Jason Peoples is the Virtual Care Developer at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a member of eVideon Health’s Advisory Board. As an expert in non-traditional care delivery, he is passionate about discovering new modalities as well as the best way to use traditional “hub and spoke” models via virtual care. He also studies industry disruption in technology and ways to embrace the rise of consumerism and develop strategies to give patients the right access to the right care at the right time. He is currently developing partnerships with technology companies that can further advance unique use cases with proof of concepts using AI/ML and voice assistants. Find him on Twitter at @jjpeoples311.
You’re doing a presentation at the upcoming AMRPA conference on virtual care in rehabilitation. Can you give us a definition of virtual care?
I view virtual care as the evolution of telehealth. While telehealth has been the term used traditionally by CMS, virtual care has crossed beyond voice and video, with engagement strategies and patient monitoring, and also embracing new technologies such as wearables that incorporate wellness in non-traditional health care environments.
How have you seen virtual care evolve in the past 5 years? Where do you see it going in the next 5?
Over the last 5 years, we’ve seen a shift to value-based care and concierge medicine as consumer services. With more employers and payers encouraging HSA plans, people as patients are becoming more mindful of how and where they want to spend their money on healthcare. The technology and internet connectivity advancements have created options for different modalities for mainstream healthcare delivery as less costly options to traditional ED or Urgent Care.
You’ve done a lot of work around virtual care, and are debuting a poster on the topic, Virtual Care in Rehabilitation: Expertise within Reach. How has “expertise” been “within reach” for you personally?
For me personally, the gratification comes into play when I witness the impact of a virtual session with a patient. By minimizing the distance as a barrier for access to specialty care, virtual care provides the modality for care delivery when the person needs it the most and in the most convenient way. Specialty providers’ accessibility will continue to be problematic, especially in underserved and rural areas. With access to specialty care in small communities, patients can receive care in their home community or closer to home - minimizing the need for a costly transfer of the patient to a metropolitan area. The impact is huge and is a differentiator for the patient, healthcare system, employer and payer alike.
What’s on your technology wish list for rehabilitation?
AI/ML and voice assistants
How can other rehab hospitals adopt similar technology? What are common roadblocks? How do you navigate around those?
Awareness is key. Consumer technologies are driving innovations beyond the walls of healthcare facilities which creates a challenge. The challenge is how to acknowledge and embrace the rapid evolution but maintain a safe and secure environment with more connected devices that people expect. Be prepared to embrace emerging tech from the patient perspective and enterprise deployment tactics that don’t impede but rather enhance the patient care experience. Bring the awareness to the Risk and Compliance teams. Those resources are crucial to incorporate into the strategy for process and policy considerations early on, while encouraging outside of the box thinking. Technology will continue to evolve, driving consumer expectations.
What are you most looking forward to at the AMRPA conference?
I am most looking forward to the networking opportunities with experts in post-acute healthcare systems. There’s a rich enthusiasm with like-minded individuals and organizational leaders from around the country with a focus on what is best for the patients that are served in rehabilitation.