Northwell VP: Patients are demanding telehealth today

To accommodate the public’s demand, the health system is working to incorporate telehealth into everything it does, Vice President Iris Berman says.
By Dave Muoio
12:47 PM
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Credit: americantelemed.org

After pushing through countless regulatory and cultural barriers, telehealth programs are finally beginning to earn recognition and support throughout the country. But despite these gains, launching a new telehealth program from the ground up is still a daunting task, and avoiding pitfalls will require careful planning for a technology that’s growing fast, according to Iris Berman, VP of telehealth services at Northwell Health.

“Let me just say that four years ago this position didn’t exist, which gives you an idea of how fast it’s changed and how quickly we’ve had to move because of the demands of the public,” Berman said. “We were hearing more about [telehealth], and it became obvious that we needed to start looking at how we could start standardizing our approach to the care; get away from a siloed approach and start looking at telehealth as part of the continuum of care. We really believe and hope that someday you won’t be calling this telehealth, it’ll just be part of your care. That’s really the approach we want to take — starting to build it into everything we do here.”

A champion of the “measure twice, cut once” approach, Berman stressed the importance of careful planning and piloting when devising any new program, especially when a patient’s health is involved.

Outside of advocating for robust data collection — before, during, and after the launch of a telehealth program — she discussed the need for more programs to demand interconnectivity from their telehealth service providers.

“I think finally that vendors are starting to hear the cry that we can’t have these closed systems, that systems have to be able to talk to each other,” she said. “You can’t expect hospitals or a non-profit to trash what we have because you have the newest latest and greatest toy, … you have to build everything to work with what is and what will be, and there’s more language about that now. There’s more people talking about things like open APIs — I’m not saying that’s the solution necessarily, but it certainly helps in advancing connectivity.”

Iris Berman will be speaking in the session, “Designing from the Inside Out – Taking a Strategic Approach,” at 8:30 a.m. March 8  in the Venetian, Sands Showroom.

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Twitter: @dave_muoio
Email the writer: dave.muoio@himssmedia.com