Treating the healthcare industry like the financial industry — What to know about the future of telemedicine

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With the end of the year around the corner, hospital and health system leaders are crunching numbers in hopes of being in the black.

Keeping costs down also comes with the stipulation of increasing patient volume. So how do leaders satisfy both objectives? Telemedicine is a great resource to keep healthcare costs down while reaching more patients.

At Becker's Hospital Review 7th Annual CEO + CFO Roundtable in Chicago, Nov. 12-14, an expert panel gave insight into different ways telemedicine can be used. The panel featured:

• Giovanni Piedimonte, MD, FAAP, FCCP, chief of global pediatric research operations at Cleveland Clinic
• Niki Buchanan, general manager of Philips Wellcentive
• Tommy Ibrahim, MD, MHA, CPE, FHM, FACHE, managing director and CMO of Integris

Here are each of the panelists' biggest takeaways:

“The problem that we have as physicians today is very simple: we intervene on people only after they become patients,” said Dr. Piedimonte. “The only way to solve this problem and intervene in a preventative way is to have sensors on the patient to alert us when changes happen to the patient. Once we have these sensors by telemedicine, it can be integrated in a frictionless way when the person is a person and not a patient. Without that, I am convinced that we will not be able to address financial issues.”

“I think it is going to be very important for us to be visionary leaders,” said Dr. Ibrahim. “Despite constraints across the entire industry, we are all grappling with the same thing in terms of ability to access capital and produce margins. For us to think in a more value-based environment, it's going to be critical for us to be visionary. It is critical for physician leaders and IT leadership to come together to not only design what the future state looks like but also implement it and make sure things are carried out effectively.”

“I hope we are like the banking and the financial industry 10 years from now,” said Ms. Buchanan. “We have freed up our ability to share data in the financial world. We don't care that our data is sold about what we spend money on and what we do. I would hope the same could happen for us as patients and consumers of healthcare because until we take some of these barriers away from physicians, we are going to continue having an old model and old way of doing healthcare.”

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