What telemedicine data tells us about the future of healthcare

Telemedicine’s moment is here. Many providers agree that telemedicine is here to stay in different capacities after the pandemic. But as health systems begin to gather more data from increased use of wearables and virtual visits, questions remain around how providers can best use that information to improve care access and plan for the future.

Leaders from three health systems discussed this topic at a panel session part of Becker’s Telehealth Virtual Forum on Nov. 3, titled: “What telemedicine data tells us about the future of healthcare.” 

The speakers were:

  • Claus Jensen, PhD, chief digital officer and head of technology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City 
  • Brian Wayling, assistant vice president of telehealth services at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City
  • Peter Antall, MD, CMO of Amwell 

Here is an excerpt from the conversation, lightly edited for clarity. To view the full session on demand, click here.

Question: What does telemedicine data tell us about the future of healthcare?

Dr. Peter Antall: We’re starting to see a convergence of many different modalities, all conspiring to care for the patient longitudinally. For example, we’re beginning to blur the line between how we traditionally care for hypertension in a brick and mortar setting versus how one might care for hypertension longitudinally in a disease management program, such as having a blood pressure cuff in the home. Care teams are getting readings periodically. They might check in at a different cadence. They might get alerts that cause them to encourage the patient to come in sooner than they might have in the past.

Brian Wayling: We’re seeing data delivered from a digital perspective. We can start comparing patient adherence to our standards of care and practice models, and start reducing care variance. That could apply to the practice model, prescribing and beyond. That opens up opportunities for deeper data mining. Then you get into the artificial intelligence side of things that are really starting to play a role in preemptively helping caregivers. Never to replace them, but augment and enhance care management. 

Dr. Claus Jensen: When done right, I believe the future of telemedicine allows us to engage people earlier and let go of them later. We have been disease focused for as long as we’ve had modern healthcare. But the reality is that there is a much bigger interaction between the health of the human and the disease of the human. And if we can do a better job of managing risk to insight and guidance earlier in the relationship, we can probably not just intercept, but in some cases preempt ultimate disease.

More articles on telehealth:
Hospital execs: How to widen the digital front door
The business drivers for telehealth after the pandemic
CMS aims to expand telehealth, discuss payment reform next year, Verma says

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