At the core of healthcare is human connection. Whether in-person or virtual, mental or physical, chronic or urgent, good health guidance is facilitated by the trust and personal attention between patient and provider. And although it might have seemed counterintuitive just a few months ago, telehealth is a great enabler of this one-to-one connection – if we use it wisely.
At last week’s American Telemedicine Association’s virtual conference, that sense of awesome opportunity – and responsibility – was palpable, as medical professionals, HIT experts, policy makers and health system administrators convened remotely to discuss the future of care delivery and how we can leverage technology to improve people’s lives and wellbeing.
As ATA President Dr. Joe Kvedar remarked, "This is our opportunity to reimagine healthcare delivery."
Telehealth and virtual care have become part of our national and global lexicon – a natural and accepted option within our health system, catapulted into the spotlight by coronavirus. Now, we must ensure that the opportunity to truly change the way people seek, access and receive care doesn’t slip through our fingers.
Reflecting on this “new normal” – and how we, as leaders, can ensure we don't simply layer the issues of the old healthcare system onto this new method of care delivery – the ATA community discussed the challenges and opportunities ahead. From behavioral science researchers to virtual health solutions experts, three key themes emerged from ATA speakers that hold the power to change health outcomes for the better:
Personalized guidance is at the center of improving health outcomes, and technology has given us the opportunity to engage on a deeper level with people who might not otherwise be able to access that type of care. A whole-person approach – taking into account medication, nutrition, fitness, diet, and other factors impacting wellness, like sleep and mental health – is key, and as the telehealth sector evolves rapidly into a normal part of mainstream care, it’s our responsibility to ensure that human connection remain at the center of a technology-enabled platform.
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