Frank McGillin, CEO of The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic, works intensively with telehealth in this joint venture between Cleveland Clinic and Amwell. His prediction: telehealth will evolve towards concierge care, as providers reduce “platform sprawl”, coordinate the virtual care experience, and provide multidisciplinary virtual care.
- Telehealth is now “a permanent mode of access”, though the pandemic created “platform sprawl” as providers reached for any and all modes and providers which could be implemented quickly
- Healthcare providers and plans now have to scale back and reconcile all this to “design a digital trajectory with intention”
- This means developing a personalized approach to telehealth delivery and to provide a seamless, highly coordinated care experience
- Their approach is to focus on multidisciplinary virtual visits and case analysis for patients with complex conditions, such as their Virtual Second Opinions program for conditions such as brain tumors and prostate cancer.
- Virtual multidisciplinary support reduces the risk of suboptimal treatment plans and can eliminate long travel times and exposure to COVID-19 for vulnerable patients. For payers and employers, this can add up to better outcomes and reduced cost of care.
- “Intelligent” remote monitoring also removes another layer of risk in providing the right care at the right time
- Continuation of relaxed interstate licensure requirements are needed to provide fast access to medical experts, particularly for primary care providers.
Interview with Healthcare IT News
Healthcare Dive has been running a series on industry trends, and this installment focuses on digital health.
- Healthcare will become more predictive and proactive, with insights fed by connected devices and analytics (commonly lumped under AI) that enable organizations to collect, analyze, and act on massive amounts of data.
- But algorithms don’t have judgment and data can have bias, leading to poor decisions, such as the distribution of vaccines. Expect more oversight from the Federal level down on AI research and policymaking,
- Virtual care will continue to grow in virtual diagnostics, patient-reported outcomes applications, and digital homecare platforms
- Telehealth and digital health is integrating into the traditional delivery and payment model–partnerships with health systems, payers, and employers.
- Virtual care access is booming in niche areas such as women’s health, hospital at home, and mental health, with investment dollars flowing in. Telemental health is moving into consolidation.
- Cybersecurity will become more of a focal point for healthcare companies in 2021, with hackers finding their way into all these contact tracing apps designed in a hurry, plus digital health systems, many of which are poorly protected. Targeted attacks have skyrocketed.
And speaking of cybersecurity, over at HealthITSecurity, they rounded up the experts to opine on All Those Security Risks that fast implementation of telehealth and moving devices out of the hospital walled garden have created. Remote patient management is now an asset, no longer a ‘nice to have’, for providers, setting up a situation where patients are increasingly both the beneficiaries of more convenient health delivery and victims of security breaches and ransomware.
- ‘Out of hospital’ care means that data is being transmitted between multiple points. Network security isn’t guaranteed. So attacks can originate at the weak points–either the home or hospital environment.
- The fast implementation of telehealth during the pandemic meant not only did systems not work together well, it also meant multiple points of vulnerability
- Over 80% of surveyed healthcare providers globally harbor concerns about data security and privacy (Kaspersky/Arlington Research). And a shocking 70% admitted that their practice used outdated legacy operating systems, exposing them to security vulnerabilities.
- “A culture of security” means maintaining endpoint security and BYOD policies across the organization’s network, identity management and zero trust tactics, and yes, security consciousness on patients’ parts.
- Patients should not be responsible for security, providers partly, which leaves the responsibility with the vendor. But healthcare organizations are responsible for evaluating their vendors, and how they are interacting with and storing their data.