It was a busy three days at the ATA 2022 Annual Conference and Expo, meeting leaders across the healthcare sector and checking out the latest technology and industry trends. With more than 100 educational sessions, research-based presentations, and innovative exhibitions, the bustling expo explored the virtual health landscape and examined the necessity to establish telehealth as a permanent modality in care delivery.
Tryten was proud to sponsor, exhibit our wide range of flexible and versatile mobility solutions, and contribute to solving telehealth challenges at the world’s largest telehealth innovation event. If you didn’t get to attend, read on to learn three key takeaways from insightful discussions from top innovators and implementers in the digital health, virtual health, and telehealth space.
The COVID-19 pandemic awakened the full potential of virtual care at scale, opening doors to reinventing the model of care moving forward. However, in the fireside chat, How New Hybrid Care Models Help Reinvent the Health Care System, Sreekanth Chaguturu, CMO at CVS Health, remarked, “we either observe or intervene in healthcare, but there is only so much we can do virtually.” Kristi Henderson, CEO at Optum Everycare, outlined the importance of integrating virtual and physical care. “A virtual-first plan provides a single, digital entry point to medical services that begin virtually.” But, to provide the totality of care that patients need, there must be an integration of physical and virtual care, AKA hybrid care.
New programs are emerging to use digital health tools to help healthcare providers reach, engage, and treat patients in ways that cannot be achieved through irregular in-person visits. This new hybrid model of care, supported by digital health plans, medical-grade wearables, and in-clinic services results in the following:
- Improved patient and provider experiences
- Increased workflow efficiencies
- Reduced staffing shortages
- Minimized health inequalities
By helping people seamlessly move between virtual and in-person care, hybrid approaches help achieve the quadruple aim:
- Enhance the patient experience
- Improve population health
- Reduce costs
- Improve the work-life of health care providers
But actualizing hybrid care is complicated. Kristi mentions, “we can complete video visits and remote monitoring, but there is still a lot to be done to operationalize and reduce the friction for both clinicians and patients to provide hybrid care.” Health systems must increase the interoperability between virtual and physical care by creating seamless scheduling systems and navigation tools to simplify the process and decide whether to schedule a virtual or in-person visit based on patient preferences.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, both physicians and patients embraced telehealth. According to FAIR Health, the percentage of telehealth claims from May 2019 to February 2022 grew 24-fold. An HHS report found that 43% of Medicare patients opted to use a telehealth service during the first year of the pandemic. Although the use of telehealth has decreased compared to the initial surge, it is still elevated from the pre-pandemic area and has significantly improved access to remote specialists in underserved regions.
In the presentation, Now What? Creating Opportunity in a Time of Uncertainty, Joe Kvedar, ATA Chair of the Board and professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School, revealed that telemedicine has come a long way, and patients now know exactly what telehealth is. “During the initial days, healthcare providers and systems were skeptical of using telemedicine to provide care, but patients were always enthusiastic.” According to MedPAC, Medicare recipients are 90% satisfied with telehealth, and 67% are extremely satisfied.
In the oral research presentation, Modalities of Telemedicine During the COVID-19 Era: Do Patient Expectations Vary Between How They Receive Care, Anders Carlson, MD at Zipnosis, mentioned a study that revealed that patients valued the cost-efficiency, convenience, and accessibility of connecting to remote practitioners. Additionally, audio-only visits met about 99% of patient needs.
The Zipnosis telemedicine platform includes several options for asynchronous and synchronous hybrid care delivery and routinely surveys patients after visits about their expectations. The survey results found that the option “Better than expected” was chosen frequently across different topics such as quick provider response time, interaction with provider, and ease of use.
Even though most healthcare providers and patients were new to virtual visits at the start of the pandemic, patients have come to appreciate them. As Jonathon R. Slotkin and colleagues at Geisinger wrote in the Harvard Business Review, “A shift in patients’ perception of telehealth has perhaps been the most important in increasing adoption, with attitudes moving from, This provider must not think my problem is important since they are seeing me via telehealth, to This provider cares about me and therefore is seeing me via telehealth.”
As virtual visits have become essential methods in care delivery, there’s a growing need for new technologies to support clinicians in their day-to-day care delivery. Healthcare organizations are introducing new and innovative digital tools and platforms to capture data, provide personalized insights, and streamline workflow processes. Digital tools are becoming smaller and more intelligent. This year the ATA 2022 conference saw a myriad of new advances in mobile technologies, including smart devices, sensors, and wearables. Telehealth vendors such as BlueJeans by Verizon, TytoCare, Withings Health Solutions, ConnectAmerica, Oro Health, and other companies unveiled new products and shared data to show their organization’s progress focused on the ATA 202 theme: Now What? Creating Opportunity in a Time of Uncertainty.
One trend picking upstream is remote monitoring. Withings Health Solutions released the start of the Withings RPM (Remote Patient Monitoring), their latest remote patient monitoring service, to simplify the onboarding process, manage data from multiple patients, and maintain consistent communication with patients. Remote patient monitoring programs are gaining broader acceptance, and healthcare organizations are launching these programs faster to extend care to the home and improve real-time care management.
Another interesting application was BlueJeans by Verizon’s telehealth webRTC service that can work with external applications without taking additional steps to switch between interfaces. The application intends to provide a more personalized experience and enhance communication between patients and providers. Similarly, TytoCare displayed its innovative medical exam kit to conduct guided exams with your remote practitioner. Their built-in guidance technology lets you conduct clinic-like exams and send the data to remote providers for diagnosis and treatment.
Caregility also provided information regarding its Inpatient Virtual Engagement (IVE) solution, promoting a hybrid model of care, using a cloud-based administration portal to improve access to care and improve coordination between providers and patients. Furthermore, the company also announced its plans to collaborate with CDW Healthcare to broaden the company’s virtual care capabilities.
In Tryten’s booth, we showcased our flexible and versatile Nova Pro and Nova Connect mobile carts for EHR (Electronic Health Records) workstations, VRI (Video Remote Interpretation), virtual rounding, and telehealth. The flexibility of the Nova Pro cart line supports all the technology for several organizations including, Cisco, TytoCare, Eko, IDS Solutions, Poly, Jabra, Zoom, Cybernet, Caregility and Propio Language Services. Tryten’s price points help our partners scale their programs, and our wide range of mobility solutions help them protect their investments while prolonging the lives of their peripherals by attaching them to a secure mobile solution. As described by our VP of Sales, Brian Douglas, our carts are “workhorses at a great price point designed to be used in many modalities.”
This year’s ATA 2022 conference tackled the toughest telehealth challenges and revealed the latest strategies and digital tools to implement best practices to transform the way we deliver care. We had the opportunity to learn from thought leaders, meet healthcare providers and clinicians, and reconnect with old friends to cement the gains made to establish telehealth as a care modality in healthcare. Despite the challenges and varying degrees of adoption, telehealth has the potential to improve public health, improve care access to rural communities, and relieve pressure on healthcare communities.