Health care delivery is shifting. As Mayo Clinic looks toward the future, its strategy emphasizes connecting patients to health care when, where and how it works best for them.
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"People want their health care to occur where they are rather than having to stop their lives to get health care," says Dr. Steve Ommen, director of Mayo Clinic's Center for Connected Care.
Mayo Clinic is developing new ways to deliver digital care that's more convenient, affordable and accessible to patients. The Center for Connected Care provides the infrastructure and tools to practice medicine in innovative ways. One way is to let providers use electronic consultations, or eConsults, rather than phone or face-to-face meetings.
"Think of it as the medical version of texting but in an official, secure way," Dr. Ommen explains.
eConsults allow a Mayo Clinic specialist to answer a provider's focused questions about diagnosis, therapy or management on an individual patient. They are convenient for patients because eConsults provide timely access to specialty expertise without requiring time and expense to travel to see the specialist.
Another way is through teleemergency video visits, which provide emergency care to patients in rural settings when Mayo Clinic specialists can't physically be there.
"We also do nonemergency video visits where a patient might have had an operation at Mayo Clinic, they're recovering at home, and rather than having them come back within three to six weeks for a wound check, we can do that by video and save that patient lots of logistic hassles," says Dr. Ommen. "This provides the opportunity for us to match the intensity of care delivery to the intensity of the need."