Population Health Requires Telehealth

March 2, 2015 by By InTouch Health

In recent years, there have been more articles written about population health management than about the entire Kardashian clan.

The first version of population health management had a lot of good intentions but few measurable results. Now comes the hard part: turning mission statements into successful programs. And it’s becoming increasingly obvious that telehealth is an essential ingredient for success.

In a recent article in Executive Insight, Dr. Yulun Wang noted that one of the six pillars in the AHA’s population health roadmap is “seamless care across all settings,” which is practically a Webster’s definition of telehealth. If the population you’re managing happens to be Bear River, Wyoming (population: 521), there are probably not enough locally based primary care physicians, much less specialists, to handle the job. An enterprise telehealth platform is the force multiplier that can solve the problem, while also improving quality and lowering costs.

Dr. Wang’s article also made it clear that many telehealth solutions fall far short of being enterprise platforms, which need to provide: 

  • Scope to accommodate sub-acute services (clinics, SNFs) in addition to high-acuity service lines like ICU, neurology, etc.
  • Scalability to make it easy and cost effective to add new service lines and organizations
  • Ease of use in capturing and viewing clinical data across a wide range of environments and applications
  • High quality and reliability because high-acuity cases often involve life-or-death decisionsAccess controls to safeguard data integrity across multiple time zones
  • Superior analytics and reporting, both historical and real-time

Any organization that’s serious about population health management must also be willing to implement – or be affiliated with – an enterprise telehealth platform that meets these criteria.