The virtual hospital is telehealth on steroids.

Medically Home’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Pippa Shulman, DO, MPH discusses the Medically Home model with Dr. Jamie Skipper, RN CEO of Elevation Health Consulting.

Skipper, “Tell me about Medically Home.”

Shulman, “As a physician my dream was always to figure out a way to bring care closer to patients and so Medically Home is the world’s first virtual hospital. We are actually able to create all of the complex care that you would receive in a hospital right in the comfort and safety of your own home.”

Skipper, “So is this telehealth?”

Shulman, “This is telehealth on steroids. So yes, telehealth is one tool we use to provide the care. That allows me to be able to see the patient, see into their home, and assess what’s going on but we also use monitoring technology and a proprietary software platform to be able to not just coordinate the care but deliver goods and services to the home in a time frame that matches what you’d receive in a hospital.”

Skipper, “That’s really interesting. So now what does this mean for the future of how we can think about our health and even wellness?”

Shulman, “I think we’ve lived under the assumption that centralization of healthcare in hospitals and healthcare centers is somehow going to add efficiency. And if there’s one thing that we’ve learned from companies like Amazon it’s that centralization is not necessary and that in fact you can provide very high quality care right where the patient is whether it’s virtual primary care visits or having patients get asynchronous opinions on issues that they have or hospital care in their homes and we can provide this very high quality care at a savings to the system as well as for patients this is their home where they’re safe and comfortable. You have lower rates of delirium and infection and falls and better recovery.”

Skipper, “So tell me the type of patients that you’re focusing on. Are you focusing on all different types of patients? Are you focusing on more of the chronic care community or are you thinking about prevention? Tell me more about how you’re looking at health.”

Shulman, “That’s a great question. For us the first patients that we targeted were patients who were at high risk for hospitalization, so who have acute exacerbation of chronic disease such as heart failure or lung disease. But now we’ve started looking at this platform can be used for patients who are undergoing cancer treatment. To be able to provide supportive care for them during their treatment to avoid the hospital and avoid urgent care visits. And then you really open the doors to thinking about other populations. We’ve begun to wonder, what about children who need hospitalization? Women who are on bed rest for pregnancy?  There’s a whole future out there of being able to bring care to our patients where they want it.”

Skipper, “That’s really important, that’s really exciting. Tell me about some of the partnerships and some of the exciting things that you’re already doing right now.”

Shulman, “We are partnering both with large health systems to help them develop their own hospital in the home programs but also working with the payer community to make sure that this is reimbursed well. I came from the health system world. I was a practicing primary care physician. I’ve worked in really almost all settings; in patient, house calls, the SNF, (skilled nursing facility), so I understand how you have to partner with the system and provide benefit for the patient but also for the system.”

Skipper, “Well that’s wonderful. And so as you’re partnering and thinking about bringing in a lot of these technologies into the home, what’s a parting message that you’d like to share with the CES community about maybe partnerships that you can have with folks that are here or even a grander concept of how people should be thinking about the Medical Home?”

Shulman, “I think your number one partnership should be with your patient. Who are you designing the solution for? That’s your patient and they should be at the center of it. So that when your patient is receiving care, when they are interacting with your technology, your technology should actually fade into the background. Because what you want to do is enhance the compassion and the care and the human connection. That’s what leads to healing.”

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