Nowadays, everyone in healthcare is talking telemedicine… except for maybe Dr. Bryan Vartabedian, Chief Medical Officer of Texas Children's Hospital North Austin, founder of 33 Charts, author of several books, and a previous Resonance Test guest, who prefers the term “remote care.” He finds it a flexible term because it encompasses more than the conventional idea of care through a screen. One can certainly provide remote care via phone call, text, or email.
“It’s important to think about the different modalities of remote care because different circumstances call for different modalities,” Vartabedian tells our Jonathon Swersey on the latest episode of The Resonance Test.
But the challenge is not just about the varieties of treatment—there’s also the matter of training. Vartabedian says “We have this embarrassment of riches of technology,” adding that much of this tech is doled out to providers “without any real instruction or discussion or dialogue about how we're going to use these tools.”
Problems arise when providers use “the wrong tool for the wrong problem” and “things get really kind of challenging and difficult.”
And let’s not get started on the data! “There's this constant stream of information, and the challenge for us is: How do we harness that? How do we consolidate that to certain times of the day? It's almost a design problem,” Vartabedian says, sounding very much like a designer.
This fine conversation skis around the idea of data governance, training patients to use MyChart messaging, the difficulty of setting universal standards for communication tools. They talk about what’s been gained (access) and lost (human connection) in a remote-first world. They talk about being sensitive to the interests of the end user. They talk about the importance of touch in the examination process: “It's a form of communication,” says Vartabedian.
It's a deep, informed, and at times personal conversation about how going remote has changed the face of healthcare for practitioners. Get close to their dialogue by clicking below.
Host: Kenji Ross
Engineer: Kyp Pilalas
Producer: Ken Gordon