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Views From ViVE: 5 Top Talking Points (So Far) in LA This Week

Analysis  |  By Eric Wicklund  
   February 27, 2024

With ViVE 2024 picking up steam this week in Los Angeles, here's what attendees are talking about

A few trends picked up during the first two days at ViVE 2024:

Telehealth isn't dead. Despite the recent struggles of Amwell and Teladoc, two of the biggest kids in the sandbox, telehealth is as popular as ever. The growth is being driven by disruptors, non-traditional providers and others who want a quick and seamless path to connect their patient/customer to a clinician.

Sheeza Hussein, chief growth officer at Steady MD, says the industry is swamped with small companies offering personal treatments for a wide variety of issues, like women's health, weight loss, behavioral health, and even pediatric care. There are also companies offering functional medicine, or testing and diagnostic services that provide a more detailed look at a chronic condition. On top of that, pharma companies are looking for telehealth platforms for consumers involved in studies, and pharmacies are looking to expand their base of services.

The end result is a market flooded with telehealth opportunities, and a challenge for health systems and hospitals trying to keep their place in the market. Jen Goldsack, CEO of the Digital Medicine Society (DiMe), says Amazon's recent launch of its chronic care platform (with Omada as its first partner) offered a clear warning sign to healthcare executives that they have to keep up—and rather than think about the disruptors as competitors, look instead for ways to collaborate.

Amwell President and CEO Roy Schoenberg, MD, MPH, moderating a panel session on the intersection of old and new ideas in healthcare, noted research that says one-quarter of all healthcare experiences will be digital by 2030.

Nurses need help. No segment of the healthcare ecosystem is more in need of new ideas and technology than nurses, who are facing the brunt of workforce shortage and stress/burnout issues. The American Telemedicine Association convened a special summit late last year on Virtual Nursing, and ViVE has its own special track this week.

The challenges are many. Nurses are retiring young or quitting. Having lived through the chaos of COVID, they're suffering from stress, and they're often at the center of competing priorities and philosophies within the hospital. New strategies for teaching the nurses of tomorrow and building the workforce are great, but unless hospitals and health systems change the environment by giving them tools to improve their workload, it won't make much of a difference.

More and more care will be in the home. The Acute Hospital Care at Home program, supported by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), took off during the pandemic and is now in place in more than 300 health systems across the country. The CMS waiver that enables organizations to get Medicare reimbursement for the program is due to expire at the end of the year, but the talk here is that CMS will extend that waiver as it seeks more data on the program's overall costs and value, especially in clinical outcomes.

That being said, the strategy won't go away. Healthcare executives are embracing remote patient monitoring (RPM) as a means of connecting with patients at home, reducing return and emergency visits, and improving chronic care management. Patient engagement and satisfaction are growing in importance as benchmarks, and patients would much prefer to stay at home, where studies have shown they tend to heal faster.

The acute care at home concept, which combines aspects of RPM and telemedicine with in-person care, will likely evolve far beyond the model being used now, regardless of reimbursement. Some health systems have already stood up their own programs independent of the CMS model and are working toward sustainability. Others are working with payers to support the program. In short, the value of the home in managing and improving care is significant.

AI moves beyond potential. This has already been said, but ViVE is proving the point. For the past year everyone has talked about the promise of AI to address and maybe even solve healthcare's biggest problems. It's time to prove that point. Many health systems have multiple AI projects up and running (some with more than 100 separate programs or uses). And they're starting to see the data that proves value. While the technology is still relatively young and there are a lot of questions to be answered around data gathering, monitoring, and especially governance, healthcare executives want to see the ROI of specific applications now.

Cybersecurity is back on the agenda. With the Optum news hanging over the convention center this week and recent studies indicating a 140% increase in data breaches over the past year, healthcare executives are once again talking about security and privacy. AI certainly plays a part in that conversation, but what's more important is the need for an industry-wide approach, supported by federal policy. The Biden administration has taken some steps to create a national framework of best practice, but the talk here is that some, if not all, of those recommendations should be mandatory.

Eric Wicklund is the associate content manager and senior editor for Innovation, Technology, and Pharma for HealthLeaders.


The ViVE 2024 conference this week in Los Angeles has drawn strong attendance from the nation's healthcare C-Suite

AI and cybersecurity are top of mind for many executives, and they want to see less talk and more action.

Health systems and hospitals are also under pressure to make their nurses happier, with strategies and technology that improve workloads and give them more time in front of patients.

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