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Telehealth – a growing driver of the Triple Aim

By Edward Wallace, PA healthcare expert, Pamela Nasr, PA healthcare expert and Raghu Raghunath, PA healthcare expert

On Monday June 19th, PA Consulting attended the Mini HIMSS New York Chapter event on “Leading Organizations through an Era of Change.” From vendors to physicians, nursing staff, technology officers, and healthcare providers, the day was well-attended and included discussion topics on the future of data centers, telehealth, and cognitive systems.

The telehealth panel discussion, which brought together Chief Innovation Officers from leading New York City hospitals (Dr. Ashish Atreja from Mount Sinai, Peter Fleischut from NY Presbyterian, and Dr. Paul Testa from NYU Langone), was thought-provoking as it highlighted telehealth as a growing enabler of the “Triple Aim” (i.e. improving the patient experience of care, improving the health of populations, and reducing the per capita cost of health care) and the shift to value-based care.

The panelists agreed that, despite an increase in telehealth adoption over the last few years, there are still a number of barriers to fully achieving the benefits of a telehealth program including physician resistance and reimbursement models. However, they all see successful telehealth adoption and implementation as critical to achieving the “Triple Aim.”

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How can healthcare providers maximize the benefits of telehealth in an increasingly digitized environment? And what is the secret ingredient, if any? Providers must define and implement an all-encompassing operating model to successfully adopt telehealth. That entails:

  1. Developing a clear business strategy—align your telehealth strategy with your organizational people, processes, and technology capabilities
  2. Identifying and engaging all stakeholders—get leadership buy-in, gather feedback iteratively, and identify some quick wins by targeting physicians who understand the technology and possess a good dose of agility
  3. Defining and agreeing on success metrics—define what success means for your organization, how you will measure it, and distinguish between Minimum Viable Product (MVP) success and full program success.

Whether you are a provider reaping the benefits of telehealth or one looking to implement a telehealth program from scratch, one thing is for certain—telehealth is here to stay. It has a growing track record of improving the patient experience, contributing to better quality of care and reducing costs. Telehealth proponents project that such programs will become mainstream 3-5 years from now. This begs the question: What will be the next innovative trend in digital health? And will the wave be worth the ride?

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