One of the themes of the 2020 JP Morgan Healthcare Conference was medical technologies, with the outbreak of COVID-19 there has been an increasing emphasis on the importance of telehealth and telemedicine. The Health Resources Services Administration defines telehealth as the use of information and computing technology for the delivery of remote healthcare access. Telemedicine is a type of telehealth and is the remote interactions between patient and provider. Telehealth connects providers and patients without physically placing them in the same room and provides them with the ability to access medical education from their homes. Telehealth also allows providers to receive remote medical training as part of their continued medical education. Administratively telehealth is utilized to increase healthcare access for all populations and improve the continuity of medical care.
There are several telehealth companies which have been founded and are currently being led by powerful women. This article will outline the major types of technology in telehealth as well as the women trailblazing this industry.
A Pioneer of Telemedicine – Ann Mond Johnson, current CEO of the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), is committed to advancing and transforming healthcare. The ATA was founded in 1993 to help improve the adoption, development and delivery of telemedicine across the United States. Of the 10 total executives at the ATA, seven of the members are women. With a remarkable 25+ year career, Ann Mond Johnson has personally founded, led and developed numerous companies which have pioneered the field of healthcare technology. From 2015-2017, Johnson served as CEO of Zest Health, a technology-enabled service that combines a mobile first solution with access to live support. The company doubled its base business in one year and is now an advisor and board member of the company. She also was Chairman of the Board at ConnectedHealth, a provider of private insurance exchanges. Her venture, Subimo was acquired by WebMD in 2006. Ann Mond Johnson has truly been one of the most successful and influential women in healthcare technology.
Next month, the ATA 2020 Annual Telehealth Conference and Expo is going 100% virtual. Some topics on this year’s agenda include Optimization of Digital Therapeutics, Changing Hospital Culture through the Implementation of a TeleNeurology Program, Validation of a wearable electromyography sensor for remote management of swallowing disorders, The Evolution of Remote Monitoring, Tele-transitions of Care: Evaluating the use of Telehealth for triple Aim Objectives. ATA2020 will address what is required to bring telehealth into practice today and what’s in store looking forward. This event will bring thought leaders together to discuss how digital health and immersive tech is shaping and accelerating the pace of adoption of telehealth.
Telemedicine Companies-Primary Care and Sick Visits – With our busy lifestyles it can often be difficult to make time to visit the doctor’s office. Instead of making a trip to the doctor’s office, patients can now log onto a website or app and be connected directly to a provider remotely without having to leave their home or office. Companies such as Maple and TytoCare are on the frontlines leading the push for better access to telemedicine.
- Maple– Conveniently named Maple for its status as a Canadian company, Maple is a telemedicine company co-founded by Roxana Zaman, Brett Belchetz and Stuart Starr. This company pairs patients to providers 24/7 across Canada. Patients are able to chat with providers over text or video and receive an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment. Unlike the United States, most insurance companies will not cover telemedicine visits, because of this Maple offers pay-per-visit or a subscription based service. For a better description of Maple’s services, please see the attached interview with co-founder Roxana Zaman.
- TytoCare- A New York City based telemedicine company with an incredibly unique product. They sell an at-home exam kit which allows the patient to have an exam completed in the comfort of their own home. The kit includes multiple instruments including tongue depressors, stethoscopes and otoscopes. Each of these instruments are digital and are manually controlled by the medical provider. When a patient needs an exam they are able to connect with a health care provider and receive a highly accurate exam during which the provider can combine visual observations through a camera with read-outs from the instruments.
Telehealth Companies- Psychiatric and Mental Health Services- Telehealth can play a huge role in improving our mental health outreach services. There is still a stigma associated with mental health disorders. Providing patients with remote access to mental health specialists may help improve treatment options.Telehealth doesn’t just have to be direct patient care, it can also be indirect services through patient education. Mend and Genoa Healthcare are both examples of companies who focus on telehealth associated mental health outreach.
- Mend- In 2017 Elle Huerta was struggling through a breakup and was determined to find a method to get through the pain. Elle took this struggle and was able to turn it into something positive, founding Mend; a community based app where individuals going through a breakup can be “coached” through their difficult time. Mend offers an app which offers daily advice to get through a breakup as well as community blogs, podcasts and professionally-taught classes assisting with post-breakup woes. Mend isn’t just meant for breakups, users can find help with any difficult life-events (loss of a loved one, loss of job). For a full interview with the Mend Founder please follow this link.
- Genoa Healthcare- This company focuses on pharmacy and telepsychiatry services and is actually the largest provider of its type in the United States. Genoa is headquartered in Washington State with offices in New York City. Genoa has a 20 person leadership team which contains 7 members who are women including Christy Barr RPh MHA and Shannon Beaudin Klein. Genoa is able to provide remote psychiatric services to over 30 states with a team of over 350 psychiatrists. This company is a leader in telemedicine with an emphasis in a medical specialty which requires immediate reform to better treat mental health disorders.
Healthcare companies are quickly realizing that there is a huge need for better access to medicine. The traditional in-office setting is no longer the best way to reach patients, there are of course instances where patients absolutely need to be seen in person, however, many times an office visit could easily be accomplished via video chat or a phone call. Telehealth is a rapidly changing field being pioneered by numerous companies and the powerful women behind them. In the coming years we may see a huge shift driven by patients, providers and insurance companies to a health care system which relies more on telehealth than it does in-office care.