Telehealth and connected care: key to thriving in today's environment
Healthcare is at a crisis point, driving changes to risk and reimbursement models. The cost of caring for people needs to be reduced, while the access and quality of care must improve. To survive in this environment, many healthcare organizations have turned to telehealth, but to thrive, they need to take it a step further to an enterprise connected care delivery model.
Healthcare executives should be looking at telehealth from the perspective of the entire care continuum, said Brian Rosenfeld, MD, vice president and chief medical officer of Philips Healthcare, Hospital to Home.
With the aging baby boomer generation, healthcare organizations are facing an ever-increasing elderly patient population, forcing them to do more with the same or fewer personnel, Rosenfeld said. A connected care model built on a telehealth center infrastructure allows healthcare organizations to increase the productivity of their staff while delivering better outcomes. “Our whole approach,” Rosenfeld said, “enables a relatively small team to care for many more people across any geography.”
Whether you have a patient in the emergency department, ICU, skilled nursing facility or at home, a coordinated team of caregivers, co-located at a telehealth center is able to “connect the dots.” They’re able to do this because they have the necessary data and computer-based algorithms to make rapid clinical and triage decisions that reduce length of stay and prevent clinical deterioration, while maximizing utilization and minimizing costly hospitalizations.
Clinicians, IT and healthcare executives must put in place an enterprise-wide connected telehealth strategy to coordinate inpatient and ambulatory care transitions, achieve reduced personnel costs and avoid hospitalizations whenever possible, said Rosenfeld. “They need to look at it systematically,” he said. That means a single telehealth platform for the entire organization. “It’s a proactive model,” Rosenfeld said. And that gives healthcare organizations the edge they need to not only survive but thrive.