Virtual healthcare gets real, as telehealth turns to AI

Intermountain Healthcare has expanded telehealth capabilities to create a virtual hospital. CIO Marc Probst says AI-based virtual assistants will also define the sector’s virtual future.

Virtual healthcare gets real, as telehealth turns to AI
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One day you wake up with a pain in your side that persists. You want to be seen by a medical professional, but you don't want to go through the hassle of making an appointment and schlepping to your doctor. Most large healthcare organizations now allow you to make an appointment with a physician and get observed from the comfort and privacy of your own home — via video conferencing software on your smartphone, tablet or PC.

Such "telehealth" capabilities, as they're known, have been around for several years, but they're gaining traction as the sector swivels from fee-for-service to outcomes-based care. Intermountain Healthcare, a healthcare system that operates 23 hospitals and 170 clinics in Utah and Idaho, earlier this year took the concept of telehealth to another level by launching a virtual hospital.

The digital service, Intermountain Connect Care Pro, provides people anything from basic care to advanced services such as stroke evaluation, mental health counseling and critical care for newborns, says CIO Marc Probst.

Virtual care on the rise

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