With Virtual Health Solutions Doctors May Have More Engagement With Patients: Dr Bob Monteverdi
In conversation with BW Healthcareworld, Dr Bob Monteverdi, Global Healthcare Solutions Leader, Lenovo Health, spoke about recent research and innovations of the firm. Excerpts:
How is Lenovo going to lead healthcare innovation?
Lenovo’s virtual health solutions empower care providers to deliver smarter healthcare to more people for better outcomes.
Clinicians need devices and technologies that are purpose-built to drive the latest advances in inpatient care. Lenovo Health offers solutions that help solve today’s healthcare challenges and prepare health systems for the future of care delivery by enabling more efficiencies through smart IT solutions.
Our newest solutions focus on virtual health, advancing care delivery enablement by improving patient engagement and clinical workflows, which lead to better outcomes. The virtual care and virtual rounding solutions from Lenovo are poised to positively impact healthcare by connecting more clinicians and other health professionals with more patients more efficiently. The recent stresses placed on healthcare systems by the global pandemic accelerated and validated Lenovo’s virtual health strategy.
What are the new tools and facilities that will be developed for the patients as well as the healthcare providers?
The virtual care solution offered by Lenovo is a full patient-to-provider solution to remotely monitor, guide and educate patients with chronic health conditions. It is a new, smarter way to manage chronic diseases where patients want to be - at home. And when they need it - always. The solution combines trusted Lenovo hardware with advanced biometric devices and AI-powered software to coach patients through their individualized care plan and drive better overall outcomes. The remote patient monitoring solution allows clinicians to continually assess and engage with enrolled patients, reducing the need for multiple in-person visits and readmissions. Because of monitoring and coaching, the solution also supports the development of healthy habits for patient care-plan compliance and outcomes.
In addition to helping healthcare professionals treat patients at home, Lenovo Health is enabling clinicians to treat more patients more safely and efficiently within hospitals and remotely through virtual rounding. Hospital and emergency room providers make dozens and often hundreds of, patient visits or 'rounds' per day. With virtual rounding, a purpose-designed personalized video conference system via Microsoft Teams, the valuable resources of physician time and PPE are optimized. This solution allows the clinician to bring family members or additional clinicians into the conversation with the patient.
What is the proper process of diagnosis going to be carried out virtually?
As providers and patients begin to widely embrace virtual healthcare solutions, the experiences will help to balance the benefits as well as the limitations of this model of care. The advantages of virtual care are well documented, ranging from improving access, removing geographic barriers (e.g. for rural populations), increasing provider efficiency and the application of automated services to collect data.
However, as with any tool, the application of telehealth has limitations and should be applied in appropriate situations. Some uses that might not be ideal for diagnosis through virtual care are:
- When a physical examination is necessary to make a definitive diagnosis
- If a specialized medical device is required to diagnose or treat a condition (e.g. imaging equipment)
- If the patient reported condition indicates an acute situation that suggests a risk or emergency treatment
- Treatment of patients who are nervous, require comforting during medical discussions, are not informed how to operate digital equipment, or are uncomfortable with video communications
- If the patient and provider have communication barriers such as language or if the patient has a hearing or speaking disability
- If the patient does not have broadband capabilities or if their connection is unstable
Given these limitations, there are a few things to considering when caring for patients virtually:
- Remote patient monitoring combined with telehealth can greatly benefit patients with chronic diseases. Six out of every 10 adults in the US have at least one chronic disease, with four in 10 suffering from two or more. A patient-to-provider solution that allows care teams to remotely monitor, guide and educate patients with chronic health conditions can help reduce in-person visits and readmissions. It can also help build and reinforce better habits for diet, exercise and medication.
- Don’t forget in-facility virtual health solutions. ‘Telehealth’ is commonly thought of as solution for letting patients connect to caregivers from anywhere, so they don’t have to visit a healthcare facility. But, the same technologies have a lot of benefits for patients that are in clinics, hospitals or assisted living facilities too. The biggest benefit is efficiency. Doctors can ‘make rounds’ and visit more patients more quickly by using tele-presence solutions. The same solution also helps family members participate in visits, which can be beneficial and meaningful in numerous ways. And, virtual doctor’s visits also reduce the use of PPE, saving healthcare resources and reducing medical waste.
- Efficiency means increased access to healthcare teams and improves quality of care. With virtual health solutions doctors can actually have more time for more engagement with patients with longer and more frequent visits. Additionally, these solutions can be used to increase patient access to the right specialists within a healthcare system.
- Include family members in virtual patient visits. A patient’s support network is critical for addressing social determinants of health (SDOH). With proper awareness and support from family members issues like medication adherence, exercise and diet can be better managed.
- Develop and practice your best ‘webside manner’. It seems counter intuitive, but personal connections may actually be easier online, make the most of it. Anecdotal accounts suggest patients are less inhibited and more willing to share personal information in virtual visits, so don’t be afraid to build personal connections and go deep during conversations with patients. Also, because the experience is remote and potentially less emotional, don’t fail to take the extra time to demonstrate empathy with a patient about their experience. An extra word of concern might be needed for their emotional wellbeing.
How is Lenovo planning to grab the healthcare market against the other tech giants?
As demand for virtual platforms continues to grow, healthcare systems need a reliable partner that can deliver these cutting-edge solutions at scale. Lenovo is a proven global technology leader – ranking number one globally in PC sales and is the number one provider of Top 500 supercomputers . Relying on its robust global supply chain and integrated services business, the company is uniquely positioned to produce, service and refurbish the virtual health solutions quickly and efficiently. Providers can be reassured they have the maintenance and logistics services for deploying and managing a solution this complex across their systems.
What are the other healthcare solutions the organisation plans to cater except virtual healthcare services?
Lenovo is also addressing other needs of healthcare’s highly mobile professionals. The hospital is no longer the epicenter of care delivery. Providers now care for patients in multiple settings along a lengthy care continuum, from multiple points within hospitals – nursing stations, patient rooms and treatment centers – to remote offices, outpatient facilities, and physician’s homes. To support healthcare workers’ IT needs, Lenovo offers a light, rugged and secure ThinkPad PC specially designed for healthcare environments. In addition, Lenovo offers a remote reading solution, a flexible, fully mobile diagnostic reading solution designed for radiologists, pathologists and cardiologists to provide optimal accuracy from any location.
What are the most critical healthcare challenges that the organisation would address?
Lenovo Health is focusing on virtual healthcare solutions and we now offer two – a virtual care solution and a virtual rounding solution. Both have unique benefits over traditional in-office visits.
The Lenovo virtual care solution combines trusted Lenovo hardware with advanced biometric devices and AI-powered software to coach patients through their individualized care plan and drive better overall outcomes. The remote patient monitoring solution allows clinicians to continually assess and engage with enrolled patients, reducing the need of multiple in-person visits and readmissions. Because of monitoring and coaching, virtual care also supports the development of healthy habits for patient care-plan compliance and outcomes.
The Lenovo virtual rounding solution is designed for patients in rooms at care locations such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers or long-term care facilities, it provides a reliable collaboration tool for their video conferencing needs in healthcare environment. Making hospital rounds is a valuable time for providers to check in with patients and their families, discuss diagnoses and care plans, and answer questions. Virtual rounding allows providers to remotely communicate with patients safely and efficiently, increasing their ability to reach more patients, saving critical supplies of PPE and limiting face-to-face time with patients to help better protect provider health and safety.
What future investments the company is going to make to further execute Virtual Health Strategy?
For competitive reasons, we do not divulge information about future products. We will be happy to follow up with you when we are ready to announce new solutions.