Breakout: A pathway to enterprise virtual care for health systems
Go beyond “either/or” thinking for virtual and in-person care
Judd Hollander, MD, Senior Vice President, Healthcare Delivery Innovation, Jefferson Health
Colleen Mallozzi, MBA, RN, Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Informatics Officer, Jefferson Health
Moderator: Tony Burke, Senior Vice President, Health System Partnerships, Teladoc Health
The Jefferson Health system in Philadelphia is recognized as a pioneer in the field of enterprise virtual care. Judd Hollander, MD, Thomas Jefferson’s senior vice president of healthcare delivery, has long had a leading role in guiding the organization’s virtual care efforts. In a presentation at Forum 2023, he emphasized how organizations should take a different path today than when virtual care was just emerging. Colleen Mallozzi, MBA, RN, senior vice president and chief nursing informatics officer for Jefferson Health, shared ideas for how the system will get new value from its virtual care program.
In other words, virtual and in-person care shouldn’t be considered an either/or proposition for most practice areas and treatment protocols. Today, virtual care is being used in many more ways than it was when first introduced, and there is significant overlap in whether patients can be treated virtually or in person.
Because of that overlap and virtual care’s expanding reach, Hollander advocated for creating a flexible virtual care program that can provide various types of care to a wide range of patients. But that approach has infrastructure implications. Hollander recommends taking a platform approach to healthcare, where multiple capabilities, tools and communications options are available from a single system, instead of using multiple point solutions, which would require a significant integration effort to be user friendly for practitioners and patients.
“Platform thinking means I have the ability to do what I want to do,” which supports the principle of being able to deliver care through the most appropriate channel based on the patient’s specific and immediate circumstances. “It’s much, much easier to do if all the tools I need are in one toolkit, and we don’t have to do 800,000 integrations to make that Swiss Army Knife work,” Hollander said.
Thomas Jefferson is adding inpatient virtual nursing to its toolbox, leveraging the organization’s previous investments and experience and enable it to extend virtual care in new ways.
“The true return on investment will be when we can level the playing feel by [using virtual care technology] to get into the patient room,” said Mallozzi. “This is going to help take some of the administrative responsibility off our nursing staff and off our patient care techs, so they can do what they want to be doing, which is to care for their patients.”
Inpatient virtual nursing is another example of how virtual care has expanded beyond its roots, and why it is valuable to have a flexible platform capable of supporting many types of care as organizations scale and expand.