Intermountain refines its telehealth approach

'We needed to steer away from the traditional service-line approach'
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By adjusting its telehealth infrastructure to better fit in with clinician workflows, Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare is refining and improving its care delivery methods, Healthcare Technology Online reports.

The healthcare system's transformation began two years ago when Wesley Valdez, D.O., was named medical director for telehealth services. According to Valdes, Intermountain has always thought of telehealth as vital to its shared accountability--but its 2011 telehealth setup did not exactly fit the bill.

"The shared accountability model is a patient-centered care strategy that focuses on three basic goals--quality patient care, prevention and cost management," Valdes told Healthcare Technology Online. "Telehealth could definitely provide the rich set of communications tools necessary to enable this effort, but not if it was applied piecemeal. We needed to steer away from the traditional service-line approach."

To that end, Valdes said, he and his colleagues tested a system Intermountain already had on hand for employees. The site enabled employees to undergo e-consultations that allowed doctors and nurses to remain at their own workstations by essentially passing the patient around from one area to another virtually (virtual waiting room, exam room, etc.). Valdes said that the site, thus far, has been successful, and that Intermountain is looking to extend the service to its patients.

Telehealth, no doubt, has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, as it's become clear that such services can save lives, reduce costs improve patient access to care and increase market share. In FierceHealthIT's newest eBook, Telehealth Monitoring: Creating profitable, sustainable programs, providers at several organizations share their insights on their own telehealth programs. 

To learn more:
- read the full Healthcare Technology Online article

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