ATA18: Telemedicine Reaches an Inflection Point

As the virtual care evolves, consumer needs will drive industry changes, CEO Ann Mond Johnson says.

Ann Mond Johnson believes telemedicine is reaching an inflection point.

The newly appointed American Telemedicine Association CEO says that a combination of more solutions, an insufficient healthcare workforce and a care cost burden is pushing the industry in a direction that caters even more to evolving consumer expectations than ever before.

“There is this big confluence of factors that’s pushing the industry away from traditional telemedicine, which is a term that’s a little bit limiting,” Johnson says. “Instead, we’re moving toward virtual care — meeting patients on their terms.”

At the ATA’s annual conference — from April 29 to May 1 in Chicago — discussions and keynote sessions will focus on the successes and challenges — technical and nontechnical — of achieving those goals. For instance, in the opening keynote at 11 a.m. on April 29, Dr. Robert Wachter, chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, will discuss the evolution of care delivery and what’s in store for telehealth looking ahead.

Meanwhile, at 11:30 a.m. on April 30, legal experts from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the American Medical Association will talk about the legal issues at the federal and state level with telehealth arrangements.

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CIOs Strategize for Senior Care

The evolution of virtual care for seniors will also be a point of emphasis at the conference. At 1:45 p.m. on April 30, representatives from several senior living organizations will participate in a discussion focusing on telehealth strategies for growing long-term/post-acute care business strategies. And at 8 a.m. on May 1, AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins will talk about the future of consumer-oriented care, particularly as it relates to older adults.

People want to age in place safely, and the senior community will only continue to grow rapidly, “so there’s urgency around this topic,” Johnson says. “They’re the ones who’ve been on Facebook and using a lot of other digital services, so they have expectations that we have to respond to and frankly, as an industry, we have to catch up with.”

ATA Wants to Make Virtual Care More Accessible

Johnson says one of the ATA’s primary goals moving forward is removing barriers to virtual care. In particular, she says the organization will look to collaborate with other groups to promote changes to reimbursement and licensure hurdles, and will work to elevate the conversation around the safety and efficiency benefits that virtual care can provide.

“There are a lot of like-minded organizations out there that share the same goals as us,” Johnson says. “We can’t do it on our own. No one can do it on their own.”

HealthTech will be on the ground at ATA18, covering educational sessions and keynotes and interviewing experts on the latest challenges and trends in the industry. Bookmark our ATA18 landing page for stories, and keep up with conference conversations on Twitter by following @CDW_Healthcare and using #ATA18.

S. Greg Panosian/Getty Images
Apr 16 2018