Answering the Call of Telehealth
Answering the Call of Telehealth
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, video consultations were on the rise, with many healthcare systems advocating a digital-first approach. In patient care and clinical trials, demand for virtual care has never been higher. The pandemic has accelerated this shift.
For me, it has been exciting to collaborate with health systems at a time of urgent need to expedite the adoption of telemedicine and telehealth. Our shared task now is to extend this new paradigm into the post-pandemic period.
The scope for using these tools for long-term conditions is extensive and includes management of diabetes, hypertension, asthma, stroke, psychiatric illnesses, cancers, chronic pain and much more besides. In addition, we are seeing extensive use of virtual technologies for triage and management of a wide range of acute conditions, including emergency eye care.
An array of innovative telemedicine and telehealth IT applications has greatly enhanced physicians' ability to easily engage with their patients, enabling health care providers and support staff to collaborate across distances, creating greater efficiencies and a sharper focus on patient care.
Digital technologies deliver measurable gains in healthcare quality, efficiency, and outcomes. Even more can be achieved. In the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I see an immediate need to employ biomarkers and artificial intelligence (AI) extensively to track the spread of this deadly epidemic through the use of telehealth applications.
The emergence of value-based healthcare requires new approaches for physicians and their organisations in serving their patients. Physicians who use telehealth, especially for their patients with chronic conditions, see lower rates of hospital readmission.
Along with efficiency gains, I am excited about the clear benefits on offer for patients, including those in rural areas for whom access to care can be more challenging. Virtual consultations have been proven to increase patient satisfaction and improve patient outcomes through continuous contact and connection with their providers.
In my view, telemedicine and telehealth are the lifeblood of a system that engages patients in new ways to help them and their physicians adhere to practices that support value-based care. A technological approach enables the customisation of care for large populations as we stratify patient groups.
Clinical data scientists and informatics experts are partnering with physicians and medtech companies, to establish and operationalise programmes that identify new best practices and drive behaviour change, especially for those patients with costly chronic conditions and comorbidities.
Given the scale of the transformation under way, I firmly believe that partnerships are vital. Industry, healthcare providers, government agencies and others must work together to continuously improve care using telehealth. We must establish a common goal in facilitating seamless collaborative relationships.
As a participant in the development and implementation of vital healthcare technology, I believe that it is an important initiative to promote the continuous improved solutions, and the preservation of meaningful and productive collaborative business relationships, through the services we provide collectively, and within the communities we serve.
Building active and mutually beneficial partnerships in the private sector and at all levels of government is fundamental to the success of the healthcare industry's performance. Together, we will change healthcare – for the better.