5 health IT experts on virtual health solutions in the COVID-19 era and beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic has crystalized the importance of virtual health solutions in supporting greater efficiency, reducing expenses and improving outcomes, according to Erik Wagner, senior director of global provider strategy at Salesforce.

"The situation created by the pandemic is that organizations regardless of the vertical market — whether that's retail or healthcare — have to have a digital platform and be able to engage with customers, members or patients remotely, in a quick, easy and nimble fashion," Mr. Wagner said during an Aug. 18 webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by Salesforce.

The other webinar speakers were:

  • Mike Roberts, chief technology officer at VillageMD
  • Jason Wenell, chief technology officer at Lifesprk
  • Jason Martial, senior manager of healthcare marketing at Salesforce
  • Caitlin Cowell, lead solution engineer at Salesforce

Five insights they shared on virtual health:

1. Virtual health isn't just telemedicine. Telemedicine is merely one component of the digital ecosystem health systems need to improve patient, clinician and employee engagement, according to Mr. Wagner. Virtual care solutions also include remote patient monitoring, artificial intelligence, chatbot and online scheduling capabilities, all intended to help patients take a more active role in their care.

2. Virtual care is an industry staple. During the pandemic, some Salesforce clients saw virtual care visits increase by as much as 4,000 percent, according to Mr. Martial.

While in-person visits have rebounded from earlier elective case shutdowns, there is "still an existing need spotlighted and exacerbated by COVID-19," he said. "Virtual care is not going anywhere anytime soon."

3. Digital solutions support the Quadruple Aim. Salesforce's virtual care tools are designed to "complement and enhance" the patient experience, according to Ms. Cowell. With chatbot capabilities that guide patients through the decision to seek care, as well as the ability to automate triage and scheduling processes, Salesforce's tools free clinicians to focus solely on patient care and help patients easily and quickly receive treatment, thereby driving improved health outcomes and lower expenses.

"This is just a small part of what Salesforce has to offer as it relates to virtual solutions for our provider organizations," Ms. Cowell said.

4. Agility is essential. VillageMD, an organization focused on delivering technology-enabled, team-based primary care, began incorporating Salesforce's "API-friendly and interoperable" platform about three years ago, according to Mr. Roberts. Recently, VillageMD harnessed Salesforce technology to send out a COVID-19 assessment to high-risk patients across the country, accomplishing within just 24 hours a feat that could otherwise take weeks or months.

"Leveraging Salesforce allows us to focus on other areas because we know Salesforce can drive a big portion of our business," Mr. Roberts said.

5. Digital solutions drive actionable insights. Lifesprk, a whole-person senior service company, utilizes Salesforce's health cloud to connect its vertical offerings and to develop individualized life plans for members, according to Mr. Wenell.

"Having an API-driven approach where we can suck in not only medical data, but also behavioral and financial consumer data for a good view of our members, that powers insights," he said.

More articles on telehealth:
Senators claim FCC failed to manage funding for COVID-19, rural telehealth programs 
Tennessee funnels $61M into state broadband expansion
7 health systems win Teladoc telehealth innovation awards

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2020. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.

 

Featured Content

Featured Webinars

Featured Whitepapers