Ensuring Cost Effective Access to Care
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Ensuring Cost Effective Access to Care

By Paul Murphy, Assistant Vice President Virtual Network (Telemedicine), HealthOne

Paul Murphy, Assistant Vice President Virtual Network (Telemedicine), HealthOne

1. In the light of your experience, what are the trends and challenges you’ve witnessed happening concerning the healthcare space especially in the telemedicine arena?

Trends: Increasing mobility, such as wearables, leveraging the cloud and Internet of Things (IoT), insurance/payors reimbursing providers for services, parity allowing providers to receive compensation equal to in-person consults, smaller brick-and-mortar facilities, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and continued advances in technology. Continued provider licensing via Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC).

Challenges: Security / cyber security (e.g., patient / personal data, financial transactions), regulatory oversight, healthcare system adoption of telemedicine / virtual health, increasing back-office needs, and payor reimbursement/ parity oversight. Having enough clinicians to launch, support, and maintain a service line. Generational gaps with technology adoption and use. The lack of interoperability.

2. Could you talk about your approach to identifying the right partnership providers?

Our approach for selecting a partner (technology or clinical) involves several steps. The potential partners respond to a written Request for Proposal (RFP). They present an in-person formal presentation to our team and several key internal stakeholders. Due-diligence, including market research and feedback, occurs throughout the process. We also maintain frequent communications with our Corporate stakeholders regarding the status of the partnership evaluation. We also have an internal feedback session and review of each RFP response and the potential partner’s in-person performance.

3. Could you elaborate on some interesting and impactful project/initiatives that you’re currently overseeing?

We are in the process of evaluating an innovative maternal-fetal-monitoring telemedicine model. In the model, an ultrasound machine and a telemedicine cart are loaded into a van. The van is then driven to clinics that are located throughout the service area. At each clinic, the telemedicine cart and ultra-sound machine are moved into the clinic and then into a patient room. The equipment is then connected to the internet, and a telemedicine MFM consult is completed. Once completed the equipment is moved back into the van and driven to the next clinic location. Benefits include the ability to provide access to smaller communities, leveraging existing technology with a minimal financial impact to stakeholders, the ability to conduct real-time MFM assessments, and the benefit of facilitating audio-video interaction between patient, family, local providers, and remote specialist.

4. What are some of the points of discussion that go on in your leadership panel?

One key point is how to leverage our resources to support healthcare providers and facilities that do not have access to similar resources. This includes supporting access to care in a cost-effective manner that supports the quality of care that is delivered via different telemedicine and virtual health business models. Additional discussion points include payor reimbursement and the potential impact that it has on telemedicine pricing models.

5. What are the strategic points that you go by to steer the company forward?

Key strategic points include an on-going focus on the delivery of quality services and patient outcomes. Examples include: What services are being requested by our partners? What is our overall market share? We also explore strategic partnerships with other healthcare systems as the collaboration can often support better patient outcomes for both organizations.

6. Can you draw an analogy between your personality traits, hobbies and how they reflect on your leadership strategy?

Details matter. Be prepared. As an avid cyclist (“roadie”), before a ride, I take a few minutes to look over my bike. Obvious items, such as a soft tire are easy to find. Subtle items, such as a cable that is fraying, requires a more detailed inspection. Finding detailed items is helpful to avoid a crisis during a ride. Being prepared is key. Fix a flat tire on a ride? Not a problem. A fraying shifting cable? More complex. Be prepared to adapt. When my bike’s shifting cable was fraying, I was limited to the number of gears that I could use. My response: use the remaining gear and “limp” the bike home. A similar approach applies to my leadership strategy. Find and address the obvious. Be attentive to the details. Be as prepared as possible for the unknown. Flexibility is key. I try to mirror these traits in my professional life as they assist me with navigating priorities. My colleagues will notice my reaction and response to various scenarios – thus potentially influencing their response.

7. How do you see the evolution of the Cloud Technologies arena a few years from now impacting the healthcare sectors with regard to some of its potential disruptions and transformations?

I believe that cloud technology and cloud adoption will continue for years to come. The cloud’s ability to store data process the data and guide outcomes will advance healthcare delivery. Organizations involved in healthcare, including healthcare systems, providers, and vendors (e.g., technology, pharmaceutical), will likely see brick-and-mortar solutions moving to the cloud in part due to cost savings and the ability of the cloud to manage increasing data sources. “Hybrid models,” or a combination of cloud and local models, will continue to evolve. Security will continue to be an area of focus including regulatory oversight. Cloud technology will increasingly empower consumers/patients while simultaneously supporting healthcare delivery teams to advance care delivery

8. What would be the single piece of advice that you could impart to a fellow or aspiring professional in your field, looking to embark on a similar venture or professional journey along the lines of your service and area of expertise?

My advice has three parts: Remain flexible. Continue to learn. Leverage resources.

Throughout my career, from being a paramedic to joining start-up companies to a leadership role in a large healthcare system, flexibility has been key. What is standard today may be replaced tomorrow. Continue to learn. Healthcare, especially with innovations such as telemedicine and virtual healthcare, is undergoing significant changes. Leverage subject matter experts. You may not have the answer; your colleague might. Ask for assistance when you are not sure. Remain open to the unknown.  

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