Sachin Jain, MD, MBA, FACP, discussed what needs to happen to ensure telehealth is safe and accessible to patients post-pandemic.
Sachin Jain, MD, MBA, FACP, is the president and CEO at SCAN Group and SCAN Health Plan.
We keep hearing that “telehealth is here to stay.” What adjustments, including cybersecurity, need to happen to make telehealth a lasting part of the healthcare landscape?
Jain: I think cybersecurity is certainly a consideration when we think about telemedicine. But I also think we have to think more creatively about payment models. Right now, I think there's a strong belief in the health care industry that there's going to be a 1-to-1 conversion of inpatient visits to telemedicine visits as a result of some of the shifts we've seen during COVID-19. I'm not so convinced of that. My personal belief is that telehealth is wonderful if we actually have risk based payment models that support patients and getting care wherever and however they need it. My concern with the broad adoption of telehealth, if that becomes the dominant model of health care, is it it may result in an increase in health care costs, not a decrease in health care costs because oftentimes, the follow-up to an in-person visit that's paid on a fee-for-service basis will be an in-person visit that's paid for on a fee-for-service basis. So, you might see, as a result of telehealth, a multiplication in the number of health care services used. I personally am worried that that will create an unsustainable additional cost for the health care system, which is already so expensive. I think the adoption of telehealth has to be paired with payment reform and innovation that actually enables it and supports it and actually incents provider organizations to meet patients exactly where and how they need to be met, as opposed to paying for everything on a fee-for-service basis.