July Healthcare Hot Takes: Telehealth through your TV

Healthcare Hot Takes is Luma Health’s monthly rundown of healthcare innovations happening right now. Check out what the industry is thinking, reading, doing. This month’s topics are virtual visits and health records.

Story #1: Cisco and American Well Are Teaming Up To Enable Virtual Visits in the Home

Hot off the heels of partnering with us, Cisco is also working with telehealth provider American Well to enable virtual visits through the TV. Whereas traditional telemedicine is conducted through laptops or smartphones, this partnership is looking to allow for virtual health to be conducted through the television — something that many Americans may find more appealing. 

Cisco will develop the hardware, which consists of a device that sits atop a television set and integrates with American Well’s telehealth software. Through the platform, users will be able to conduct a virtual medical visit with a large hospital or provider network from the comfort of their living rooms. The idea is to facilitate care for those who may not be able to attend visits in-person, including the elderly as well as those with serious medical conditions that are in need of regular medical attention.

“We’re such strong believers in making it easier for people to age in their home if they want to…It (the television) is mainstream and it’s easy to use, and we recognize that you run into problems when you push people to change their habits.””

Amy Chang, Senior Vice President of Collaboration at Cisco

More and more companies are investing heavily in virtual health and remote monitoring functionalities, especially now that CMS and other health insurers are starting to reimburse for telemedicine. In addition, penalties are being levied to hospitals that don’t appropriately monitor or follow up with patients after they are discharged (Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program), making innovative ways to reach patients remotely even more critical.

Luma’s Hot Take: Clearly, we at Luma Health are large proponents of telehealth and enabling virtual visits to boost patient access to care (see: Luma Health partnership with Cisco). Expanding access to care by way of  an on-demand doctor on a patient’s TV can help prevent extraneous and costly ER visits in the future.

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Story #2: With Apple Health Records, Patients At Participating Healthcare Organizations Can Now Download Their Personal Health Records Onto Their iPhones.

In a tweet released Wednesday, Dr. Ricky Bloomfield, Apple’s clinical and health informatics lead, announced that the tech giant will now allow for healthcare organizations with compatible EHRs to self-register for their Health Records feature. Patients at these participating organizations will then have the ability to download their personal health records to their iPhone from their corresponding patient portal.

“Health Records now allows you to have all of your records in one place… And I will tell you the medical community is excited about it.”

Dr. Sumbul Desai, VP of Health at Apple

To date, the Apple Health Records feature has only been available to a select group of partner organizations, like the VA, but now it is being rolled out to the larger healthcare provider market, allowing for infinitely more patient data access and engagement. 

“Health Records now allows you to have all of your records, if you go to different systems in particular, in one place… And I will tell you, as a physician I’ll see patients in the ER … and a lot of times the questions we ask are ‘What kind of medications are you on?’ … So now to have an area where I can look at all of that is very helpful. We’re very early in that journey … but there’s a lot of potential there and we’re really excited about what we can do. And we’re really excited that the medical community is excited about it.” – Dr. Sumbul Desai, VP of Health at Apple 

Luma’s Hot Take: Apple’s Health Records feature has the potential to be one of the most powerful forces in the growing trend of consumerization in healthcare. The ubiquity and convenience of the smartphone in everyday life will lead to a boost in patients engagement, ultimately leading to better care adoption and better health outcomes. 

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