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Telehealth – Crucial Considerations

Telehealth is a buzzing topic, with changes constantly happening in healthcare technology. But what does that entail for market research?

What You Need to Consider Before Harnessing the Full Power of Telehealth

Telehealth is complex and rapidly evolving—from synchronous (live) and asynchronous (store-and-forward) video to remote patient monitoring and mHealth technology. With an understanding of the big picture, your team can identify key considerations for gathering actionable insights for how to integrate telehealth into new products and overall care delivery systems in ways that meet stakeholders’ needs for convenience, cost, safety, and quality of care.

Now more than ever, today’s insights and analytics professionals play a crucial role in navigating their teams through critical considerations for launching successful telehealth programs. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, for example, are advancing access to remote care and patient monitoring in ways unforeseen even a few years ago. However, when and where to use AI is paramount to onboarding providers and gaining the trust of patients.

When thinking about AI-powered integration and continuity of care, you need to consider

Where in the value chain can AI-powered diagnostics and treatment advice add value? For example, one study showed that young people who interacted with a mental health chatbot called Wysa, which bills itself as “your 4 am friend and AI life coach,” experienced decreased depression and increased medication adherence. In this example, it’s clear that Wysa truly understood the specific needs of their patients (4 am? That’s very specific and on target.). But even when you ‘get it right’ with AI there are areas to consider:

  • Comfort level: Which target audiences, in which situations, are comfortable with interacting withand getting medical advice froma bot rather than a trusted provider? 
  • Potential for misdiagnosis or faulty recommendations: How can AI-powered interactions ensure accurate, relevant medical advice? For example, organizations must consider how to ‘speak’ with a variety of patient types including young adults and people with disabilities.

Technology giants such as Apple are leveraging data from Apple Watch to form partnerships with health companies in the wearable space. Wearables are poised to disrupt and perhaps change healthcare as we know it.

“If you zoom out into the future, and you look back, and you ask the question, ‘What was Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind?’ It will be about health,” Tim Cook, CEO, Apple

Telehealth is also transforming other industries such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and health systems, to monitor and collect data on how consumers interact with healthcare products, services as well as consumer health information. These disruptions will also require meaningful insights from the wealth of monitoring wearable data.  

When thinking about the big data from wearables and its impact on health, you need to consider

  • Insights: How do we derive meaningful insights while ensuring accuracy and consistency while maintaining clinical relevancy? And how can we turn insights into results—from predicting individual patient outcomes and informing personalized treatment plans to understanding population health trends and developing broad-based recommendations?
  • User value and compliance: How do we measure the effectiveness of a remote monitoring intervention if the patient isn’t engaged with the device, or isn’t using it properly? What types of education and device features to increase patient compliance? What increases engagement and value for patients, and how does value shift for patients across different cultures?
  • Privacy: Who will have access to the patient’s data? And who owns it? The infrastructure to address privacy and security is critical to the continued evolution of remote data sharing.

When thinking about telehealth for urgent care and training, you need to consider

How telehealth is transforming emergency and surgical care and training. Technologies, including the use of virtual reality, are helping to train surgeons in remote locations as well as allowing surgeons to practice procedures before heading into the OR, offering the potential of reduced procedure time and complications.

  • Doctor/Patient/Pharmacist Relationships: Traditional relationships and dialogue will change as a result of advancements in telehealth. Organizations need to consider the benefits particularly in rural areas or within hard-to-reach populations while maintaining the quality of in-person interactions.  
  • Regulatory approval: Is a new MedTech device truly innovative? With FDA’s plans to modernize its 510(k) regulatory clearance pathway, device manufacturers have the opportunity to get to market faster but will also have to meet higher bars for technical and scientific innovation by comparing against recent products to gain approval. However, the bigger question is will telehealth technologies fall into the 510(k) model?
  • Physician licensing, credentialing, and privileging: How can physician licensing, credentialing, and privileging be most effectively managed and tracked across states, organizations, and hospitals? Though this is becoming more streamlined as movements such as the Interstate Licensure Compact grow, it remains an area of complication for telehealth.
  • International collaboration and opportunity: What is the opportunity to expand internationally? And what are the geographical, language, cultural, religious, and other considerations to navigate?

For more information on telehealth, please check out our article that originally appeared in GreenBook.

With constant evolution across the full spectrum of telehealth options, today’s organizations must be deeply grounded in analytics and continually seeking actionable insights to inform their decisions.

To learn how leading companies are harnessing new and emerging technologies to create next-generation insights to improve patient care, go right to the source. Join 400+ healthcare insights and analytics professionals at the Intellus Worldwide 2019 Summit, “Insights Evolution: Empowering Data Translators of the Future.” May 19 to 21, 2019 in Philadelphia, PA.

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