Written by Jennifer Humbert, Head of Operations
The American Telemedicine Association's Annual Conference and Expo (ATA2022) - which took place early this month - showcased a mix of practical applications of telehealth and hands-on workshops, with the main themes and discussions focused on “now what?” thinking.
Many health systems and virtual healthcare organizations have been recalibrating their digital strategies - progressively moving to design virtual care models that meet ongoing consumer expectations and solve the strategic challenges of making work easier, more efficient, and more cost-effective. When narrowly thinking about a 1:1 conversion of in-person to virtual visits, they have struggled to show large cost reductions and reduced work time. This has led many to think, “Now what?”
To start solving for these strategic pain points, organizations must employ virtual care models inclusive of both synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (store-and-forward) tools. Therefore, siloed virtual strategies/static telehealth visits must:
- Evolve to be inclusive of all digital communication channels; and
- Support a corresponding care pathway.
Only then can organizations truly create lasting impact.
Demystifying the digital terminology
At the heart of this concept is to demystify the digital terminology and understand the key differences between telemedicine, remote patient monitoring (RPM), and hospital-at-home (HaH). Specifically, how platforms//technical channels may vary in supporting these efforts.
One of the biggest challenges in decoding this terminology is to shift the thought that these programs are individualized/siloed in nature to understanding that these tools can be activated by providers to ensure the appropriate level of care at the right time. While the technical platforms and partners used to deliver telemedicine, RPM, and HaH tools differ, they must come together to provide one cohesive care pathway.
Telemedicine is a tool used to activate synchronous and asynchronous visits to provide evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment to patients. Many telemedicine and video platforms do this exceedingly well, and advancements have made it easy to activate this tool. The secret sauce is to improve access, enhance the reach of care, reduce costs, support consumer expectations, and boost engagement.
Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)
RPM provides insight and connection to patients in-between telemedicine and/or in-person visits, getting to the heart of proactive care. Many platforms do this well and provide an AI-driven approach to proactively monitor vulnerable populations in need of ongoing support to achieve/maintain health. However, few platforms utilize a truly personalized engagement strategy.
RPM use cases - many times overlooked - should aim to achieve closer monitoring of vulnerable populations or areas where there is vast variation in care or cost. In these cases, an ongoing connection would be impossible without digital tools and an engagement strategy that facilitates patients’ interactions and participation.
A married model of telemedicine, RPM, and in-person support, HaH recreates all aspects of traditional hospital care at-home. Care in the hospital is created through an ecosystem of different platforms and services, and this holds true when translating care to the home space. To efficiently operationalize, HaH requires 1) omni-channel and partner thinking and 2) a synergistic relationship between virtual/digital tools and in-person support.
Utilize an omni-channel approach
The one foundational element that remains constant throughout telemedicine, RPM, and HaH? A patient engagement strategy is vital. When creating virtual care models, collaboration and an understanding of how to best bring telemedicine and RPM programs together is essential to its success.
Want to learn more about Veta Health’s omni-channel approach to remote care? Our personalized care pathways are tailored to individual patients, allowing our partners to implement robust remote care programs. Click here to set up some time to chat.