As digital medicine continues to evolve after rocketing to the forefront during the pandemic, there are plenty of examples of what has worked best at various organizations. But what about the things that haven’t worked well?

Put telehealth into practice

The AMA leads the charge to expand advocacy, research and resources that keep physician and patient needs at the forefront of telehealth delivery.

“There is just as much to be learned from the mistakes—from the gaps, from the errors, the misses. What didn’t work? And thus, what is it that you can be on the lookout for, and try to avoid, and at least mitigate if you run into it,” said Shira Hauschen, the executive director and division chair of strategy consulting services for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, during an AMA Telehealth Immersion Program webinar, “Mind the Gaps: Digital Health Issues and Opportunities.”

She was one of three Mayo Clinic leaders who talked about efforts to advance digital health access across three functional teams—strategy, research and clinical informatics. Amanda Mikhail, Mayo Clinic’s division chair of research and innovation and translation, discussed multimodal data for clinical research. Edwina Bhaskaran, Mayo Clinic’s chief clinical systems and informatics officer, discussed minding digital gaps from a nursing perspective.

The Mayo Clinic leaders talked about key initiatives in each of their areas, shared what has worked well, and also detailed where opportunities for improvement exist.

Supporting telehealth is an essential component of the AMA Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians.

Telehealth is critical to the future of health care, which is why the AMA continues to lead the charge to aggressively expand telehealth policy, research and resources to ensure physician practice sustainability and fair payment.

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One gap that has tripped up health care organizations is trying to do too many things when making changes in how digital health is incorporated, Hauschen said.

Leaders from various parts of the health care organization should agree on one or two goals that are aligned with the organization’s strategic goals and that everyone in the organization should be able to answer these two questions:

  • What is the overarching goal for the digital health initiative?
  • Where on the spectrum of change to do you want to be?

 

 

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Once the goal is set, there are three areas to be mindful of and pay attention to for any gaps as an organization executes a plan, Hauschen said.

Aggregation. Pull together different data sets to gain insight. Leverage nonclinical data. Look at social determinants of health, but focus on those that matter most for your catchment area. Explore genomic data, but watch out for inadvertent silos.

Integration. Incorporate digital tools or data sets into the workflow and patient experience. Make sure the change easily fits into the workflow. Requiring clinicians to look for an attachment or click too many times to get to the information or input information deters them from using it.

Activation. Figure out the best way to interact with the patient. It’s important to think about how the digital tool is used versus how to speak and engage with the patient.

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