Cleveland Clinic sees an even bigger dose of digital healthcare coming its way in the future as the health system makes telehealth, artificial intelligence and mobile health apps an even bigger part of patient delivery.
“Most of our plans for the future will depend on a digital platform of telemedicine, data analytics and artificial intelligence,” Cleveland Clinic CEO Dr. Tom Mihaljevic told attendees during his recent state of Cleveland Clinic address to employees. “Digital technology will allow us to deliver smarter, more affordable and more accessible healthcare.”
The Cleveland Clinic launched a consumer telehealth program using American Well as its software and telehealth network vendor in September 2014. Since then, Cleveland Clinic has expanded telehealth into multiple areas—including for acute conditions—such as asthma, bronchitis, conjunctivitis, cough and cold, ear aches, flu, minor back and shoulder pain, minor burns, traumas and lacerations, rashes, sinus and related infections and for online dermatology and behavioral health.
“Telemedicine is our fastest-growing clinical offering and today, we can provide care for a variety of conditions anywhere on earth,” Mihaljevic told attendees. “We had more than 25,000 virtual visits alone last year and our vehicle for this is Express Care Online, a face-to-face app that puts you in touch from the comfort and freedom of your own home.”
The Cleveland Clinic, at the top of Internet Health Management’s 2017 Digital Hospital 500 rankings, also has ambitious plans to launch multiple forms of artificial intelligence. In 2016, Cleveland Clinic and IBM signed a five-year agreement to expand the clinic’s health information technology capabilities to better capture data and to enhance patient care across the system’s nine regional hospitals and 18 family health centers. The Clinic and IBM aim to establish a model for a health system transition to value-based care and population health, and to uncover potential standards that could be replicated by providers nationwide.
At some point this year, IBM will open a two-story, 43,000-square-foot building to house the Cleveland arm of IBM Healthcare’s data analytics enterprise. Three hundred people are expected to work in the new building, IBM says.
“The day will come when our decisions are supported by wearables, imaging, in-plants, genetic profiling, along with insights from global health trends and published research,” Mihaljevic told attendees. “This is not a future where computers will replace care givers. It is a future where we will have access to a thousand times more knowledge than we can get today from our own reading.”
Digital healthcare grew rapidly in 2017 at the Cleveland Clinic:
- The number of annual virtual visits grew 163% to 25,502 sessions from 9,700 sessions.
- In 2017, Cleveland Clinic patients booked more than 155,000 online appointments.
- More than 1 million patients accessed their electronic medical records.
- 10,500 referring physicians now use Dr.Connect, an electronic tool that gives them access to their patient’s treatment progress while at the clinic.
- More than 8 million records are now stored in the clinic’s electronic health records system.
“The Cleveland Clinic has also been an early adopter beginning with our electronic medical record,” Mihaljevic told attendees. “Now, we must take technology even more seriously and we have to go for even more transformational adoption.”
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