November 25, 2020, 9:20 am News Staff -- Before COVID-19, only 13% of AAFP members had provided virtual patient visits. By May 2020, 94% were doing so regularly. Telehealth has the potential to transform the health care experience, particularly for elderly patients, those with chronic conditions and people in remote areas, and it has become increasingly clear that patients will demand continued access to telehealth even after the pandemic recedes.
Whether you’re in a solo or small practice trying to grow a sustainable telehealth operation, or you’ve been tasked with leading telehealth efforts in your large practice, an upcoming AAFP webinar can give you the information you need to make the right decisions for your practice and patients.
The webinar is supported, in part, by a grant from Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A. Inc.
“How and Why to Grow Telehealth In Your Practice,” which will air from 4-5 p.m. EST on Dec. 4, promises to give participants insight into the current state of telehealth use in family medicine ― including through on-the-ground narratives shared by FP colleagues ― as well as a glimpse of the likely road forward for telehealth in primary care.
The webinar will also feature a new, free resource the AAFP developed in partnership with webinar host Manatt Health, an interdisciplinary health policy and business strategy advisory division of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, one of the nation’s preeminent health care law and consulting firms.
That resource, A Toolkit for Building and Growing a Sustainable Telehealth Program in Your Practice, covers various topics related to starting, maintaining or expanding telehealth in practice, such as
Family physicians and other interested stakeholders are invited to register now for the live webinar, which will be recorded and available for AAFP members-only viewing after the live event. Keep an eye on the Academy’s COVID-19 Telehealth webpage for that link.
AAFP Vice President and Chief Medical Informatics Officer Steven Waldren, M.D., M.S., will lead the discussion. He is a nationally recognized expert in health IT, with more than 15 years of experience in this area. Before joining the Academy, Waldren was a National Library of Medicine Medical Informatics Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Missouri, Columbia, where he earned a master’s degree in medical informatics. He has held key positions in leading national health IT organizations such as the National Quality Forum and Certification Commission for Health Information Technology.
In 2018, Waldren was tapped to spearhead a far-ranging informatics project for the AAFP that initially focused on relieving EHR burdens for family physicians and has since expanded to explore how cutting-edge technologies can be harnessed and fine-tuned to benefit primary care medical practice. Known as the Innovation Laboratory, this effort involves partnering with industry to drive innovation using the latest proven technologies ― cloud, artificial intelligence/machine learning, voice and mobile technologies ― to optimize the family medicine experience.
Waldren will be joined during the webinar by three other family physicians with diverse backgrounds in health IT, who will outline their experiences using telehealth in their respective practices:
“I am excited that our webinar has both national experts in the field as well as innovative family physicians from the front lines,” Waldren noted.
In addition, Jared Augenstein and Edith Coakley Stowe, both directors for Manatt Health, will join the four physicians during the webinar to highlight the AAFP’s new Telehealth Toolkit and share their own experiences.
The webinar comes at a critical time for the U.S. health care system, as the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked widespread technological innovation and investment that, according to Waldren, can’t realistically be walked back.
“All evidence points us to a future in family medicine which has virtual care as an important component of delivering care,” he said. “Members need to be thinking how they will incorporate telehealth in their practice as we emerge from this current pandemic.
“I am confident that health care will not be going back to pre-pandemic levels of low telehealth.”
Register today for the webinar, and be sure to mark your calendar for the Dec. 4 event.