It Doesn’t Get Any More Telemedicine Than This

Clinicians who attend healthcare conferences do so for several reasons. They might attend for CME credit, which every clinician, physician or nurse, is required to complete to stay on top of new clinical procedures and best practices for patient care. They might attend for the opportunity to share with and learn from their peers who attend the meetings. Conferences also provide an opportunity to meet with the technology vendor ecosystem, where clinicians learn what’s available now and what’s around the corner to help them best care for their patients.

All of the above were available at the second annual Vidyo Healthcare Summit, which took place December 3-5, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Vidyo and our customers emphasized the framework in which telemedicine is moving, one that is evolutionary, interconnected, and frictionless.

While it’s awesome for busy clinicians to be able to find time to attend events such as these, their work at home and responsibilities for patient care never really leave them. So what a delicious irony that at least one clinician was able to conduct virtual rounds with patients at our virtual health conference!

Dr. Nathaniel Weathington, Assistant Professor of Medicine at The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), has been a leader of the facility’s Telemedicine Program for Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine since its inception just over a year ago. As such, he provides service to inpatients at an outlying hospital 90 miles from the UPMC main campus for one week every month.

His scheduled week happened to overlap with the Vidyo Healthcare Summit. Thanks to the time-zone difference and to Vidyo’s telehealth solutions, Dr. Weathington was able to wake up early in  the Arizona morning to provide care to his patients and only miss a little of the Summit activities. Armed in his hotel room with two laptops and a virtual stethoscope, Dr. Weathington delivered remote care to several patients at three different rural PA hospitals on the three mornings he was in Arizona.

“There’s nothing more telemedicine than that,” Dr. Weathington said.

By engaging remotely with his patients and relying on peripheral devices, Dr. Weathington demonstrates how the future of interconnected and frictionless virtual care — technology-based medicine minus any hassles — is on the upswing.

“Telemedicine is happening now and will only increase,” Dr. Weathington said. “Ease of adoption is a prime factor that will determine the leaders in the virtual care. It applies to all stakeholders, including providers, administrators, technologists and, most importantly, our patients.”

Dr. Weathington’s telemedicine division has eight to 12 pulmonary and critical care physicians performing virtual care 365 days a year at two and sometimes three rural hospitals in the UPMC system. The hospitals are now allocating staff to perform telemedicine rounds for Pulmonology, Infectious Disease, and Cardiology consultants. He noted that telemedicine has become part of his normal clinical practice and has significantly improved access to top-tier expertise for patients in rural Pennsylvania.

Dr. Weathington cited some of his personal Summit highlights:

Exposure to the Vidyo partner ecosystem.

Best practices and “webside manner” for telemedicine as shared by other Vidyo customers

Understanding the regulatory and operational barriers to more universal implementation in virtual care, and learning how to overcome them

Insights and alliances for potential academic research and technical development opportunities that will continue to advance telemedicine

Dr. Weathington concluded, “the universal truth in medicine is that organizations which stay focused on providing quality patient care using the best tools and talent available will be those that succeed.”

What Will Your Job Look Like in Three Years?

Daniel Kraft speaking at Vidyo Healthcare SummitThe pace of technological change rarely has a rapid and dramatic impact on large swaths of industries. For example, it took over a dozen years for the rise of the internet to so dramatically change the shape of the home entertainment industry that the digital world put the old business model to bed. Blockbuster famously passed up the chance to acquire Netflix in 2000, 13 years before finally closing its doors.

The healthcare industry doesn’t have the luxury of waiting another dozen years.

If you’re not planning for change, you’re going to be left behind, warned Drs. Robert Hart and David Houghton of Ochsner Health Systems at the Vidyo Healthcare Summit. They referred to the recent merger of Aetna and CVS, which completely changes the landscape for healthcare delivery organizations across the United States, who now compete with national, rather than regional, players.

Dr. Daniel Kraft, founder and chair of Exponential Medicine and chair for medicine of Singularity University, depicted the accelerated pace of disruptive innovation and creative application of those innovations. He challenged the healthcare industry to determine how best to connect the dots and evolve from today’s illness model to a more sustainable wellness model.

In his keynote, Vidyo’s chairman and CEO, Michael Patsalos-Fox, urged attendees to consider the elements that make a successful virtual health strategy: platform, ecosystem, and community. He also asked us to consider how these elements fit into delivering an evolutionary, interconnected, and frictionless experience to providers and patients alike.

We’ll discuss these concepts at length in the Vidyo blog in the weeks to come, as we digest everything we learned at the event.

As the head of marketing at Vidyo, what resonated most for me was the enthusiasm displayed by all who attended the summit: our customers — clinicians, technologists, and administrators; our partners who sponsored the event, demonstrating the breadth and depth of the Vidyo ecosystem; and the Vidyo team.

Our sponsors told me how important it was not only for them to meet our mutual customers, but also to network with one another as we meet at the intersection of innovation and creativity.

We’re all rushing into this brave new world eyes open and together.

The opening customer keynote of the event set the stage for further discussion. Jerry Mansfield and Brett Seyfried of the Medical University of South Carolina shared moving advice from a mother who tragically lost a newborn, offering her counsel on what was important to her and to others in her situation. The team at MUSC has built upon her advice, as well as that of many others, in the design and construction of a new pediatric hospital, founded on patient experience. That hospital opens in 2019.

As I left Scottsdale following the event, I thought about the unconference facilitated by Dr. Kraft, in which he encouraged teams to invent, design, and even name seven innovative business ideas that are relevant today. Seven viable designs, any one of which could well disrupt an industry, came out of the session.

The pace of innovative technological change in healthcare, as well as the creative application of those innovations, is accelerating daily.

The future really is now.

What will your job look like in three years?