The telehealth era is upon us, and remote monitoring services (RPM) are becoming more popular than ever. What changes – from seismic shifts to minor tweaks – does telehealth bring to healthcare? How does it affect patient care in terms of quality, efficiency and affordability? 

We sat down with one of Health Tech Forward 2022 speakers Sally Ann Frank to discuss telehealth and the future of RPM.

Sally Ann Frank leads the worldwide HLS strategy, programs, and portfolio for Microsoft for Startups – an organisation that accelerates the development of innovative companies. With 20+ years in the tech industry, Sally is helping startups,  providers, payers, and life sciences companies use new technologies to meet the changing demands of the healthcare industry.  

Team Health Tech Forward: Hi Sally, it’s a pleasure to have you here! 

Let’s start our conversation with telehealth. It’s remarkable that we can see it becoming much more than just a pandemic trend. How, in your opinion, has it revolutionised healthcare and what are the benefits it brings to the table? 

Sally Ann Frank: Thank you for having me! 

Virtual care comes with multiple benefits. When used appropriately, it increases the variety of ways people can get care without having to visit an office. It meets patients where they are, which has the potential to take health equity and patient engagement to a completely next level. 

It is also a great way to reduce costs – by enabling chronic conditions to be managed at home (which means fewer visits and earlier interventions) we can prevent major complications and more expensive treatments.

And then, there are also benefits for the medical professionals. Telehealth frees up their time for more complicated care, while routine care and triage can easily be performed in a telehealth setting. 

Team Health Tech Forward: It’s no secret that telehealth adoption naturally comes with certain security risks. What are the most effective ways to tackle the existing security risks, and whose responsibility is that?

Sally Ann Frank: I believe security is everyone’s responsibility.

Patients must keep passwords, account information, and other details private. 

Medical device companies need to ensure that their devices are hack-proof and update the security of the devices as soon as new threats emerge, or ideally, in anticipation of threats.

Providers should work closely with their patients, medical device vendors, and IT staff to ensure that the systems gathering and storing patient data are secure. 

Additionally, CIOs and CISOs should remain vigilant to both security breaches and ransomware attacks. This usually requires a provider to rely on outside security vendors to constantly look for vulnerabilities in APIs, devices, computer operating systems and networks.

Team Health Tech Forward:  Apart from security issues, what are some other challenges facing the RPM market? 

Sally Ann Frank: Unlike other industries, healthcare is taking longer to digitise. Many providers are still moving to the cloud, which makes RPM quite challenging. Thus, the infrastructure we need, to effectively and securely monitor patients remotely, is not yet available in all areas.

Team Health Tech Forward: In what ways do you think RPM solutions can be helpful for small practices and independent doctors?

Sally Ann Frank: I’d say RPM solutions can be really helpful in terms of scaling with large amounts of non-critical patients. 

Team Health Tech Forward: Could you share a few examples of the actions that Microsoft for Startups is taking to pave the way for increased adoption of telehealth and RPM devices worldwide?

Sally Ann Frank: Sure! I’ll tell you about some of our startups that are making a difference. 

We’ve already discussed cyber threats that healthcare organisations find challenging to address with existing IT cybersecurity solutions. Microsoft startup, Cynerio gives CISOs full control over the security of their connected clinical engineering and IoT ecosystem, ensuring data protection and patient safety.

Another startup, Recuro, aims to transform healthcare from reactive and disease-focused into personalised and proactive. They’ve designed their platform with patients in mind: to help them manage care, identify health issues early and maintain well-being on an ongoing basis.

Team Health Tech Forward: Thank you for so many insightful observations, Sally. It was great talking to you!


Learn more about Cynerio:

Learn more about Recuro:

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