What is the value of Telemedicine?
Sara: “Telemedicine opens opportunities for providers to reach more patients and improve the patient experience, especially among those in remote areas, or who face mobility challenges. As the founding dean of the new Dell Medical School in Austin, Dr. S. Claiborne Johnston says, ‘the flu shouldn’t require a [face to face] doctor visit.'”
What do you hope to bring to the conference?
Sara: “I want to demonstrate our patient engagement and remote monitoring platform to health systems and tele-health vendors attending the conference. As healthcare is moving away from hospitals, clinics are acquiring private practices and adopting risk based models; it is imperative that they adjust to a new model of health care. At the same time, as tele-health becomes more prevalent, patient engagement and remote monitoring after a tele-health consultation will decrease the likelihood of a follow up visit, resulting in lower healthcare costs. Patient engagement and remote monitoring platforms can have a huge impact on the very expensive and low quality healthcare system in this country.”
What do you hope to get out of the conference?
Sara: “I hope to learn what health systems and tele-health and industry leaders are doing in the telemedicine space. I also want to identify tele-health vendor integration partner candidates.”
What is stopping us from adopting telemedicine on a broader scale?
Sara: “Collective consciousness; telemedicine has been around for many years but state policies, laws and regulations have had a huge impact on telemedicine adoption. Providers continue to answer phone calls from patients, and some employers and payers still include a nurse phone line as part of their service offerings. Payers may or may not cover tele-health services and patients may not even know whether tele-health is covered in their insurance plans. All of the players in healthcare space, as well as patients, play a role in telemedicine adoption and usage. We all lose precious time scheduling, driving, taking time off from work and being at a doctor’s office. In Texas, for example, a recent court ruling requests that all tele-health visits require an initial face to face visit. Folks with mobility issues, transportation challenges, and those residing in areas without specialists in their areas will be affected.”
What do you predict is next for the mental health/health industry?
Sara: “The shortage of providers, number of providers approaching retirement, and the growing number of folks with mental and behavioral health issues is going to force us to look at tele-psychiatry as well as patient engagement and remote patient monitoring as effective ways to meet the needs of the population and improve outcomes. Another important consideration being evaluated by both inpatient and outpatient medical providers is bringing in mental and behavioral health professionals into their staff. Chronic care conditions can be improved with psycho-social support and lifestyle choices.”