Susan Dentzer on Digital Medicine's Progress and Potential

Digital health programs like telehealth have already made progress in fields like mental health by expanding access and lowering costs, but there are opportunities to achieve much more in the future, according to Susan Dentzer, president and CEO of The Network for Excellence in Health Innovation.

Digital health programs like telehealth have already made progress in fields like mental health by expanding access and lowering costs, but there are opportunities to achieve much more in the future, according to Susan Dentzer, president and CEO of The Network for Excellence in Health Innovation.

Transcript (slightly modified)

Is digital health making progress on improving access and quality of care?

On access, I think, indisputably. On as big a scale as we will ultimately, who knows? But we know now with the provision of, say, telehealth, if you’re going to call that part of digital medicine which I do. Nobody wrote the ultimate definition of digital medicine, so we have to assume that it essentially means communicating on technology platforms that are digitally based. So if that’s the definition of digital medicine, what we’re seeing now is an expansion of who is able to access the system through virtual visits and other things. We see exciting things going on now with respect to mental and behavioral health in particular. We have telepsychiatry cropping up and extending the reach of the relatively small coterie of mental health providers who are psychiatrists. So clearly we’re expanding access.

It looks like we’re going to be able to save costs, save money, as we move people out of the going to the emergency department on a weekend because they can’t get to a provider. Has that been accomplished to its maximum degree nationally? No way, we have a long way to go. But I think we see if not delivery on the promises, more and more proof of concept that through digital medicine, we have the opportunity to provide truly better health and better healthcare at lower cost. Now we’ve got to seize that full opportunity.