Idea Chain: Telemedicine’s Next Frontier

We wanted to know . . . What is the next frontier in telemedicine?

We asked: Yulun Wang

“To date, telemedicine has been about using technology to connect a remote clinician to a patient such that they can interact in a manner where high-quality healthcare can be rendered. In the future, we will be able to build on this telemedicine technology to enhance the interaction capabilities of the clinician, improving care and driving down costs.

Clinician/patient interactions can and will be augmented with sensor technologies improving a clinician’s senses. These interactions will be seamlessly analyzed and recorded, and new data analytics and A.I. technologies can be incorporated into the pathway to improve immediate diagnosis—and can be consolidated and analyzed for improving best practices.

Furthermore, they can be automatically segmented for efficient record-keeping and billing purposes. This will result in consistently improving healthcare quality while continuing to lower costs.”

Yulun Wang is the founder, CIO, and chairman for InTouch Health. Read more on how he’s advancing telemedicine here.

Yulun asked: John Glaser

“Telemedicine has been a fixture in the healthcare landscape for decades. However, with a few exceptions, telemedicine has not become an integral part of care delivery. That is about to change. The next frontier centers on telemedicine at scale.

Barriers to telemedicine—e.g., a lack of insurance coverage—are rapidly falling away. Consumer expectations, advances in personal devices, and value-based reimbursement are pushing telemedicine forward. Adoption of telemedicine at scale—e.g., telemedicine is used for 30 percent of all visits—is not trivial.

Work flow must be revamped. Clinicians and patients must become comfortable with routine use. EHR integration must be facile.

The next frontier of telemedicine is the broad incorporation of the technology into the management of health.”

John Glaser is the senior VP of population health and global strategy for Cerner.

John asked: Dr. Robert Wah

“As a physician, I see telemedicine and tech-nology, in general, as tools to help me take better care of patients providing better information for better decisions. They add to my set of better surgical instruments, imaging, and medications. The doctor-patient relationship and interaction will always be central and essential in healthcare. With advances in technology, we are expanding that interaction beyond in-person venues.

Nearly 150 years ago, the telephone was added to our interactions with each other. Only recently, we have expanded past relying on two copper wires to interact, and this has led to massive changes and opportunities for human interaction—adding to, but never eliminating, in-person interaction.

In my experience, it is not about technology, but about people, work flow, and business processes. The next frontier is telemedicine being an essential component for doctors and patients to regain and maintain health.”

Dr. Robert Wah is the chief medical officer for Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) and former president of the American Medical Association.