Technology as a Solution

How has technology innovation been implemented, if at all, in advancing new virtual care strategies?

The Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of a large health system pointed out, “As providers, it’s all about value-based care. As we look at putting technology in an organization, the question we need to ask is, how does it alter outcomes for our patients? Sure, technology might just solve all the problems, but where does it fit in the organization’s business model?”

Many of our panelists stressed the importance of first asking what the desired outcome is of any technological advance.

As one leader rightly shared We tend to prescribe technology before correctly diagnosing the problem we have at hand.

He further described the two-pronged approach to incorporating technology. “There are two things we must keep in mind: one, the benefit of the technology and two, understanding the design of the technology that works best. But what I don’t think we are that good at as an industry is measuring people and the context of what is important to them.”

The discussion concluded with a focus on the importance of not innovating solely for innovations sake. “Fundamentally we have to drive change in how we learn before we design. The circumstance and the constant needs to be understood to make the world better for the patient and the provider,” added a senior executive panelist concurrently highlighting one of the unintended outcomes of the pandemic—the speed at which alternatives are being explored and implemented.

COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on nursing homes and assisted living facilities. What solutions can Virtual Care prescribe?

We had three participants who currently lead organizations serving the elderly—either in nursing homes or with in-home services. As has been well documented, this segment of the population continues to be adversely impacted by COVID-19.

Our panelists confirmed that while it was initially quite challenging, there are many opportunities available to lead technology and innovative care delivery models. “In nursing homes especially, the benefits of technology had been underestimated in terms of what is possible,” commented a physician CEO and panelist at the discussion. His statement was further corroborated by a senior executive who said, “During the pandemic, technology has helped bring forward some of the most innovative interventions within the staff at nursing homes and the external clinicians. We see improving results in how medical directors are now able to offer better care for their patients.”

Advancements in the virtual care segment of healthcare have opened the doors to questions around the necessity of going back to the way things were—given the efficiency associated with virtual care and the partnership between the clinicians and nursing homes.

Linking back to the earlier comments about training, it was offered that “no matter how good your technology is, if you don’t train your providers on how to do a home visit, it’s a nightmare.”