The Mayo Clinic has consolidated its emergency telemedicine services from using 11 vendors to just one as it seeks to grow its service offerings nationwide with greater efficiency and costs savings.
InTouch Health, a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based telehealth network and services vendor, has been selected to replace the myriad companies that previously provided telemedicine services from Mayo to more than 45 hospitals across nine states.
By working with only one vendor, this technology convergence will enable Mayo to create scalable, standardized services across its nationwide telehealth enterprise, according to Bart Demaerschalk, MD, medical director of synchronous services for the Mayo Clinic’s Center for Connected Care.
“We are extraordinarily excited about this initiative, which marks a defining moment for the Mayo Clinic as an institution,” says Demaerschalk. “For more than 10 years, the existing telemedicine clinical services have traditionally been conducted in a non-consolidated fashion. We are now in a position to announce the consolidation of all of these efforts.”
“Mayo Clinic doctors in neurology and pediatrics no matter where they are practicing—whether Rochester, Minn., Phoenix, Ariz., or Jacksonville, Fla.—will have a completely identical user interface at their desktop, laptop, mobile device or tablet,” adds Demaerschalk.
Before this switch, Mayo Clinic worked with many vendors as it expanded its emergency telemedicine practice, says Demaerschalk. However, he said he believes that this new strategy will enhance technical proficiency and ease of use for Mayo Clinic’s care teams, as well as create a more integrated multi-specialty emergency telemedicine program.
“Mayo Clinic doctors have been utilizing 11 different technology vendors to perform telemedicine—you can imagine the complexity that created for a large organization like ours, often with very different operations and management plans,” adds Demaerschalk. “We have now selected a single technology vendor for all acute care or emergency telemedicine services, and we have also consolidated all the operations and management. That’s going to be a massive improvement in efficiency.”
The first phase of the change will begin in late summer and continue through the first part of 2017. Demaerschalk, a neurologist, says that the initial telemedicine service lines to participate in this convergence will be tele-stroke and tele-neonatology, which currently provide care to more than 5,000 patients annually. After those services are transitioned, the change will be implemented for other clinical service lines.
Ultimately, he says the Mayo Clinic’s institutional vision is to be able to provide the “most comprehensive acute care telemedicine services that are medical and surgical to be delivered to both adults and children without regard to geography” on a national enterprise-wide level.
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