Telehealth: The New Normal for Patient Care

July 28, 2020 Antonio Grasso

Telehealth

In the wake of the pandemic, we are witnessing how digital technology is enhancing medical capabilities and improving patient outcomes. Thanks to telehealth, physicians can take a multifaceted approach to optimizing data, delivering holistic care, and reducing administrative and hospitalization costs.

Back in 1987, I helped to trace the history of medical exams by working on a software development project that captured diagnostic images and medical reports from a fax machine and stored them in a database. That was my first experience working on what we now refer to as “telehealth,” i.e., a set of tools and procedures that attempts to automate a healthcare process. It was a bit messy, but it worked. Doctors received faxed copies of exams and stored them in their patients’ records.

What had been a proud accomplishment—not to mention cutting-edge research and innovation at the time—now looks prehistoric, compared to our modern digital technology that enables automated operations in a tightly connected ecosystem.

Bridging the divide between patients and clinicians, modern technology has enabled whole-person care by helping physicians to look beyond mere symptomology.

Augmented Medicine

The convergence of emerging technologies has transformed the way healthcare organizations are delivering care. Imagine using a machine capable of capturing, storing, and transmitting clinical data, diagnostic images, and audio, and then integrating everything into a single digital platform. Now imagine that this same platform can be used to facilitate consultations and deliver rapid results to you anytime, anywhere.

Known as “augmented medicine,” this digital platform has the further advantage of reducing the total cost of care. By optimizing clinical and administrative workflow through data integration and removing barriers to information, it saves time and money.

By now, you may be wondering: Does this platform exist?

My short answer is: “yes.” As an Intel® Software Innovator, I work with Intel® on many initiatives. Recently, I was attracted by a synergy with the company Medpod Inc. and began researching this topic and the company’s value proposition.

An End-to-End Approach to Telehealth

What I’ve discovered, apart from technological expertise, is that the company has a depth and breadth of knowledge about healthcare delivery and pays particular attention to the patient experience. Its range of products—or appliances, as the company likes to call them—all sit on a cloud-based platform, enabling medicine to be delivered remotely in any environment, including your own home.

A clinic in a suitcase? @HenrySchein is forging this new direction in telehealth. Via @insightdottech

The platform generates and aggregates extensive medical data on individual patients. It even includes live translation service, including American Sign Language, facilitating clinical consultations between doctors and patients who speak different languages. In a word, they have achieved something I am passionate about: holism. (Figure 1 shows how it all comes together.)

Figure 1. Taking a holistic approach, the Medpod platform serves patients within and beyond the clinical setting.
Figure 1. Taking a holistic approach, the Medpod platform serves patients within and beyond the clinical setting.

The reality is that physicians must move beyond simply analyzing the patient’s symptoms and laboratory results to assess the whole person. Against this backdrop, access to real-time clinical data along with historical patient data is critical to complete care. Medpod delivers all of this information under the control of a remote provider, enhancing the patient experience while enabling the physician to make more accurate diagnoses, foster treatment compliance, and improve patient outcomes.

Without overstating, Medpod Inc. is leading the charge in transforming healthcare to a “unique end-to-end virtual care platform” by aggregating software code, hardware devices, and human experience. Kudos, guys.

Its key features include:

  • MobileDoc, a telemedicine-enabled diagnostic cart shrunken down to fit into a carry-on-size case that enables professional-level diagnostic capabilities in any environment, allowing providers to accurately diagnose and treat their patients remotely, as illustrated in Figure 2
  • Provider dashboard with “Single View,” allowing providers to login once and conduct full telediagnostics consultations using Medpod carts and MobileDocs as well as a Visit feature that enables browser-based virtual consultations on the patient’s own device – anytime, anywhere
  • Remote patient monitoring system designed to aid chronic disease management and post-acute or inpatient oversight, as part of a value-based healthcare program
  • Telediagnostics system that enables remote care on par with a physical visit
Figure 2. The Medpod MobileDoc2 is like a clinic in a suitcase.
Figure 2. The Medpod MobileDoc2 is like a clinic in a suitcase.

By bringing together best-in-class medical software and devices on the Intel® platform, Medpod enables healthcare providers to scale telehealth operations and augment their practices.

New Frontiers in Medicine

Integrating technology into healthcare delivery has created new scientific capabilities, enhanced access to care, and is improving patient outcomes through holistic methods and personalized care. In short, telediagnostic platforms can deliver an exceptional patient experience.

What’s more, while performing a distributed healthcare workflow, a single integrated platform can reduce the rate of hospitalization and the total cost of care. There is an opportunity to highlight its value in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last, the icing on the cake is that Medpod’s product is nested within a cutting-edge technology ecosystem: the Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance. In this space, researchers from diverse backgrounds work synergistically to deliver optimized, world-class solutions. The Medpod solution certainly aligns with Intel’s vision: “If it’s smart and connected, it’s best with Intel.”

At the same time that Medpod has created a technological advancement for the provision of healthcare, it has fostered hope, compassion, and empathy. This elevates the way we deliver care and empowers us to become better human beings.

 


Medpod is distributed globally by Henry Schein Inc., a Fortune 500 company and one of the largest ambulatory distributors in the world.

About the Author

Antonio Grasso

Founder and CEO of Italian startup Digital Business Innovation Srl, Antonio Grasso is regarded as one of the top digital transformation influencers on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, digital transformation, the Internet of Things, and blockchain. He is currently collaborating with large global brands as Content Advisor, B2B Influencer, Author, and Software Innovator. He is an advisor, and enterprise and public sector consultant and mentor to numerous startups. Antonio is an Accredited and Qualified Global Mentor for Startups and Scaleups by the World Business Angels Investment Forum.

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