What does telemedicine have to do with logistics? New MedCity News article

January 18, 2019

Telemedicine has a lot of moving pieces. In many ways its challenges can be likened to the trucking or package delivery industries, which have long used the principles of logistics to organize flows within complicated webs of variables. Our CEO Adam Lichtl writes about combining this approach with artificial intelligence to help streamline and optimize operations in a telehealth setting in a new article on MedCity News.


The article, called Telemedicine Logistics: Network optimization using artificial intelligence, takes a deep dive into how approaching the telemedicine area of healthcare with a logistical mindset makes good sense. While challenges in the space still remain, such as regulatory barriers, unfavorable reimbursement models, and inconsistent coverage, the space is still predicted to grow and be worth more than $66 billion by the end of the year 2021. This is driving an exponentially growing need for smarter approaches to case routing and physician utilization.


Adam writes, “When you have hundreds of doctors, working at all different times of day at different facilities, all with their own specialties you have a ‘combinatorial explosion’ (or what we internally sometimes call a ‘big mess’). This sheer number of combinations is one of the biggest challenges in constructing facility coverage rosters and matching physicians to consults. The end goal is to operate a lean network of specialists, providing many different areas of expertise, available at all times of the day for on-demand consults. If you look at this from a purely mathematical standpoint, you can start to see the massive logistics involved in making this type of model efficient and effective.”


Artificial intelligence can help. Machines can take in massive amounts of data, understand complex coverage constraints, and then intelligently route “little packets” of physician time around the network in a way that makes the best possible logistical sense. “The real power of AI is that it enables computers to more intelligently search through all of the possible doctor, facility, consult, time, space combinations…and chart a path to the right answer.” In the case of telemedicine, this “right answer” is a lean set of rosters that ensures consult availability and low wait times, as well as ensuring doctors are well-utilized by specialty.


To read more about how AI can solve logistical challenges in a telemedicine setting, you can read the full article here: https://medcitynews.com/2019/01/telemedicine-logistics-network-optimization-using-artificial-intelligence/?rf=1

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