Destination ATA 2013 is a digest of news and information from the ATA's 18th Annual International Meeting & Trade Show. This content is jointly produced by the American Telemedicine Association and Healthcare IT News.

Q&A: UCLA's Molly Coye takes stock of the telemedicine landscape

The chief innovation officer for UCLA's health network will be interviewing Mercy Health CEO Lynn Britton during Sunday's Opening Plenary of the ATA'

Molly Coye, chief innovation officer at the UCLA Health System, shared  the stage Sunday with Mercy Health President and CEO Lynn Britton during the Opening Plenary of the American Telemedicine Association's 18th Annual International Meeting and Trade Show..

A graduate of Johns Hopkins who is board certified by the American College of Preventive Medicine (she also holds a Masters in Chinese history and has authored two books on the subject), she founded and served as CEO of the Health Technology Center, co-founded and served as a board chairman for CalRHIO, and has served as commissioner of health for the state of New Jersey, director of the California Department of Health Services and head of the Division of Public Health Practice at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. Prior to joining UCLA in 2012, she chaired the advisory board for the Center for Technology and Aging at the Public Health Institute in Oakland.

Dr, Coye recently answered these e-mailed questions from Editor Eric Wicklund regarding the state of the telemedicine industry.

Q: How does telemedicine figure into your job responsibilities? How were you first introduced to the concept, and has it evolved as you'd anticipated?

A:Telemedicine has been one of the most important sources of innovation for our work at the Institute for Innovation at UCLA Health. We regard it as a core building block of strategic innovation and transformation – and a source not only of new technologies, but new business and service models as well.

Q: What are biggest issues facing the ATA? How should they be resolved? Do you see any new ones on the horizon that should be addressed now?

A: ATA's challenge is to transition from its earliest days as a small special interest advocacy group to a leader in health reform and industry reconfiguration. Given the exponential growth of telemedicine and telehealth offerings by health systems, and the importance of these for the aggregation of hospitals and medical groups into large regional and multi-state systems, we are positioned to lead and broker some of the most important policy and regulatory changes that will be needed. The ATA leadership has seized this opportunity and we believe the association has excelled in this transition. The on-going challenge will be to focus on the most important trends and innovations as they proliferate.

Q: Who's driving the adoption of telemedicine and mHealth these days – the physicians, the administrators or the consumers? Why?

A:The drivers are increasingly the large health systems that recognize the potential of telemedicine and mHealth to make their services convenient, efficient and highly effective. They also recognize the potential for consumer engagement and loyalty as these services extend beyond their local market areas. In addition, health plans are beginning to reward remote services and to drive the development and adoption of mHealth solutions. In all these cases, ready consumer adoption and enthusiasm supports and rewards these initiatives, but I would say consumers are not yet at the stage of demanding remote services.

Topics: Telehealth