Telehealth Rapidly Becoming Standard of Care

Premier Pulse     December 2017

TeleNuero_Stack_640x360The Jetsons debuted in 1962 and while we do not have flying cars, health care is rapidly adopting one of the Jetsons’ futuristic phenomena: telehealth. Elroy, the Jetsons’ 6-year-old son, can be seen completing his doctor visit via video. But did you know that Premier Health provides multiple telehealth services to more than 4,500 patients annually?

As defined by the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), telehealth is the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve patient clinical health status. In addition, telehealth is one of the fastest growing segments of health care and is rapidly becoming a standard component of the care delivery model, with health systems such as Kaiser Permanente in California performing more than 50 percent (or 59 million) patient transactions online in 2016. Telehealth is not a single solution but part of the care delivery model, providing a platform where many solutions can be accessed.

Premier Health began offering telehealth services in 2012 using a team-based approach with clinicians, operations, reimbursement/billing, legal/compliance, marketing/communications, and IT. The health system projects more than 4,000 visits in 2017. Current offerings include Premier Virtual Care, a video visit urgent care service; Epic MyChart E-Visits through primary care; tele-stroke and tele-social work video consults; behavioral health video visits; tele-neurology; E-ICU; Pulsara; and remote patient monitoring.

So why should Premier Health continue to operate like the Jetsons? We do not have flying cars, our houses do not float in the sky, and I have yet to find a device to clean my entire house. As part of the 2018-2020 strategic plan, Premier Health will continue to undergo Clinical Transformation with a strong focus on consumerism and innovation. Just as E-commerce has not replaced the traditional retail store, it certainly has disrupted the traditional model.

Premier Health thinks of telehealth as demand- and supply-driven. Demand focuses on the consumer’s desire for convenient access to care, cost transparency, and enhanced communication with digital devices – all at a lower cost. Meanwhile, a supply-driven approach leverages technology to succeed in the future state of value-based payments, physician shortages, and with an aging patient population with chronic conditions.

The initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with responses such as “I am so thankful for this service!” and “I've been telling everyone I know about this service! It was a wonderful experience and I would do it again.”

If you have questions, comments, or ideas, please contact Chris Stuchul, Premier Health Director of Clinical Innovation at

Back to the December 2017 issue of Premier Pulse

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