Telemedicine Disruptors

Why Only Disruptors Survive

We’re currently on the brink of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which will fundamentally change the way we live, work, and relate to each other.

InTouch founder and chairman Dr. Yulun Wang’s keynote address at the 2018 Telehealth Innovation Forum emphasized that the Fourth Industrial Revolution–the digital transformation of business–is being shaped almost entirely by innovative disruptors.

Dr. Wang cited many famous companies that failed to disrupt, ending up on the casualty list: Sears, Tower Records, Yellow Cab, and many more. He explained how successful companies have gone both horizontal and vertical to disrupt their industries. For example, Netflix went vertical, moving from DVD distribution to streaming to content production. Airbnb went horizontal, augmenting its lodging services with digitally-enabled travel experiences and booking to become an end-to-end trip management company.

His advice for the healthcare industry was simple. Organizations must be like the banking business. Healthcare companies should rapidly emulate what the big banks have done, by adding a virtual delivery layer on top of the brick-and-mortar layer. Many disruptors on the fringes of healthcare are already doing this with gusto. Ten years ago, you had to visit an Apple store to purchase an iPhone. Today, you can download a personal health app to that same device, which can then be seamlessly integrated into the EHR the your hospital.

Many Virtual “Front Doors”

Dr. Wang noted that physical hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices are quickly being virtualized. Nearly 80% of American healthcare consumers want this convenience and flexibility. A prime example is the University of Utah, where many physician appointments are made from a smart device.

All those entry points are expanding our healthcare networks, proving once again the wisdom of Metcalf’s Law: “a network’s value increases exponentially as the size of the network increases.” When large health systems like Providence and St. Joseph Health merge, what we’re actually seeing is the “1 + 1 = 4” effect.

The telehealth journey has evolved in a remarkable way.

Patient gets care at any time, in any location.Enabled by sophisticated networks and evidence-based care.Applying artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

We’re still only scratching the surface of what AI and machine learning can offer. The latest voice-to-text programs are able to take a clinician’s spoken notes and turn them into an EHR record, automatically generating ICD-10 and consultation codes to eliminate the drudgery of manual documentation.

Dr. Wang believes that healthcare will eventually become a “continuous self-learning system” that automatically improves efficiency, quality, and patient care beyond today’s wildest dreams. When we reach that moment, we’ll all owe a big debt to the disruptors who led the way.

Interested in hearing more about Dr. Wang’s perspective on disruption in healthcare? Watch his presentation from the 12th annual Telehealth Innovation Forum.