Three healthcare leaders issue call to action for telemedicine
Health Affairs review demonstrates value of connected health in delivering quality care to growing number of patients
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Center for Connected Health
In an article published in the February issue of Health Affairs, three healthcare innovation leaders highlighted the value of personal health technologies, to both providers and patients, as a key strategy for making healthcare more cost-effective. The article, 'Connected Health: A Review of Technologies and Strategies to Improve Patient Care With Telemedicine and Telehealth,' provided several examples to illustrate how telemedicine and telehealth could improve access, quality and efficiency in healthcare delivery.
Citing the advent of national health reform causing millions of additional Americans to enter an already overburdened healthcare system, the authors - Dr. Molly Joel Coye, chief innovation officer, UCLA Health System, Dr. Joseph C. Kvedar, director, Center for Connected Health, Partners HealthCare; and Wendy Everett, president, Network for Excellence in Health Innovation (NEHI) -- point to the application of connected health strategies to make healthcare more effective and efficient.
"The widespread adoption of connected health clearly has the potential to extend care across populations of both acute and chronically ill patients, by electronically connecting patients and healthcare providers and helping keep patients healthy at home," said Kvedar. "Connected health programs facilitate remote diagnosis and treatment, continuous monitoring and real-time adjustment of therapies and support for patient self-care."
The authors outline three criteria that must be met in order for telemedicine to succeed: assurance that this new model of care delivery does not sacrifice the quality of care; provider financial incentives aligned in order to result in desired outcomes; and health policy research to evaluate the quality and cost impacts of future connected health services.
"Our healthcare system has not solved the coming mismatch between our supply of providers and growing demand for care from consumers and patients, and this problem will only be more pronounced with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act," added Coye. "Connected health and asynchronous provider-to-patient communication can create a model of care that improves access and quality of care while decreasing costs and more efficiently utilizing our limited healthcare resources."
The authors conclude with a call to action, urging government agencies, academia, patient advocacy groups and private sector organizations to rapidly test, evaluate, deploy and pay for new care models that integrate connected health technologies and programs.
"Telemedicine has, over the past four decades, become an increasingly cost-effective approach to care delivery. A golden opportunity exists today, to create a truly innovative, efficient delivery system within the structure of national health reform," noted Everett. "Physician and nurse champions must take the lead in ensuring that providers embrace these emerging models of care management."
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About the Center for Connected Health
The Center for Connected Health is creating effective, new solutions and innovative interventions to deliver quality patient care outside of the traditional medical setting. Our programs use a combination of remote-monitoring technology, sensors, and online communications and intelligence to improve patient adherence, engagement and clinical outcomes. The Center also offers expert online second opinions, virtual visits, and engages in innovative research to uncover new models for better care. The Center's Consulting Services assist companies, providers and other organizations to learn more about entering the connected health space and to prepare products and services for integration into the healthcare delivery system. The Center for Connected Health is a division of Partners HealthCare, a Boston-based healthcare delivery system founded by its Harvard Medical School affiliated teaching institutions, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.
About UCLA Health System
UCLA Health System has for more than half a century provided the best in health care and the latest in medical technology to the people of Los Angeles and the world. Comprising Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center; UCLA Health - Santa Monica Medical Center; the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA; UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital; and the UCLA Medical Group, UCLA Health, with its wide-reaching system of primary care and specialty care offices throughout the region, is among the most comprehensive and advanced health care systems in the world. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. For information about clinical programs or help in choosing a personal physician, call 800-UCLA-MD1 or visit www.uclahealth.org.
NEHI (National Network for Health Innovation) is a health policy institute focused on enabling innovation to improve health care quality and lower health care costs. In partnership with members from all across the health care system, NEHI conducts evidence-based research and stimulates policy change to improve the quality and the value of health care. Together with this unparalleled network of committed health care leaders, NEHI brings an objective, collaborative and fresh voice to health policy. For more information, visit www.nehi.net or follow us @NEHI_News.