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Healthix adopts Verato solution for patient matching, waives HIE connection fee Largest public health information exchange in the US

Tech giants sign on to interoperability pledge Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce agree to common interest

Research team uncovers 20 security flaws in widely used EHR software Left data of millions worldwide vulnerable to various cyberattacks

Bringing a higher standard to standardization at AAMI Saved Care New England over $650,000, continuing standardization there

REAL Radiology acquires Argus Radiology Consultants Aligns two 100 percent radiologist owned-and-operated organizations

Daphne Jones AMN Healthcare Board appoints new independent director

Value-based care is here: How health IT can help Identify the gaps in your data and analytics and begin to raise the bar

Varian to acquire humediQ Global Bringing IDENTIFY automated workflow solution to surface-guided radiation therapy

Brian Tyler McKesson appoints president and chief operating officer

In the ED, best-of-breed solutions preferred over enterprise EHRs Black Book research cites functionality and usability

The future of health care is looking virtual

By Jon Pearce

Health care in the U.S. is in a state of flux, with policymakers, insurers, health systems and individual providers all trying to address the difficulties presented by an aging population, growing physician shortage and rising health care costs.

Health care organizations now need to be strategic and innovative to make health care in the U.S. more effective – and providers are looking to technologies like virtual care to quiet these concerns.

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The concept of telemedicine has taken off over the past decade and its adoption will only continue to grow, as the telemedicine market is expected to reach approximately $38 billion in 2022. The industry, including both providers and patients, considers telemedicine a next generation health care tool and the future of care delivery – a fact that frankly raises a few red flags for me. How can telemedicine be a “next generation tool” when it originated back in the 1960s as a combination of telematic modes of communication and medicine?

The inflection point in health care delivery
Telemedicine is defined as “the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by telecommunications technology.” This traditional technology is limited to delivering care via phone and – more modernly – video consultation. “Traditional” and “telecommunications” are key descriptors for telemedicine; yet, the industry views telemedicine as groundbreaking. We are at a point of inflection though, as traditional telemedicine is rapidly evolving into virtual care. Think about it from the perspective of Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution: over time organisms change to better adapt to their environment, and over time technology adapts to meet its users’ needs. Just as biology has allowed us to classify species based on distinct evolutionary traits, it is critical that the industry adopts the right vernacular to define and capture this shift – from analog technologies to virtual solutions, in this digital environment.

Telemedicine and virtual care are terms used interchangeably, but there are significant differences between them. Telemedicine offers a cumbersome approach to care delivery, characterized by call centers, data stuck in silos and a crumbling economic model that doesn’t fit the rapidly changing needs of health systems today. In an era when our focus is on value and patient outcomes, traditional telemedicine is quickly showing itself to be outdated. While one-on-one calls with a physician may seem new and novel now, it’s hard to imagine that this method of care delivery will be used in the next five years, much less the next ten.
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