How Will Telemedicine Continue to Evolve?
How Will Telemedicine Continue to Evolve? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.
How will the use of telemedicine continue to evolve? Watch as expert Dr. Joseph Sirintrapun explains telemedicine benefits and expansion during the COViD-19 public health emergency and the potential for telemedicine evolution in the future.
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Can you give a brief overview from your perspective, how telemedicine has evolved and continues to evolve and how you think it might evolve going forward?
Yeah, I think I like pulling out these old sayings and I think Winston Churchill was credited with it even though I don’t think he said it, but never let a good crisis go to waste. You probably heard that during COVID, and COVID really blew open the door for telemedicine. I think because we just had to, there was no choice behind that. And thankfully, people…organizations, people recognized it. And I remember in March, March 2020, the public health emergency was declared and a lot of different things that were barriers and a lot of them were regulatory. They were opened up so that it can enable reimbursements, all these different things that factor in. And being able to leverage the technologies, because keep in mind with providers, I knew providers that didn’t know how to use Zoom and other technologies. And because of COVID, they were forced, and they found out, “Hey, it’s not that bad.” But if I were to do that before the pandemic, they’d be like, “Well, why should I? We’ll just show up in this conference room. We’ll just be there at six o’clock in the morning.
So it opens people’s minds. And I think that really helped. I don’t think that Genie’s going back into the bottle, not at least completely. I think we’re going to figure different ways to leverage those technologies moving forward. So in terms of telemedicine moving forward, some of the things I’d like to see and hence I think this is maybe one of the reasons why I’m here, is like how do we enable clinical trials to embrace the telemedicine model? Because clinical trials till now historically has been kind of a physical model. You have to go to some ivory tower, some centralized place and that really limits down, the patients can do it. There’s access problems. Even if you had the richest study in the world, you had to fly people from all over the world. You can imagine that just drains the budget. There’s just all these different things there. And when you think of the way clinical trials are conducted, it didn’t really take into account telemedicine visits.
At my institution Memorial Sloan Kettering, we developed an entire ecosystem of telemedicine tools to actually try to encompass the patient experience as close as we could. Because the experience, it can never be completely duplicated, but you can do certain things definitely through telemedicine. We tried to do our best to do it so it’s easier for patients, the nurse coordinators as well as the providers to use that. And clinical trials, they’re moving towards it. They’re acknowledging the issue and they’re rethinking the ways to do it. How can we enable it so that we can decrease the chasm between the patient and being able to enroll in a clinical trial? So in a nutshell, that’s the way things are going. We’re not there yet, but we’re definitely thinking about it. It’s definitely a discussion. I think the future will see a much more clinically- and a telemedicine-enabled clinical trial framework.