The Future of Knowledge Management is Digitally Enabled Patient Care
During our first virtual telehealth conference, industry experts shared their experiences with eConsults.
Watch this session featuring Robert Groves, MD, Executive Vice President & Chief Medical Officer at Banner | Aetna, to learn Dr. Grove’s vision for connecting primary care providers and their patients with specialist care.
The future of knowledge management is digitally enabled patient care
Robert Groves, MD
Executive Vice President & Chief Medical Officer, Banner | Aetna
An impressive amount of innovation occurred over the last 18 months to enable patients to get care in the midst of hospital-wide shutdowns and clinic restrictions that limited access to in-person care. As if overnight, we saw the health system shift to 80%+ of their visits being handled virtually, ushering in a new era of digital health and patient management. The pandemic also placed a spotlight on inefficient knowledge management; especially on the widespread problem of inefficient methods to access specialist expertise in a timely, effective fashion. For decades, patients requiring the input of specialists to their care were required to travel (often hours); wait (often for months); and spend (childcare, travel, out-of-pocket copays) to access that knowledge. With a new perspective on the many avenues available to deliver care, we now see that this undue patient burden does not need to continue.
Today, while specialists are often located in large metropolitan areas – far from the patients that need them most – digitally-enabled care gives providers the opportunity to tap into the knowledge of specialists across the county, from the comfort of their office. Using eConsults, or distant site telehealth, these same providers can better diagnose patients, optimize treatment plans, and accelerate care. For patients, this means avoiding unnecessary travel, long referral wait times and additional copays. We now have the power to overcome this knowledge gap and long-standing challenge that limits healthcare equality, efficiency, and sustainability.
An impressive amount of innovation was deployed to diagnose, treat, and prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, long-standing challenges related to healthcare equality, efficiency and sustainability remain. In the wake of this crisis, healthcare organizations, and their staff, can transform patient care by leveraging technology. In the past, connecting primary care providers and their patients with specialist care was thwarted by time, distance, and cost. Specialists are often located in large metropolitan areas – far from the patients that need them most.
Q&A with Dr. Hasan Syed on how eConsults improve access to orthopedic care
What’s changed in Orthopedic Surgery during 2020?
The pandemic has had a profound impact on our global economy, and healthcare systems. The US healthcare system has historically been plagued by complex access issues, such as long appointment wait times, lack of coverage for vulnerable populations resulting in delayed and avoided care, and shortage of specialist doctors.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought these issues to a head when abruptly, the healthcare system was forced to essentially close its doors to the general population to pivot and prepare all resources to fight the most significant global pandemic our world has seen since the Spanish flu of 1918. Cancelled elective procedures (definition of elective), delayed (for an indefinite amount of time) non-urgent appointments, and the complete inability for some to access any in-person care was something that had not yet been experienced within our lifetimes.
Orthopedic surgery is one of many specialties covering a large percentage of procedures seen as non-urgent. Day-to-day practice of orthopedic surgery “has been significantly affected by the pandemic. Surgical indications have been reformulated, with elective cases being promptly postponed and urgent interventions requiring exceptional attention, especially in suspected or COVID-19+ patients.” https://jeo-esska.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40634-020-00255-5
For many health systems and hospitals, this has had a strong impact on in-patient management and procedures. Outpatient visits were limited to exposure of patients and healthcare workers. This resulted in “considerable consequences on post-operative quality of care and the human side of medical practice”, according to The Journal of Experimental Orthopedics.