Mayo Clinic CEO: Telehealth & AI are the keys to healthcare's future

Telemedicine, hospital-at-home programs and artificial intelligence will be key to improving healthcare access and affordability in the future, according to Gianrico Farrugia, MD, president and CEO of Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Farrugia said Mayo Clinic can help lead that transformation during a Sept. 21 presentation to the World Affairs Council in Jacksonville, Fla., the Jacksonville Daily Record reported. Below are three key takeaways from his presentation:

  1. Dr. Farrugia said telehealth visits were rolled out on a large scale amid the pandemic out of necessity, as the healthcare industry didn't think patients were ready for them before the pandemic.

    Now, about 25 percent of Mayo Clinic’s visits are conducted virtually. Dr. Farrugia said adopting telehealth has improved quality of care and patient satisfaction while reducing costs.

    "We also now have to take the next step, which is integrating telehealth into routine care, so it’s not an either/or option — which it predominantly is now — but it’s part of how care is delivered longitudinally and seamlessly," he said. 

  2. Dr. Farrugia also said Mayo Clinic is "finding a tremendous amount of value in mining existing data to create new knowledge and help more people." He said the system is using data and AI to find new preventions and cures for diseases, as well as ways to detect them.

  3. He also highlighted Mayo Clinic's success with its hospital-at-home program, saying participants' rates for readmission into the hospital were slashed in half.

    "The need for hospitals is not going to go away," Dr. Farrugia said. "It will be a very different type of facility. We have to design hospitals that come to the patient rather than the patient being moved around the hospital."

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