Professional portrait of Tom Foley

Tom Foley
Chief Growth Officer, GenieMD, Inc.

COVID forced health systems large and small to react; doing what was necessary to maximize engagement with their patient base: audio and video only engagement became the norm.  According to the Medical Economics 2020 Technology Survey, November 6, 2020, “More than 93% of physician survey respondents said they have used telehealth to treat patients this year.” And the general finding of this study was:

·       Physicians rely on telehealth to keep their practices afloat

·       75% indicated the investment in telehealth is worth it

With the quick onset of the initial COVID surge health care providers, regardless of size, adopted a variety of different tools to maximize patient engagement – 28%, per the Modern Economics’ survey adopted free software (skype, facetime, etc.) to support patient engagement, and only 34% relied on their EHR or Hospital system.  Overall, a large majority of these adoptions were audio and/or video conferencing applications.

But now, taking COVID aside, there are fundamental shifts occurring that significantly impact healthcare providers and the delivery of care:

·       Marco trends: regardless of geography, we have a growing, older (living longer), aging (percent of Population over 65 years of age), and sicker (development of more chronic conditions as they age) populations.

·       The average Medicare patient with five chronic conditions sees nine different doctors each year and only spends a total of fifteen hours in front of their doctors.

o   The question is, “what happens in the other 8745 hours in that year?” Let’s refer to this as a gap in care.

·       The digital health momentum, in many ways helps but also hurts the delivery of care model:

o   Many don’t have access to technology: (i.e. computers, smartphones and/or broadband connectivity).

The Shift to Virtual Care Delivery

The shift to virtual care delivery requires more then just an audio and/or video only feature set. Every patient journey is different – each having its unique care plan.  the delivery of care model needs to scale across the community settings while servicing the unique needs of each patient; as well, a patient need not have to go to the provider every time they need support.  With six out of ten adults having at least one chronic condition2 – the home is a true setting of care.  Providers and patients need options/flexibility as to the best engagement modality based on need: from the asynchronous nature of the virtual front-door too synchronized video engagement then escalating to high acuity encounters ultimately providing Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) monitoring services 24/7/365 coupled with Chronic Care Management Services and in 2022 Remote Therapeutic Monitoring.  A feature rich virtual care platform does not have to be expensive – in fact, the enhanced revenue stream, based on regulatory models associated with virtual care services (i.e. telehealth, RPM, CCM and RTM) covers the cost and may even increase your net profits.