Understanding the Future Role of Telehealth in Healthcare Delivery
“Telehealth is now a household word,” stated American Telemedicine Association President Dr. Joe Kvedar during his keynote address the first day of the virtual ATA2020 conference. “We have a lot more work to do,” he said, particularly when it comes to breaking barriers around synchronicity. “We have the opportunity to reimagine healthcare delivery.”
A few conference panelists also shared their experiences and perspectives regarding the increased role telehealth will play in healthcare:
- “I think we’re going to see increased simplicity and more integration,” said Kevin Galpin, executive director of telehealth for the Department of Veterans Affairs. “The key is putting this in the provider workflow so it doesn’t feel like something else.”
- Fatima Paruk, CMIO for Microsoft Health and Life Sciences, indicated that the opportunity for reduced overhead costs could be a big selling point for telehealth. “You don’t have to turn around patient rooms and outpatient clinics. If you can deliver this stuff virtually and a heck of a lot more efficiently so you can get to the next patient on time, I think all of a sudden there’s a whole additional value proposition here that has not been quantified,” she said.
Collaborating with Home Health Partners
The future of telehealth depends on physicians using technology to strengthen their relationships with their patients and their patients’ home health caregivers. Physicians can achieve quality of care goals and lower the risk of rehospitalization for their patients by using telehealth in collaboration with their home health partner:
- Patients with scheduling or transportation challenges can participate in a convenient tele-visit with their physician whether during an in-person or virtual visit with their home health nurse.
- Patients can be sent condition-specific messaging to drive adherence.
- Remote patient monitoring can provide physicians and post-acute partners with data and insight into a patient’s condition in real-time.
- Assessments can be conducted in-between visits to gauge the change in a patient’s condition and level of compliance.
- By using HIPAA-compliant video, secure messaging, text, and email, physicians can provide recommendations to the plan of care in real-time.
Connecting providers to patients and their post-acute care partners (e.g., home health and home care agencies) will be key to ensuring a virtual relationship amongst all stakeholders. Synzi’s telehealth solution streamlines the communication gap by aligning care providers on the patient’s goals, updating the team on the patient’s progress, and ensuring that the treatment plan is revised or an intervention is conducted based on readily available information and insights.