‘We’ll have to train our providers to move to this new model, but we’ll get there’
Dr. James Mault is vice president and chief medical officer of Qualcomm Life. We spoke with him recently about the challenges facing the home health technology market today.
HHTN: Why are home health care, which has its roots in face-to-face interactions, and technology sometimes at odds?
MAULT: High-tech and high-touch are not mutually exclusive. Connectivity and technology will allow providers to spend more time with the patients who need their attention, not in quick office visits with those who are doing just fine. We’ll be able to allocate our precious health care resources to the people who need it, and move us from an episodic model of care to an intelligent, continuous care model.
HHTN: So why are providers still hesitant to embrace home health technology?
MAULT: Some devices today have no clinical validation, so providers are wary. They have to be able to trust the data. This new world is going to make better and more cost effective care. We were taught in medical school that you have to see patients face-to-face to examine them—that it was unethical if you didn’t. We’ll have to train our providers to move to this new model, but we’ll get there in time and everyone will be better for it.
HHTN: Another big challenge in home health technology is reimbursement. How do we overcome that?
MAULT: The key to unlocking reimbursement for these types of things is to show the benefits. Payers have to see that the benefits far outweigh the risks of privacy and security, and that technology allows us to be proactive about health care, rather than rushing to the emergency room when something happens.