The Digital Future of Health Care

Innovations in Virtual Care, an Interview with Intel

The Digital Future of Health Care


The Medical Director of the Center for Innovation, Douglas Wood, M.D., sat down recently with one of our Transform Sponsors, Intel, to discuss the future of virtual health care, and the role technology plays in innovation with healthcare.


Below is just a snippet of the conversation. See the full video and interview on Intel's blog here.



Intel: What is the future of virtual healthcare?

Wood: To Mayo Clinic, the future of virtual health is really the future of healthcare. Healthcare today is more illness care than anything else. Most often we wait for people to have symptoms or illnesses and then we have them come and see us in a clinic or an emergency room or a hospital. The technologies that are available now to enable virtual health can become tools for us to help people make good decisions about their health. Delivering care virtually, and in a different way from today, is really a fundamental aspect of healthcare of the future.

Intel: How do we make the transition to virtual care?

Wood: The transition from traditional models of care to virtual health is challenging for some physicians, and for some patients. After all, many physicians have been trained in a method of delivering care one person at a time during a 15-minute visit. We can be free of all of the problems related to that system by using new methods of care. Physicians should devote their time to patients who really need their expertise. For others, we could deliver care with a virtual visit or an email interaction. This gives us a chance to let physicians use their skills in the most productive way possible, and at the same time, allows patients to get their needs met in the most efficient way possible so that we don’t always make them come into the facility.

Intel: What needs to be done to make virtual care a reality?

Wood: Studies we’ve conducted showed us that physicians were really necessary for only about 6 percent of clinic interactions. A large number of the other interactions could have been provided by advanced practice nurses, physical therapists, pharmacists, dieticians, or even non-licensed people. A certain number of visits didn’t even need to occur in the context of going to a clinic. We could’ve delivered information to them at home, at school, or in the grocery store where they’re shopping. Our current system of care does not permit this to happen because we are constrained by our existing payment systems. Why should we stick to a system that creates so much generalized unhappiness when we have an opportunity to do something that would be much more satisfying, and more productive, for everybody—physicians, nurses, and patients?


Read the full interview, and watch the video on Intel's blog post here.


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