Over the course of the next few weeks on the blog, we’ll be taking a deep-dive look at each of Beam’s telemedicine service offerings — Infectious Disease and Prevention, Cardiology Consults and Procedures, Pulmonary Consults and Procedures, Clinical Pharmacist, and Hospitalist (MD and APP).
“Small hospitals have two infectious disease problems—they don’t have infectious disease providers to see infectious patients, and they don’t have a physician to manage infection prevention problems like outbreaks, etc.” says Harry Scholtz, Beam’s Chief Telemedicine Officer and Infectious Disease and Prevention specialist.
Post-acute care facilities face challenges as well. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requires that each facility have an Infection Prevention program, which includes antimicrobial stewardship. There is a new focus being placed on facilities having a staff specialist trained in infection prevention and control, as well as an increased emphasis on antimicrobial stewardship.
The CMS State Operations Manual states that:
Keeping current on emerging infections, resistance trends, outbreak control measures, and compliance policies typically falls on a single staff member, and while Infectious Disease-trained physicians and pharmacists are invaluable assets, they’re rarely available in the post-acute setting.
The scale of the problem was made apparent through the 2018 Certification and Survey Provider Enhanced Reports (CASPER), which found that infection control deficiencies were the leading cause of nursing home citations that year.
Recognizing the need for a solution not only for providers but for residents and patients alike, Beam launched its Infectious Disease and Prevention services.
Our goal is simple—employ the economical use of telemedicine to improve antibiotic prescribing practices, implement evidence-based Infection Prevention strategies, decrease unnecessary urine culture orders, and improve community health through immunization.
We provide access to Infectious Disease and Prevention specialists for both inpatient and outpatient consultations, from post-acute care facilities to small hospitals and rural providers.
Our Infectious Disease specialty clinic services provide access to rural providers and prevent patients from having to make repeated long drives to a specialty clinic. Reasons for being seen in a specialty clinic may include: evaluation for tickborne illnesses, travel medicine, management of chronic indwelling catheters, recurrent urinary tract infections, prosthetic joint infections, osteomyelitis, diabetic foot infections, and HIV medicine.
For patients who require an Infectious Disease consult for ailments such as cellulitis, osteomyelitis, endocarditis and healthcare-associated infections (like pneumonia and bloodstream infections), Beam’s services are critical. Aside from obvious benefits for the patient, Infectious Disease consults also benefit the facility, as they have been shown to reduce hospital length of stay, mortality, and readmission rates.
Beam’s telemedicine Stewardship/Infection Prevention teams are comprised of board-certified pharmacists, Infectious Disease physicians, and Quality and Compliance experts working together to deliver facility-tailored consultative services.
Beyond increasing patients’ access to care and ensuring your facility meets minimum requirements, an investment in Infectious Disease and Prevention services can also deliver a substantial return.
The National Foundation for Infectious Disease explains, “According to a University of Maryland study, implementation of one antibiotic stewardship program saved a total of $17 million over 8 years at one institution. After the program was discontinued, antibiotic costs increased over $1 million in the first year (an increase of 23 percent) and continued to increase the following year.”
Additionally, the Advisory Board cites Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs (ASPs) as demonstrating a “22%-36% reduction in antibiotic use and an annual savings of $200,000 - $900,000 across both large academic and small community hospitals.”
Beam’s Infectious Disease and Prevention will assist to create processes and systems that enhance care above the minimum standard, improve access to specialist care, and save you money in the long-run. For more information on how our Infectious Disease and Prevention services could meet your facility’s needs, simply contact us—we look forward to speaking with you!
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