Nick: Good morning Jamey, and good afternoon for my part. Welcome. I’m looking forward to getting into this topic of Telehealth as it’s revolutionizing how we deliver health care to patients.
Jamey: Yeah, Nick, it’s a pleasure to be here with you, and clearly, we couldn’t be discussing a more relevant subject today in the health care world than telemedicine and where it’s been and where it’s going. So I’m looking forward to this. This one will be fun.
Nick: Everyone is talking about a new normal, and a pre-COVID and post-COVID world. There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has affected us physically, emotionally, and economically. People and businesses are trying to get back on their feet, but there is a lot of uncertainty about every industry’s future.
In our last webinar, we spoke about the staffing challenges in healthcare. Today, we are delighted to have Jamey Edwards, a Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Digital Influencer for 2020, and CEO of Cloudbreak Health to discuss another widely discussed topic, Telehealth. In healthcare, COVID19 has brought Telehealth to the forefront, and there are varied opinions in the healthcare community.
Today, let us hear Jamey’s views and insights about Telehealth as a new normal. Welcome to the webinar, Jamey! Thank you for joining us today.
Jamey: Thank you for having me, Nick. I’m looking forward to this.
Nick: Firstly congratulations on being selected as a HIMSS Digital Influencer and healthcare change-maker for 2020. So, could you tell us about your experiences as a member of this inaugural HIMSS20 program?
Jamey: Yeah, HIMSS is one of the largest organizations pushing progress forward in healthcare with technology and innovation. It is the largest gathering of people in the U.S. who are trying to address healthcare issues. I was honored to have been selected for this digital influencer program because the theme of it was all around being the change that you wanted to see in the healthcare system. So, the hashtag #bethechange was a key part of it. It’s a super interesting year from a COVID perspective to be a digital influencer for a conference when it went virtual and was suffering from many of the same issues that we as a broader population were suffering from.
But Michael Gaspar did an incredible job by bringing together people from all different walks of life in health care. You know, Rasu Shrestha, Geeta Nayyar, and Lygeia Ricciardi to people who represented the patient perspective, like Stacy Hurt and Jen Horonjeff and a few other folks as well. I learned from every single one of them, and it was fascinating.
It helped me think about the industry from a different perspective, and it was a wonderful experience still ongoing today. There’s some tremendous programming that HIMSS has put out on how to handle digital innovation and how to handle these transformation times when it comes to COVID. But it’s been interesting to see how all shifts to digital.
Nick: Exactly. Do you think COVID19 is a precursor to the current crisis? Health care is shrinking in terms of the availability of clinical facilities and physicians. A lot of institutions are merging. Do you feel the changes in technology that they have put the Telehealth up front and center for everybody’s view?
Jamey: Since the trends from the last few years, there have been more hospitals closing than opening. It has been harder to get an appointment with your primary care provider, creating an access issue. Telemedicine has been around for 30 plus years. From starting with the phone, we had Telemedicine 1.0. That’s ubiquitous technology right at everyone’s fingertips. But, COVID has accelerated. Healthcare has been lagging than other industries in digital transformation. COVID19 has accelerated from a digital transformation standpoint.
We’re a member of startup health. It is one of the largest technology incubators in the U.S., And we discuss what the different moonshots are. And one of the moonshots is increasing access. And that’s an area where Cloudbreak Health spends a lot of its time. It’s how do we resolve health care disparities? How do we put the healthcare industry at our patient’s fingertips and the people who need to use it? So that’s been a big push. And, yeah, it’s driven by, you know, telemedicine.
Nick: Another pain point for most providers is patient compliance appointment. No shows prescription management and healthcare management, which is very big, and adherence to treatment plans. If you ever have seen any improvement in patient compliance through the use of Telehealth.
Jamey: Yes. Telehealth is the digital front door of the healthcare system because it’s a convenient, cost-effective way to access health care. It’s part of a broader set of tools that the health care system surrounds patients within their continuum of care. So from a compliance and convenience perspective, telemedicine has made it easier to access health care and without the added factors of travel and parking and going to sit in the waiting room appointment. No shows are down, and patients can be seen from places where they’re intrinsically satisfied, their home, or their work. And most of us are walking around with a smartphone in our pockets that can help us, reminding us when to take our meds or walk us through really engaging patient content when usually we’d be sitting in a waiting room. Patient compliance is a sector where key measures are on their way to a big improvement.
Nick: Oh, yes. When you take a look at the certain mobile devices that can tell me my blood pressure, heartbeat, or rate, it’s just amazing. Now, the mobile devices have made Telehealth more synchronous two ways instead of just by directional or instead of async, rather.
Jamey: Yeah. Look, there’s a spot for both modalities and telemedicine, whether it’s async or synchronous. Great telemedicine platforms are going to integrate both. If you think about what asynchronous technologies look like, they allow you to time-shift care in almost the same way that advertising shifts how we watch T.V. You know, that doctor can take a look at a bunch of photos that the patient has sent them and say, ‘Now, I’d like to see you on this. Let’s schedule an appointment tomorrow.’ So it’s all about how we slot these digital tools into what is a better workflow for the entire health care system.
Nick: Does Telehealth’s integration with other systems, such as EHR or RPM, help in getting better insights into creating personalized care for patients as opposed to an in-person visit?
Jamey: Nick, I love this question because one of the key things that it focuses on is interoperability. Interoperability, at its core, is going to be the way to fix our healthcare system by getting a bunch of disparate systems. Collaborative care systems remain the Holy Grail when it comes to health care. And therefore, telemedicine platforms are really no different. The telemedicine platforms that these hospitals are looking at, they need to be thinking about interoperability and how they’re going to interface with the EHR and then how you’re going to bring in tools from the outside such as RPM tools, whether it’s a blood glucose glucometer, heart rate, blood pressure, etc. All about unified solutions and workflow.
Hospitals don’t want to maintain multiple point solutions because it’s a whole I.T. group to monitor. So they want to go with almost a one-stop-shop where they aren’t hopping from platform to platform. These health systems want to bring their entire health care system to bear around a patient.
We believe the market’s moving quickly towards enterprise solutions that integrate with the EMR and RPM tools with customized branding and customized workflows so that the technology molds itself to that specific health care system strategy. You don’t want to go with a system that commoditizes the doctors. They have worked hard to develop their work methodologies, and we’re paying for a share of their mind and their ability to use when they’re treating us and do something procedural. So, you want to find a platform for your strategy, and that doesn’t commoditize that doctor. At Cloudbreak, we try to surround a patient with their care team, not just from a single system. We would call it a precision care team, where you have a patient who has multiple comorbidities or chronic conditions, and a cardiologist from NYU, an ecologist from Mayo and a dietician and internist from another local health care system, is giving them the exact care that they need with the exact experts. And that for us is where the future of all this is going.
Nick: Exactly. Instead of waiting for a referral, with Telehealth, you’re able to get the experts more readily together.
Jamey: And I think the amazing thing about it, Nick, is when we take a look at the health care system, especially here in the U.S., I know we’re on a very international call. Some countries do this better than the United States. Yes, the tech is not the problem. It’s our health care system’s culture, and it’s changing basic human to your point and bringing people in. So a lot of the time it’s not the technology that’s the big issue.
Nick: Excellent. Agree with my own experience working in health care. Multiple EMR systems seemed an issue. But now I think the whole notion of an enterprise solution is being driven by digital transformation and needs to have interoperability. That’s why I think the cloud is also a supporter of Telehealth.
Jamey: Absolutely. And the cloud, as more and more migrates to the healthcare cloud, that interoperability issues should become easier to solve.
Nick: Exactly. Let me go off on a tangent and ask a question. The traditional communications have been an HL7 message. For Telehealth, maybe there is a new structured record using A.I. capability to collect the data and structure a new patient record?
Jamey: Yeah. I believe the patients should own the patient record, and then the patient should grant access to a provider and get things documented in their patient record. It’s still too hard for patients to get the information they want from physicians through healthcare informatics.
Nick: Absolutely. I heard one of your talks where you mentioned that Telehealth helps in measurement and hence better management of data. Could you elaborate on that?
Jamey: The cool thing about telemedicine is it’s a digital structure, and so it can be measured. We have the duration of calls we have. Who is on the call? We can even record the calls, layer A.I. over them, and gather key metadata to learn what happened during that call. We can measure the call qualitatively and understand differences in the opinions of two doctors.
Telemedicine is not just a video call. It’s not just an audio call. It’s A.I.; it’s chatbots. It’s remote patient monitoring and a whole slew of different modalities. So, when I went to business school, we always talked about Peter Drucker, the management guru. He always said what gets measured, gets managed.
So there are tons of big data out there. But how do we make it small again? How do we take these big pools of data, and make the information digestible to drive insight and then in action? We can measure what would be a cycle of continuous improvement.
Nick: Your company, Cloudbreak Health, has pioneered many industry firsts. The first company to bring a certified medical language interpreter into a video telemedicine call. One of the first companies to follow the patient from the home to the hospital and back again. Could you tell us a little about that?
When the physician, like Dr. Wellby TV series in the early 70s, would visit your home. Yeah, it almost sounds like you’ve taken it back to that time, but in a digital aspect.
Jamey: In the next 20-30 years, everyone’s going to have digital health tools in their home. They’re going to be ubiquitous. And when you call your doctor, it’s going to be a strap on this armband that measures your vitals and does everything you want. They will be doing a lot of things remotely, like more procedures.
Innovation for us is a key part, so we take a lot of pride in pushing the industry forward from thought leadership and a service-level standpoint. And we’re never really satisfied with sitting on our laurels because the industry is moving so fast that if you do that, you’re going to become irrelevant pretty quickly. So, we strive to help address health care disparities and increase access to our health.
COVID helped us accelerate our product roadmap. It allowed us to collaborate with our partners and solve their issues. Our mission as a business is to humanize health care and restore the joy of calling back to healthcare providers, to make their work meaningful.
During COVID, we ended up building a new Free app called TeleQuarantine – the first health quarantine app. It was to protect frontline healthcare workers, lower their risk of contagion, and reduce their use of PPE as it is a scarce resource. Our language services platform allows us to create a room into a connected care room, and doctors can virtually see the patient from outside the room. This solved the problem of patient isolation. The patient could call their home a family member too. So we turned innovations into the market in a concise period through a virtual visit platform. We accelerated that time frame to offer a whole suite of services that followed the patient from home to the hospital and back again on a single platform.
Nick: Telehealth has brought back a personal connection. Instead of you driving down to the clinical institution, you’re in a waiting room with a one-to-one connection. As a consumer Telehealth, getting advice from a physician is like us having a coffee.
Jamey: The studies have shown that people are more honest with an A.I. than they are with a doctor in the room. We human beings have this fear of judgment; we’re afraid of what that reaction looks like. But that little bit of telemedicine distance makes you more honest with the provider because you’re not worried about seeing them at your local supermarket. You can still have a very intimate experience on the screen. Telemedicine, in certain instances like the gold standard now in health care, doesn’t have to be that in-person visit. The gold standard is the appropriate modality for the appropriate condition of that patient. So in certain instances, it’s the in person, but in others, it’s telemedicine.
Nick: Yeah. It’s also changing how in America we view a person as a patient rather than a customer. So I think Telehealth has promoted more of a customer relationship management perspective. In the year 2000, when I was with Lockheed Martin, I was basically in charge of deploying a CRM for national health care service in Britain. And I realized then, in America, we don’t see patients as customers. So I think Telehealth has changed that.
Jamey: Yeah. There is the consumerization of healthcare, and people are struggling with this patient Vs. Consumer definition. Now it’s getting easier for the patient to be more engaged in their care and control it. As a result, they vote with their fingers instead of their feet while selecting their healthcare provider. Patient experience is a key part of what health systems need to focus on delivering.
Nick: So, reports show that In 2019, only 1 in 10 Americans used a telehealth service. While telemedicine has been around for over 20 years now, what were the reasons you think providers and patients stayed away from Telehealth until the current pandemic?
Jamey: Great question, Nick. Our healthcare system has been built and structured around this in-person visit. Hospitals and reimbursement are built around the in-person visit. We haven’t built a digital-first health care system. It was designed from the ground up to be how we get people into beds or offices. Our health care system faces aren’t a certain technology, not existing. It’s centered around the health system’s culture and its structure that won’t allow it to be deployed due to the competitive environment regulations or simply what we’re used to us, humans. The medical education system is training doctors for the in-person visit and not trained around Telehealth at all. There needs to be a lot of change management that needs to occur to get people to say, hey, instead of you coming in, why don’t we do this visit over Telemed?
Now, the cool thing is, I think doctors and patients both have built a ton of muscle memory. Because of COVID, with how convenient digital health platforms can be, how it can improve the practice, from that standpoint again, catalyzes the digital health transformation that we see, and that’s underway. But we need to still think about what we’re going to do from a healthcare payment system standpoint. And the one example that I bring up that resonates with people is if you take a look at Kaiser here in our country or the V.A. Health systems, which are closed-end systems, both of those systems do north of 50 percent of their visits over telemedicine.
Nick: So I would say that the V.A., it’s been a champion.
Jamey: Yes. Super innovative with the V.A. and what Kaiser is doing. But it tells us that when you can control the patient experience from end to end and you offer them tools that make their lives easier, they’re going to opt for those tools instead of that in-person visit. And that health system thereby is going to save money, increase coordination, increase quality, and do all those different types of things.
Nick: To establish Telehealth as a new normal, what kind of HIPAA-compliant cloud software and infrastructure will hospitals and providers need to switch to telehealth consultations?
Jamey: Absolutely. If you’re a health system today or a hospital, and you’re not thinking about your digital front door and how you’re going to integrate digital health tools, well, patients can vote. You will lose market share to those thinking about these technologies and how they can make patients’ and providers’ lives better. A lot of hospitals wanted to offer these telemedicine services during COVID. Their CDSS were making platform decisions that were Mr. Right instead of Mr. Right or Mrs. Right now instead of Mrs. Right. And I think we’re going to see the second wave of platform decisions where people say the platform that we selected isn’t interoperable, doesn’t integrate language services, doesn’t do X, Y, and Z and so we want to be with a provider that can do all of those different things. So I think what we’re going to see is the evolution of the platform, not the point solution, that brings the full weight of a healthcare system to bear around their patient. And as a result, interoperability will be key. Think about a solution that can mold to your workflows, not commoditize you as a healthcare system, and that becomes your platform as a health care system. Not a platform you bought from someone else but became yours and part of a strategic advantage in the market.
Jamey: Absolutely. We’re seeing many folks who have had systems in place for five, 10, 15 years that they’re finally getting around to retiring because the new technologies are simply that much of a leap forward in terms of what the capabilities of the platforms are.
Nick: Yeah, and going back to the patient feeling that they have or the customer instead feeling they have more skin in the game, there’s this personal connection. Do you feel that it helps establish a better means of communication with Telehealth and give the customer/patient the feeling that the medical providers establish an emotional context with the patient?
Jamey: The answer is, yeah. The answer is that definitely, right. Communication is the number one diagnostic tool a clinician has and the number one empowerment tool that a patient has. Communication can be improved and be done virtually.
And when we take a look at how we’re training people these days, we almost refer to it as digital empathy. And in the telemedicine space, you’ll hear it referred to as website manners. There’s a lot of different skills that we need to train our clinical teams to convey that empathy over the video, over the phone, whatever it might be. And that’s a new ballgame for a lot of clinicians that are out there.
Now, do we not understand that you can feel the love of your kids over FaceTime even though you’re not geographically in the same place? Of course, you can. We spoke about the fact that distance sometimes creates honesty and less fear of judgment. And we know that like different telemedicine services, like Telehospice, companies like Resolution Care that are out there are helping today and that solutions like our TeleQuarantine solution help reduce the feelings of patient isolation. So we know that the technology can enable a better emotional experience, but the person on the other end of that camera must convey that appropriate emotion.
Nick: Exactly. So, Jamey, you’ve been giving us a set of great insights. So, again, thank you for doing this. Next question, statistics clearly show that the pandemic has affected African Americans, Hispanic Americans more. Health care professionals attribute this high ratio to a very fragmented and unequal healthcare system. Do you agree? And how do you think Telehealth can help reduce this disparity?
Jamey: Yeah, well, this is an area where it’s a point of focus for our company. We started off bringing language interpreters to the point of care and trying to resolve that healthcare disparity and make sure that these LEP and deaf patients could receive the same standard of care as their English-speaking counterparts. And it’s that solution that launched us into 1500 hospitals across the country on over 10000 video endpoints doing 85000 encounters a month. So this is near and dear to our hearts.
We’re living in a situation where, unfortunately, many of the populations you mentioned are profoundly affected by what we call social determinants of health. And they’re living in environments in close quarters without access to preventive care or easy social distancing. And as a result, they have a different effect when it comes to things like COVID.
And these are issues that we could solve using telemedicine by bringing resources into these communities that allow them to address their needs. That could be bringing dietitians in. It could be bringing in more urgent care and primary care via Telemed, giving access to these apps for these communities. But definitely, there are still health care disparities.
Interestingly, some articles have been written on the fact that if we have disparities in our society and when we launch a digital platform, those same biases and those same issues are going to be reflected in that digital platform instead of resolving them. And so we are very conscious of the fact that if you have a bias and that bias makes its way into the A.I. that’s analyzing the data because the data was inherently biased, the A.I. is going to be biased-
Nick: And we’ll pick it up automatically.
Jamey: It will, automatically or automagically, as some people say. So it’s one of these situations where we’re very conscious of that. And we make sure that when we’re designing products, I.T. systems, and solutions to go into the market, we compensate for any of those biases as they exist.
Nick: The only juggernaut I see potentially is that if we do go with a national healthcare model, I think technology would be a good driver to drive them, but the question is, how fast do the federal government move and state?
Jamey: Yeah, I think one of the great things that have happened throughout COVID is that we’ve knocked out many barriers to telemedicine. We’ve knocked down medical licensing, doctors being able to practice across state lines. We have attacked some of the reimbursement issues and territory states and those types of things. Now, not all that stuff is permanent. Some of it needs to be made permanent because telemedicine can load balance the health care system.
So in communities with shortages of doctors, we can go to communities that have significant doctor populations and then beam those doctors in. We can load balance the health care system in that way, and I think that’s where things need to be going. We need to continually be looking at how we can drive forward in resolving these disparities.
Nick: Exactly. So the last question, Jamey, the security of patient health information, PHI, has always been a challenge in healthcare. The recent breach of a telehealth application, Babylon Health, has raised a host of privacy concerns about telehealth apps. Has this impacted from a negative perspective the adoption of telehealth applications?
Jamey: As technology has started to permeate our society, we have traded privacy for convenience every day in a digitally connected world. I’ve had my credit card stolen several times over the last few years. It’s simply become a part of life. And thank God that credit card companies and healthcare systems and whoever else is handling this data, they have ways to help you protect your identity and whatever it might be.
I still think PHI needs to rest under the patient’s control and not in the hands of the hospital or an EMR company. I’d love to see a situation where patients grant access to their medical records to those treating them instead of having such a difficult time accessing their data.
And we should understand that sometimes this information is going to get hacked. Healthcare is one of the number one venues for hackers these days. People are attacking every healthcare system server every day trying to get in and get information. So we have all the right approaches to stem that from happening, but it’s not going to stop. And hackers will continue to get creative when the fact of the matter is that a medical record is worth ten times what a Social Security Number is worth on the black market.
So I don’t think it’s going to be a primary reason to stand in the way of Telemed. I just think it’s something that we need to take into account. Always be looking to enhance security, always be looking to protect this information. But I don’t think it’s a primary driver like reimbursement, convenience, and broader cultural change.
Nick: Let me just ask you just one quick question. We know that Telehealth is enabling to expedite care, and to level set in terms of having enough physicians and so on. What about related or supportive types of areas like the supply chain of medical equipment, of working with pharmaceutical firms to expedite- for instance, if we came out with a vaccine that was approved and tested through trials for COVID 19. What’s the impact telehealth would have in moving these two areas closer to patients?
Jamey: Great questions. Are there virtual clinical trials that can be done? There are a lot of companies that are working in that space right now. From a supply chain perspective, we need to tweak the supply chain’s focus a bit, away from cost savings and creating value as we move towards a value-based healthcare system. How can supply chain help in bringing in vendors and partners to hospitals that help create value and not just save costs?
A difficult thing to do during COVID when health system volumes are down overall. So I think it’s going to take some time. But to me, that’s a big mindset change that should happen. But telemedicine, we’re looking forward to the day where it’s not telemedicine or Telehealth anymore. It’s just health care and medicine. When someone uses a stethoscope, do you ever hear someone say, hey, you’re practicing stethoscope medicine right now? No, it’s part of the doctor’s visit.
So we’re just hoping that people understand that all of these digital tools are just really the digital transformation of healthcare and that they are going to become integrated into the daily practice of care and into the daily practice of how people surround care. Can they be used for training nurses? Can they be used for a coaching staff that’s on the front lines? All these same technologies can be used and integrated for that. And the more integrated healthcare they follow, the more value they’re going to give.
Nick: To me, they would be nothing but toolsets that a doctor would put in the old days in his medical bag. Or, like the mechanic at Firestone, I had my tool kit; I’m just saying I need more tools to help me. Jamey, this has been an eye-opener. So again, thank you. So let’s switch to the question and answers.
Our first question is from Jonathan Weisman, patient-centered health care for data access, and control, are we still in the focus of making the patient-centered health care important, not just provider controlled, patient-controlled, have a place in the market speaking to combining all data across personal and EMR access via a blockchain and A.I. with Machine Learning for creating patient value. So what are your thoughts?
Jamey: Yeah, I think the patient should be in control of their data. I think what we need to have is stakeholder centered health care, and that takes into account what the patient needs, take into account how the provider wants to provide the care. But the data to me should reside with the patient and blockchain and A.I., and again, several companies working on this are out there, but no one’s solved it yet. And it’s going to take not just companies with technology that work; it’s going to take breaking down barriers between healthcare systems, saying, you know what, this data is not mine. And being OK with saying that belongs to- It’s a cultural and organizational barrier more than it’s a technology issue right now.
Nick: Excellent, excellent answer. The next question comes from Jason. How are HIMSS and other telehealth technical professionals looking at addressing and promoting Telehealth from the field based on first responder and EMS response to both emergencies and in connection with community peer medicine programs?
Jamey: So it’s interesting. We’re working on a project right now that is taking our iPads and putting them into ambulances so that those paramedic teams can be better supported while they’re in the field. And a lot of it is not just supporting those paramedics, but it’s also supporting the patients the paramedics see so that the paramedic doesn’t need to bring them back to the hospital.
Maybe some things could be done in the field under doctor’s supervision where that paramedic could then treat the patient, and they’ve done almost like a house call. But usually, these are a little higher level acuity types of things that paramedics are dealing with, almost like a house call. And then the paramedic can go on to their next visit instead of going to the hospital and suffering from what we call Wall Times, where the paramedics sit there while they’re waiting for their patient to be seen. So there are programs that are looking at solving this type of issue.
I like to also look at whether there’s a continuum of care that hits us not only with first responders, not only at home but in schools, in workplaces. And so how can you extend and use telemedicine to attack all of these different geographic areas and play space issues to resolve them and tie them into a broader continuum of care?
But another thing that’s been happening is there’s a program out there to enable telemedicine with great cellular broadband called FirstNet, which is, I believe, an AT&T initiative that’s out there. There are things like that and infrastructure that’s being put in place so that these first responders can get better support from the base station or M.D. teams.
Nick: Good, good points. The next question comes from Brian Smith. Do you believe the current popularity of Telehealth is due to the pandemic? Will health practitioners and patients prefer Telehealth over in-person care post-COVID-19?
Jamey: What we saw with COVID-19 was telehealth visits initially spiked, and then as the healthcare system started to open up, telehealth visits have gone down a little bit. People are like, oh, my God, the decline of Telehealth. Well, it’s not that, folks. What it is, is us adapting to whatever this new normal looks like. And I used to run an E.R. business, and those E.R. companies are taking a much more structural approach now where they’re saying, maybe we need to integrate digital into what we’re doing so that these patients that don’t want to come into the E.R., we still have a mechanism to serve them.
And people think that might be 20 or 30 percent of the visits that used to be in-hospital may not come back. So as we look at that, it’s again a question of load balancing the health care system and putting patients matching cost to acuity and giving patients the appropriate care for whatever their condition might be. And Telehealth can be that first front door before escalating to that in-person visit. And so I think it’s here to stay and we’re just going to continue to see it grow. And at some point, we’ll be back in whatever the new normal is, past these COVID peak levels into a new normalized digitally-enabled health care system.
Nick: The next question is from Richard. What do you know about forward deploying hardware to support effective telehealth visits and mhealth providers, incorporating applications to support telehealth visits?
Jamey: Yeah, so there’s a lot of different models that people have been using here. And one was during COVID monitoring. You have a patient, they’ve tested COVID positive, but they don’t need to be in the hospital. So you want to send them home. How do you enable them with monitoring tools? Do you send them to the home? Do you support how they work with videos and a call center? A lot of hospital management systems have opted for the we-have-your-telemedicine RPM tools right here. We’re going to help you pair them with the phone and then go home from that to deploy them that way. So the industry is still figuring it out, what the best methodology is.
There have been a lot of rapid innovations that have happened there. There are companies out there like Vivify Health, who was acquired last year who get how to do this well at scale. And so I think a lot of it’s going to be mainly people’s packages. For me, a lot of it is also about making these devices a little more engaging, like can we make it cool to be healthy so that people want to track this stuff and that these become somewhat lifestyle devices and being healthy becomes a lifestyle choice? To that degree, I think that we’re going to be seeing many more of this and mobile providers incorporating apps to support the Televisits. I mean, that’s happening today. You can download hundreds of different telemedicine apps to help support these visits.
Nick: Exactly. These physical devices do not make it where you need a degree in engineering, but they are user-friendly.
Jamey: So as a guy wearing an aura ring and a loop on my wrist and trying to figure out which one is better and which one tracks information differently, I’m kind of like the Chuck Yeager of some of these health IoT devices. I just try them out to see which ones I like.
Nick: Yeah, this one from John says, how do you distinguish between the implementation and adoption of Telehealth? How exactly would you define the two? And how do you leverage unstructured data?
Jamey: All right, so implementation versus adoption. So quite simply, it’s like having several hospitals contracted versus several hospitals using the platform. patient engagement rates can measure adoption.
One of the problems I think that telemedicine had before was that Telehealth had been implemented, but not adopted. And that’s because you had, one of the things we used to say about home visits was that, well, God, why are we paying for these telehealth platforms? Only one percent of our member base is using them. When you’re talking to a payer, and they were using American Well, MDLIVE, why wasn’t utilization higher before? So you had implementation, but not a lot of adoption.
I think some of that adoption has been solved via COVID and again, people building muscle memory with how these platforms work. If you speak to companies like American Well and MDLIVE, I believe their usage went through the roof. So, a lot of credit and kudos to them on being able to scale with demand in what was modern times. So that’s really how I would run through and define it.
I think we’re going to see much more adoption. Most people don’t realize that telemedicine has been used in the hospital market forever with Telestroke, Telepsychiatry, etc. It saves hundreds of thousands, if not millions of lives a year, because of Telestroke and those types of applications. So, I think we’re going to start seeing more implementation, but also more adoption.
Nick: So one last question we have from Desmond Brown. Mobile medical imaging provides x rays, ultrasounds, and cardiac studies at your location, nursing facilities, and private homes. So how would Telehealth support those areas?
Jamey: So, it’s funny, radiology, they’re kind of the O.G.s of the telemedicine world. They were some of the first people to use telemedicine to do subspecialty reads and do night calls. You had NightHawk, a firm in Australia, that was reading films in the United States overnight due to the time change and doing back-up.
You know, radiologists soon discovered that if they were going to grow their practices, subspecialty reads were a key part of that. So how do you do that? You do that with file sharing, image sharing, and running it through like that. A lot of radiology companies and their backbone are telemedicine, and most people don’t realize that that’s the way it is—a lot of respect for what radiology has done to push the telemedicine industry forward from that perspective.
And with integrations like Box.com and Dropbox and a few other people, they have Dieckhoff readers built into them so that patients can see their films at home and do those types of things. I think that that proliferation of that is only going to get bigger.
Nick: Jamey, it’s been a great hour, and let me just say that for the questions we could not get to, please contact OSP to get your questions answered. Again, Jamey, thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to give us great insights, mainly driven from the innovation of your technology. So I hope all of you that attended this webinar found useful information. Be sure to visit osplabs.com to learn more about the healthcare industry, and you can subscribe to receive updates on our upcoming webinars as well. But again, I’d like to thank everybody and, most importantly, Jamey, thank you. I’ve learned a lot from you. Thank you for the honor.
Jamey: Thank you for the opportunity. We’ve had a far-ranging discussion. I could talk about this for five hours. So if anyone wants to engage with me afterward, you can do that at @JameyEdwards on Twitter or hook up with me on LinkedIn. And I’m happy to spend more time answering questions as well.
Nick: Great. Well, everybody, again, thank you for your time. And Jamey, most importantly, thank you for your time. Take care.
Jamey: All right, everyone, stay safe out there.