So.Cal HIMSS - Realizing the Promise of Telemedicine to Remove Barriers to Access and Address Health


I had the opportunity to moderate the telemedicine panel at the Southern California HIMSS event on 5/23/19 . We had an outstanding list of panelist:

Zia Agha, MD, Chief Medical Officer & EVP, Clinical Research, Medical Informatics & Telehealth, West Health

William Jih, MD, MBA, Medical Director, Population Health & Strategy, Loma Linda University Medical Center

Michael Pfeffer, MD, FACP, Assistant Vice Chancellor and Chief Information Officer for the UCLA Health Sciences

Omid Toloui, MBA, MPH, Vice President, Digital Health, CareMore

Virtual Care Trend

  • Five years ago, it would have been a differentiator if you had a virtual care service offering, now it is an expectation from the patient community.

  • Roughly 14% growth in Telehealth adoption.

  • Poll from MGMA in 2018 - 39% of physicians do not offering telehealth option. There are still a lot of doubters in the physician community.

  • Technology is the easy part of the telemedicine program design

Challenges with Virtual Health programs

  • Health systems do not have a consistent workflow designed for telemedicine, departments specialties utilizing the telemedicine solutions are all unique, making it difficult when creating the telemedicine technology solution.

  • Physicians are still skeptical about using a computer screen to diagnose the patient.

  • Physicians feel that the loss of touch and senses hinders their ability to make the best clinical decision.

Chou’s Overview:

  • Telemedicine should be used to augment care. The medical community has to understand that technology is not going to be a replacement for clinicians.

  • Lack of education on telemedicine training. The use of technology must be incorporated into the medical school curriculum as we live in the digital world. Next generations of caregivers are digital natives, and they expect that the use of technology to be pervasive in providing care. Currently, the medical school curriculum does not have a focus on how the use of technology for physicians.

  • Key concerns still exist with uncertainty around reimbursement and physician skeptics, which does not help with adoption.


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