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Kaiser Permanente: Thought Leaders Predict the Future of Telehealth

In the health care field, telehealth has emerged as a way to provide advice and treatment to patients in a safe, convenient, and touchless fashion.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kaiser Permanente quickly ramped up to increase its ability to offer its members access to remote guidance and care. Since March, telehealth appointments — using telephone and video — made up 80% of all outpatient care visits, compared to 15% prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first half of 2020, we hosted more than 2 million video visits and over 20 million secure messages between members and clinicians.

Trends and opportunities in telehealth

Kaiser Permanente recently hosted Virtual Care, part of its ThoughtCAST digital event series, featuring an online panel of thought leaders from health care and technology discussing the trends and opportunities in virtual care. The cross-industry rapid response to COVID-19, by shifting to virtual, is increasing adoption of telehealth, decreasing exposure to risk, and preserving the use of personal protective equipment.

“We have the opportunity to reexamine all of our prior assumptions, all of our prior care delivery models, and turn them on their head, because we have the opportunity to apply technology and digital tools in new ways to meet patients where they are, not where we are,” said panelist Bill Marsh, MD, vice president, care delivery information technology, The Permanente Federation.

“When we think about personalization, health care is a space where this is really going to matter. Digital care can play a big role in what we understand about the member and what we can do for their holistic health and wellness,” said Prat Vemana, senior vice president and chief digital officer, Kaiser Permanente, and another member of the panel.

Other panelists included: David Rhew, MD, global chief medical officer and vice president of health care, Microsoft; Veenu Aulakh, president and CEO, Center for Care Innovations.

Watch a recording of the ThoughtCAST Virtual Care panel discussion.

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