Welcome to this week’s healthcare Knowledge Knugget! As a part of “The Executive Innovation Show” podcast, we’re bringing you the hot topics, questions we receive each week and game-changing ideas, best practices and tips. Today’s topic comes from Dr. Valentine Ugwu of VNC RealHealth, PLLC.
Today he is going to talk about specific use cases of how he’s using telemedicine in prenatal care and how other doctors, OB/GYNs, and primary care providers can be using telehealth to help improve access to patients. How can you use telehealth for your local demographics and provide more convenience to your patients? In Texas, there’s a lot of driving distances between towns. Dr. Ugwu provides a big need at the border and he is doing some great things.
Dr. Valentine Ugwu is an OBGYN -Full Fellow of American College of OBGYN’s (ACOG) and a Board-Certified Primary Care Physician. Also, he has a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA). His health care experience spans about 23-years.
He is the Chief Executive officer/Owner of VNC RealHealth, PLLC which has been in business over the last 2-3 years and has actively been involved in telehealth online health care awareness for that long. In addition, Dr. Ugwu provides OBGYN care to immigration facilities (Pearsall and Dilley) in Frio County, Texas as well as being the Medical Director of the Dimmit County, Texas Jail facility.
Listen and or watch the Knowledge Knugget above as Dr. Valentine Ugwu answers the following questions discussing the benefits of telemedicine for prenatal care:
How can telemedicine in prenatal care help rural areas to have more frequent visits with patients?
Pregnancy should be a wonderful time for a mother and her unborn baby but can be challenging without the support and medical care needed as can be provided with prenatal care.
This becomes even more of a concern with the limited access to care that comes with the rural areas. It is no news that since 2010 to date, approximately 1 in 5 hospitals in rural communities across the country have closed due to limited funding, migrating population to urban areas amongst other issues. To get the access they must travel long distances in most circumstances. These issues of course impact this important population ”pregnant women” gravely as they are starved of care and become open to dire complications as their only options are showing up in the emergency room where most physicians are not trained to offer care to them and the only option is to have them “flown“ out of the facility.
Promoting telehealth will help ease these pressures as women can use their mobile devices to communicate with providers like myself for remote access to prenatal care. All that is needed is asking them the basic questions like if they have abdominal pain, vaginal discharge or leakage of fluid or bleeding and if they are feeling their baby's movements.
Also teaching them to measure their weights, blood pressures, growth of their pregnancy with tape measurements, and listening to their baby’s heart using a device. Once the physician confirms that the answers are as expected, they can be reassured and advised on necessary precautions. appropriate for their stage of pregnancy, pending their next review.
Of course, this is only applicable to pregnancies considered low risk (which is most pregnancies). High-risk pregnancies and low-risk pregnancies determined to have eventual concerns on virtual visits will warrant physical evaluations.
You work servicing the border and surrounding areas as a physician, how much windshield time do you spend per week or month driving to locations?
Given my passion for women’s health and rural medicine, I do work in the border environment and commit an average of 10-12 hours a week ensuring I travel to deliver care to my population.
If an average telemedicine prenatal care appointment is 4 to 7 mins, describe the benefits as a physician being in one location seeing more patients. (Video relationship and patient convenience, not missing appointments, compliance). What is most beneficial in your mind?
In my opinion patient inconvenience (Lack of transport to nearest facilities or finances) is one of the most challenging reasons for patient’s noncompliance with prenatal care. So, to be able to bridge this gap with Telehealth has unquantifiable benefits. It does also help the physician reduce burnout with travel and the hazards of long-distance traveling when not needed.
That's today's healthcare Knowledge Knugget, part of The Executive Innovation Show. Feel free to submit questions or be featured on the Knowledge Knugget. Subscribe to our YouTube, Vimeo, and the podcast channels to get your Knowledge Knugget on Thursdays.
Download our playbook where we define "What is Telehealth?". From use cases, specialty areas best suited for telehealth and more, this playbook is packed with useful information while you research more about telehealth for prenatal care.