Telehealth has been around for a long time, but only recently has it gained the critical mass that most have long expected. “It’s the overnight success story that was 30 years in the making,” said Atrium Health Chief Strategy Officer Dr. Rasu Shrestha.
He said that in January 2019 – more than a year before the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated, in short order, an even bigger, more sustained and more widespread scaling up of virtual care services than could ever have been imagined two years ago.
Over the past six months, as hospitals and health systems have pursued telemedicine and remote patient monitoring programs in earnest – whether launching new ones or expanding existing ones – they’ve all had some learning curves and growing pains to manage.
The lessons have been learned in real time: how to cultivate clinician buy-in, adjust to new workflows, iron out IT challenges, educate patients, manage new data streams, safeguard security and much more.
In June, Healthcare IT News and the other HIMSS Media brands, Healthcare Finance and MobiHealthNews, launched a new series of editorial webinars at the HIMSS Learning Center. Naturally, the first focus was on exploring the new normal of telehealth and virtual care. (There will be another series starting soon, delving into the promise of AI, automation and machine learning.)
Along the way, our editors have spoken to a wide variety of healthcare C-suite execs, clinicians, IT thought leaders, patient advocates and others about the unique nature of this new modality of care – which looks to be here to stay.
How to manage the new “data tsunami”
As providers rushed to roll out new telehealth services in response to the pandemic, many weren’t – and many still aren’t – prepared to manage the upsurge of new data, and new data types, streaming into their electronic health records. We spoke with HIMSS Senior Director of Health Information Systems Rob Havasy about the data management challenges posed by remote care delivery.
How to shore up telehealth cybersecurity
Virtual care poses distinct privacy and security risk factors that must be managed, with new tools and data streams to safeguard and new responsibilities on both the patient and provider side. We spoke with Dan Bowden, CISO at Sentara Healthcare; Natalia Martin, Deputy Director, of NIST’s National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence; and Saif Abed, director of cybersecurity advisory services at the AbedGraham Group, about how to conduct an effective telehealth risk assessment, how evolving federal policies impact security compliance and more.
How to optimize RPM for physicians
As clinicians adjust to new workflows as they deliver care to patients at home, there are some important steps that can make remote patient monitoring more efficient and effective. Kyle Brewer, telehealth administrator at University of Mississippi Medical Center; Kuldeep CEO of Biofourmis; Laura Kreofsky, VP at Pivot Point Consulting, and Neil Patel, president of Healthbox, offered their perspectives on the new connected health tools and data management imperatives needed to make RPM work.
How to cultivate clinician buy-in
Dr. Bruce Darrow, CMIO at Mount Sinai Health System; Samantha Herold, clinical engineer at Yale New Haven Health; and Bryce Ell, manager of telehealth at Norman Regional Health System, describe some of the change management strategies that can help clinicians across the enterprise embrace the new realities – and new technologies – of telehealth and remote patient monitoring, and adapt enthusiastically a new way of delivering care.
How to engage patients for pop health
The expansion of telehealth offers the opportunity to achieve some big population health goals, if properly deployed. In this webinar, Silas Buchanan, CEO of the Institute for eHealth Equity; Dr. Chris Gibbons, chief health innovation adviser at the Federal Communications Commission; Cindy Gaines, RN, chief nursing officer at Philips; and Dr. Stacy Lindau, MD, founder of NowPow, discuss how connected care is boosting health equity efforts and how patients and community organizations can be engaged to capitalize on its promise.
How CIOs can help shape strategy
Ralph Johnson, vice president of informatics and technology at patient-safety advocates the Leapfrog Group, served for many years as chief information officer at Franklin Community Health Network, based in rural Farmington, Maine. In this webinar, he shares from his long experience delivering virtual care to remote patients, and discusses ways to optimize IT systems and connected health tools to enable quality and ensure safety.
How to train employees for the new normal
In this session, Cristina Naso, director of virtual health at Moffitt Cancer Center; Dr. Vikram Bakhru, COO and CFO at ConsejoSano; and Philip Spiessens, senior director at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, discuss how hospitals and health systems can better manage their workforces for the new demands of telehealth and prepare employees to make the most of virtual care.
How to navigate a new policy landscape
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services offered wide latitude around telehealth regulation and reimbursement in the early days of the COVID-19 emergency. How much of that new flexibility will stick around in a post-pandemic world remains to be seen. In this webinar, Dr. Liz Kwo, staff vice president for clinical data analytics at Anthem; Dr. David McSwain, CMIO at Medical University of South Carolina; and Brooke McSwain, health policy lead at SPROUT National Research Collaborative, discuss some of the ongoing questions around policy and regulation, such as the potential for payment parity, going forward.
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