Integrating Telehealth in the Care Continuum

Integrating Telehealth in the Care Continuum

Technology is now more important than ever. COVID-19 has clearly accelerated the need for technology and at the same time, highlighted the challenges we still have with technology. It is imperative for health systems to move at a faster pace to identify and implement the technologies needed to not only support our current environment and requirements, but to predict and prepare for future needs as COVID-19 reshapes our industry, our health system, and our interactions with our patients.

As the new CIO of Mount Sinai Health System, it was challenging to transition to this role in the middle of the pandemic. As New York quickly became the epicenter of COVID-19, it was initially a struggle to balance the work efforts of the organization, keep our employees safe, and support COVID-19 around the clock. It was through the combined efforts of IT leadership, our dedicated staff, and technology that IT was able to quickly transition to the needed state to support COVID-19 efforts and normal business operations concurrently. Through these last few months, the criticality and emphasis on technology has been very apparent as the speed and volume of technology utilization has only continued to increase. 

Telehealth, remote work, digital enablement, and data &analytics are a few examples of how technology enabled us to better serve our patients and support our organization.

Telehealth. Being able to provide virtual care is crucial to enable clinicians to provide safe and effective patient care and communication. We have expanded our telehealth capabilities significantly to improve virtual care and support increased telehealth visit volumes. By leveraging different telehealth, tele-isolation, tele-consult, and tele-respiratory technologies, we were able to provide better care for our patients.

Remote Work. Remote work is an inevitable trend for many organizations. A majority of our IT workforce has transitioned to a remote work model during this pandemic. To enable our workers, we leveraged cloud technology, implemented work collaboration tools, and expanded our infrastructure capabilities to keep our employees connected and able to operate effectively.

Digital Enablement. Engaging and interacting with patients and their families continue to be a high priority for our health system. We leveraged our in-house text-to-chat platform and other connected devices as part of our digital response to COVID-19. We continue to expand our digital capabilities to improve patient care and engagement.

Data & Analytics. The importance of data is undebatable. Data serves as the foundation for our clinical, operational, and research analytics. We leveraged data to do predictive modeling and support many research initiatives to gain new insights into COVID-19 and reported real-time and retrospective COVID-19 analytics. IT will continue to invest in data and analytics to better manage and utilize data to support our research and rapid clinical decision-making.

My next steps as the CIO are to continue our efforts on COVID-19, adapt to the new norm, and to also look to the future. IT will continue to support the COVID-19 efforts and adapt technology needs with a focus on business continuity, security, and stabilization of core systems. At the same time, we are also looking to transform IT to continue supporting our mission to enable education, research, and clinical care. We will leverage opportunities to transform IT to enable organizational agility, optimize IT operations, build on technology innovation capabilities, and look for new ways to better support our organization, patients, and community.

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