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How Technology Is Changing the Way Patients Access Care

Telemedicine and other virtual tools are changing the way patients and doctors interact, especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. We asked a couple of industry experts about the future implications of these technologies.

Theresa Soriano, M.D., MPH

Board President, American Academy of Home Care Medicine

How do you feel access to healthcare will change in the future?

The pandemic has accelerated the demand for healthcare access within the home. As facilities are stretched thin and high risk populations cannot not risk exposure to COVID-19, home care medicine has grown. The pandemic has also accelerated a shift to telemedicine and other virtual care options.

Going forward I believe we will continue to see vulnerable populations rightfully expecting care in the safest and most comfortable environment. Speaking as one of the thousands of home-based primary care physicians in the US, I can attest that home care medicine has been committed to serving our highest-risk neighbors for decades. Home-based primary care and advanced practice providers have the expertise, compassion and capacity needed to greatly expand healthcare access for chronically ill and aging patients. We just need the proper resources and policy support to expand our reach.

Home care medicine has shown positive improvements in preventative care and lowered the need for ER or hospital admission. As our industry grows, more patients should be able to receive patient-centered medical care at home to manage complex conditions and age in place. 

What can be done in your industry specifically to improve access for all Americans?
More than two million Americans have difficulty leaving their homes independently and only about one in five have access to home care medical services. We need to create better reimbursement models and training opportunities to grow home care medicine. 

Home care medicine includes medical providers (physicians, advanced practice nurses, physician’s assistants, dentists, podiatrists), usually working in collaboration with social workers, nurses, therapists, behavioral health professionals, and administrators. We partner with and support home care agencies, home hospice programs, assisted living and supportive housing facilities, and other organizations who serve frail, complex communities. 

We are committed to advancing the field of home care medicine through our practices, advocacy, leadership development, and with our industry partners, upholding the highest standards of care. We want all Americans to have the ability to receive patient-centered medical care at home to manage complex conditions and live more days at home.  

How can technology change the face of healthcare?
Telemedicine has allowed us to expand capacity and provide appropriate care without exposing patients or providers to COVID-19. This ability to provide virtual care should continue after the pandemic ends, allowing expanded access and urgent care coverage. With continued innovations in remote monitoring and more user-friendly telehealth platforms, it is exciting to think about how these solutions will allow us to provide additional medical care in the home and to the home, depending on the patient’s needs.  

Moreover, and perhaps just as impactful in health outcomes, is the potential to use technology to bring other important, but usually scarcer, services to patients and caregivers such as social and financial services, spiritual services, and caregiver support. Like the direct medical services, access to these non-medical resources improves quality of life and patient and caregiver experience, while addressing some of the systemic health inequities that home care medicine, and our society, cannot ignore.

What has helped to inspire you to make changes in the healthcare system?
Those of us in home care medicine have been working towards a change in the system for our entire careers. We are inspired by our patients and their families, and how home care medicine positively changes their lives. As a provider myself, I am humbled when I am welcomed into people’s homes and allowed to participate and guide their care on their terms.  

It is inspiring to introduce a new provider to the world of home care medicine, and to support them as they grow to become amazing clinicians and advocates in the field, as my mentors did for me. We all need access to home care medicine to flourish. Americans should have the opportunity to live the fullest and happiest lives we can, cared for and supported in our homes and surrounded by our loved ones.

Mark Redlus

CEO, Tridiuum

How do you feel access to healthcare will change in the future?

Behavioral health will be integrated into primary care to allow faster access to needed services. Patients cannot recover if we only address their medical needs and limit access to behavioral health treatment.

What can be done in your industry specifically to improve access for all Americans?

We can provide a faster pathway to the first appointment. Tridiuum can help identify those who need behavioral help. With providers in short supply, speeding access to different types of care and delivering a measurable impact on outcomes is essential. 

How can technology change the face of healthcare?

There’s a technological revolution going on in healthcare. Telemedicine has become mainstream overnight, and providers are able to use this technology and be paid for their services. At Tridiuum, we are hyper-focused on technology to provide safe video counseling sessions. 

What has helped to inspire you to make changes in the healthcare system?

Tridiuum is comprised of innovators and inventors, focused on improving access to behavioral health through technology. We look forward to the day when behavioral health is completely integrated into primary care and is available to all.

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