The American Telemedicine Association’s 2020 Virtual Conference and Expo has wrapped, and we’ve had time to process some takeaways. Before we get into our reflections, a big thank you must go out to the wonderful team at ATA.
Switching gears and pulling together an event like this with all that is going on in the backdrop is certainly a feat. In a time when the message of telemedicine could not be more pertinent, the ATA came through with an informative and engaging virtual event. It is a true testament to their dedication, mission, and years of work towards bringing virtual care to the forefront.
This year’s conference was indeed a timely gathering, and we came away with plenty of new and exciting perspectives into telehealth as both a movement and a critical population health need. Here are a few key messages that stood out:
1. Telehealth’s time is now.
It comes as no surprise that COVID-19 made an appearance in almost every conversation. Considering all that is still unknown, the pandemic has provided a clear need to heighten and accelerate the telehealth conversation. This message of urgency should resonate for employers, policy makers, and members of the healthcare industry.
The progress made in these past few months eclipses that of the years leading up to this point. Kelly Kernan from Amwell shared that they saw more visits on their platform in two months than the entirety of 2019. Quick action by regulatory bodies to loosen restrictions on telehealth were vital in helping battle COVID-19. The same regulatory adjustments also opened the door to important virtual care conversations.
Moving forward it is necessary that telehealth become an integrated piece of the larger population health management puzzle, leveraging the unique benefits it offers to various population segments.
2. Telehealth can and should be for everyone.
Several sessions discussed the benefits of telehealth for distinct segments of the population, from the elderly to those suffering from chronic conditions and mental illness to the underserved. In “Enhancing the Consumer e-Visit Experience,” Halle Showalter Salas of Premera Blue Cross noted that as telemedicine becomes more mainstream, it creates a care ecosystem with the ability to serve everyone—”much of what applies to serving [rural, underserved populations] applies to serving people right next door as well.”
Telehealth will have different meanings to all of these groups and communicating the value of telehealth to such a diverse population will be an ongoing challenge. When considering how to best connect the population to the value of virtual care, it is critical to account for the barriers and biases that prevent them from engaging with telehealth.
Lirio has taken a unique approach in this area with our behavior change AI programs. As telehealth gains speed, we are equipped to help organizations jump into action with the right messaging for their communities across various settings and applications.
3. Telehealth adoption needs standardization and smart implementation.
The sheer range of terminology—telehealth, telemedicine, virtual care, televisits—highlights the fact that there is no one-size-fits all approach to delivering care in a virtual setting. The progress made is fantastic, but to sustain this motion, standardization will need to follow.
This is more than simply the modes, but the patient and user experience as well. Chief Experience Officer Adrienne Boissy spoke about Cleveland Clinic’s focus on making everything easier for the patient, resulting in a single digital door for the enterprise that reduces complexity and increases access.
Considering all the built momentum, how will the industry go about applying telehealth to the most important areas in the most relevant and accessible ways? Add to the discussion ensuring patient safety, maintaining compliance, and securing reimbursements, and implementation begins to look like the next big hurdle. As with most healthcare delivery innovations, the end goal is to make telehealth a safe and accepted care modality that follows the expanding consumer healthcare model.
4. Telehealth is the future of value-based healthcare consumerism.
The new normal is a phrase thrown around quite often lately, but how prevalent is the phrase a better normal? ATA2020 focused on what we can do – in partnership with providers, policy makers, employers, payers, healthcare consumers, and other stakeholders – to lay the groundwork for the best normal possible.
Telehealth has shown its potential to be a key transition point between the digital healthcare and consumer ecosystems. As Kate Brown and Krista Kelly of Mercer shared the employer perspective, they highlighted the emphasis on convenient care options even prior to COVID. While these early efforts often suffered from low adoption, new research shows 94% of consumers now willing to try at least one digital tool.
A number of sessions spoke about what comes next in this transformative time. It is clear that telehealth is at a tipping point; how we move forward from here has major implications on the future success of virtual care.
Lirio Engages Healthcare Consumers in Telehealth
Lirio is partnering with health systems and employers to effectively re-engage communities with their care through essential access points like telehealth. Using behavior change AI, we overcome barriers to people getting the care they need. Working together, we can move people towards all available options for achieving optimal health and living their best life.
The momentum telehealth has gained in such a short amount of time is truly exciting. However, there is still a good deal of work to be done from both the provider and the consumer sides before telehealth is a fully-integrated care modality. Lirio works with organizations like ATA to learn how we can continue to evolve our programs for providers, employers and the communities we serve.
We look forward to what comes next for telehealth and the role it will play in the COVID-19 healthcare landscape. If you’re interested in how you can better leverage virtual care to promote increased access and meet people where they are, let’s keep the conversation going.
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