Launch of New Telehealth Service Addresses Urologist Shortage in Underserved Populations

The Ohio-based company, PercuVision, LLC, developer of the telemedicine platform DirectVision DVS-III Telehealth Hub, and LocumTenens.com, a full-service healthcare staffing agency aligned with Georgia’s Jackson Healthcare network, have joined forces to launch a pilot program that will provide valuable clinical and emergency tele-urology services to patients across the United States. The goal of this new partnership is to improve access to care by extending urology services to urban and rural areas where there are few or no urologists, the 2 companies said in a recent press release1.

According to data from a recent American Urological Association survey, there are approximately 12,000 practicing urologists in the United States, which translates to less than 4 per 100,000 people.2 The majority of these providers work in metropolitan areas, leaving 62% of the nation’s counties without a practicing urologist. The new partnership between PercuVision and LocumTenens.com aims to remedy this situation by expanding the geographic practice areas of urologists, allowing clinics and primary care facilities to provide patients with a range of services via telehealth.

As a practicing urologist, Errol Singh, MD, FACS, Founder, PercuVision, understands that many patients are unable to access a urologist, but this gap in care can be bridged with virtual medical solutions. PercuVision’s DirectVision products were created to improve patient outcomes by advancing the standard of care through the application of vision technology.

“Vision should be the first resort, especially for patients at risk for difficult urinary catheterizations, not the last,” said Dr Singh. “With the PercuVision Telehealth Hub and the clinicians staffed by LocumTenens.com, who have a wealth of telehealth expertise, urology services will be available to many more patients in greatly expanded service areas.”

LocumTenens.com’s clinicians help deliver care to approximately 7 million patients in more than 2400 healthcare facilities across the country. The agency has a dedicated telehealth division, led by Director Pamela Ograbisz, DNP, FNP-BC, which creates custom-built workflows and optimizes providers’ tele-urology requirements. Through the new partnership, LocumTenens.com will facilitate tele-urology treatment through PercuVision’s DirectVision Telehealth Hub, giving rural healthcare providers audiovisual access to urologists for help with urologic examinations and other services, including catheter placement.

The 5 states participating in the pilot study—Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Wyoming—were chosen because they have a high percentage of patients located several miles from full-service medical centers. These states also provide telehealth parity for reimbursement through their Medicaid programs, or reimbursement at the same rates as in-clinic care. In addition, they have policies in place that allow telehealth practitioners from other states to practice in their states.

“Access to specialized medical care, particularly within certain regions of the U.S., continues to be a critical issue,” said Chris Franklin, President, LocumTenens.com. “The partnership between PercuVision and LocumTenens.com brings together innovative medical technology, telehealth and specialized staffing solutions in a way that can truly impact people’s lives.”

References

  1. LocumTenens.com. PercuVision and LocumTenens.com partner to offer tele-urology services in underserved areas. January 27, 2020. www.locumtenens.com/press-releases/2020-archive/percuvision-and-locumtenenscom-partner-to-offer-tele-urology-services-in-underserved-areas/. Accessed February 23, 2020.
  2. American Urological Association. The state of the urology workforce and practice in the United States 2018. April 5, 2019. www.auanet.org/research/research-resources/aua-census/census-results. Accessed February 23, 2020.

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