Dialing for dollars in Florida

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

MIAMI LAKES, Fla. - So far, Rob Del Giacco likes what he sees in his company’s pilot telemedicine program.

“It is a great feature in that we are saving time and getting the patient what they need in a more efficient and effective manner,” said All-Med Services’ vice president of operations and clinical services. “We’re being proactive in the care of the patient rather than reactive.”

By using equipment with telemedicine capabilities for ventilator, infant apnea and liquid oxygen patients, All-Med can dial up and check on its patients. Doing so lets the company avoid unnecessary and costly home visits, helps in routing drivers and allows respiratory therapists to see more patients, Del Giacco said.

Telemedicine also allows All-Med to keep closer tabs on its patients. By monitoring the equipment remotely, All-Med can catch and trouble shoot problems before they become critical. That helps keep patients out of the hospital and in turn saves insurers money, Del Giacco said.

The company began the pilot program last summer. In December, All-Med intends to unveil the program to doctors and insurers to get their input.

“We’re not doing this for smoke and mirrors,” Del Giacco said. “We want their feedback to see where they think it should be tweaked to be more beneficial. That’s important. We want to make sure the medical community buys into it.”

In all, the program involves about 80 patients. All-Med generates most of its business working with managed care companies. Using telemedicine to reduce costs and improve patient care will help the company be more competitive in competing for contracts, Del Diacco said.