. (2018). Difficult conversations: Discussing prognosis with children with cystic fibrosis. Pediatric Pulmonology, 53(5), 592–598. Web.

Kruse, C. S., Williams, K., Bohls, J., & Shamsi, W. (2021). Implications of telemedicine and health policy: An examination of facilitators and barriers through a systematic review. Health Policy and Technology, 10(1), 209-229. Web.

Tucker, S., McNett, M., Melnyk, B. M., Hanrahan, K., Hunter, S. C., Kim, B., Cullen, L., & Kitson, A. (2021). Implementation science: Application of evidence-based practice models to improve healthcare quality. Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing, 18(2), 76-84. Web.

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