May 11, 2022
Telehealth makes high quality healthcare available as an alternative to traditional face-to-face clinical care–revolutionizing healthcare delivery around the world.
Cognosante delivers telehealth solutions to some of the largest healthcare systems in the world. Our telehealth solutions advance healthcare missions for both Federal and state organizations by considering the holistic needs of patients, helping provide the right care at the right place at the right time.
Lisa Roberts, PhD and Director of Cognosante’s Telehealth portfolio, explains how telehealth can improve health outcomes for Veterans and their families.
Dr. Roberts, what is your background in telehealth and your role at Cognosante in delivering telehealth solutions to our customers?
During the first 17 years of my career as a clinical psychologist, I developed, evaluated, and disseminated innovative treatments for individuals with serious and persistent mental health and substance use disorders (predominantly Veterans). I began using video telemedicine to meet with Veterans as part of a clinical trial during a specialized Fellowship with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). I soon knew that this technology would revolutionize healthcare delivery, and since 2003 I’ve led programs that disseminate virtual care in the largest health systems in the US and UK.
Cognosante became the primary contractor for the VA Home Telehealth contract in 2020, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the VA Home Telehealth program had been operational for many years, Cognosante developed new education and assessment tools for the management of COVID-19 as its own condition, as well as for individuals at higher risk with chronic health conditions. We also facilitated access to medical grade peripheral devices, such as pulse oximeters for at-home monitoring.
What does our telehealth capability include and how do our solutions address healthcare needs?
Cognosante, and our partnerships with leading telehealth technology providers, supports the infrastructure that enables government agencies to focus on patient care and health outcomes. We offer synchronous (real-time video) and asynchronous (store and forward) remote patient monitoring using secure platforms. These patient-centric tools are used to monitor, educate, and triage care on a range of single and co-occurring conditions that continue to expand, which is critical to treating the whole person. For example, if a person has both depression and diabetes, it’s important to monitor the status and impact of each condition on the overall health or deterioration of the individual.
How has telehealth resulted in positive outcomes for Veterans and military patients?
VA has long been regarded as the leader in the use of telehealth and published some of the most impactful studies on the benefits of synchronous and asynchronous virtual care. VA’s success in using telehealth to increase access to care has provided the right care at the right time at the right place and enables documentation of that care within the electronic health record. Altogether, this has had a transformational impact on Veterans’ health.
There are many examples that demonstrate the value of remote patient monitoring on patient health, particularly during the COVID pandemic. One Veteran has a compelling story about his nurse identifying symptoms of COVID-19 while remotely monitoring his other chronic conditions.
What do you see is the future of telehealth? How can we help our customers deliver on their mission to provide high quality healthcare to Veterans?
Telehealth/virtual care technologies and capabilities will not be “either/or” but “when and how,” which creates choice for how healthcare is delivered and experienced. It needs to be recognized that telehealth is another “tool in the toolbox” for both providers and patients and may not always be the best delivery modality. For example, some healthcare providers still require an in-person visit. Similarly, many providers are using virtual tools, but they also want a hybrid model that allows a combination of in-person visits, video visits, and asynchronous data transmission. But perhaps more importantly, while many patients have embraced the use of technology, there will always be some who prefer to see the provider in person. As long as we stay aware of these aspects of telehealth adoption, virtual tools will best serve everyone as yet another choice for the delivery of care.