Written By

Kiran Patel



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November 23, 2020

The Future of Telehealth Is Now

Image of a healthcare professional on a mobile phone. Text reads “The Time’s Now”.

This moment in time is unlike any other when it comes to providing healthcare. Because of COVID-19, we have seen more implementation and adoption of telehealth than we’ve seen in years, said Jim VanderMey, OST CIO and co-founder.

“We have organizations that went from 35 telehealth visits a day to hundreds,” VanderMey said. “We have organizations that went from hundreds of telehealth visits a day to thousands. The question of can we do it and will people use it has been answered.”

As we move into the next iteration of telehealth and digital health solutions, VanderMey noticed a few key themes emerging. First:

• IT organizations are being pressured to buy the latest technology because of the energy being placed on selling into this space
• A movement away from the individual technology to the ability to scale.

Hospitals and healthcare organizations need to think of their telehealth offerings as a platform from which you deliver care. Telehealth care has to be integrated into the way providers deliver care instead of as an afterthought.

Integrating Digital Health solutions

The question now is: How are entities incorporating digital health solutions into the way they deliver care? Digital health solutions have to be integrated into the provider workflow from the lens of patient experience. For example, imagine a patient is going from a hospital visit, and then moves to a case manager, and then you return to your primary care physician, who are all employed by the same health system.

“Does the patient want to be logging into different systems for those three interactions?” VanderMey said. “Do you want to have multiple apps? Do you want to have to self-report the data that you are using in a standalone app?”

The physician would not be inclined to log into a different system if the data is not integrated with their workflow either, he noted.

OST’s perspective is that great patient experiences are driven by great provider experiences in the workflow, supported by the technologies and platforms.

This looks like a platform on the bottom, a data layer that provides services to the platform, and a diversity of technologies and experiences in the middle suited to the individual uses cases and context that a patient is engaged in. From a patient standpoint, you have a common set of experiences and interaction patterns so that they recognize they are coming into a context. The challenge is in taking these capabilities of platform and scale and driving it into great patient experiences.

What Does Success Look Like?

Success in this realm is a partnership between IT and clinical providers, VanderMey said. Questions to consider are: How does the standard of care extend to leverage digital patient interactions?

Data is collected and put into the system through interactions of providers and patients, including information such as number of sessions initiated, number of sessions that failed or any performance issues encountered. In addition, data is collected from monitoring the technology.

We can leverage platforms that are in place; we can create better use of data; we can define the use cases that we want to achieve, and then we can target the technical remediation at the places of highest value.

OST offers an assessment and strategic engagement to determine where an organization is in its telehealth offering.

“If you are looking to create change in a complex system, you must organize around the customer outcome,” VanderMey said. From that, you drive the products and technologies. People will often drive to the technology or partner. Instead, the patient outcome is paramount.

A successful telehealth strategy will focus on use case rationalization; the patient and provider experience and developing the dashboards for the data-driven product management.

In summary, telehealth and digital health have to be integrated into healthcare more completely with exceptional customer service at the center of every decision.



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About the Author

Kiran Sood Patel is a content creator at OST with a strong background as a writer and communications professional. She previously served as managing editor of an online community journalism platform in Grand Rapids. And she brings years of additional newspaper reporting experience covering issues in education, business, technology, city government and more. She is passionate about diversity and appreciates sharing her background as an Indian American woman with others.