In this episode, Rob Havasy chats with Melynda Barnes, MD, chief medical officer for Ro, a healthcare technology company building a virtual patient-centric healthcare system. With a nationwide provider network, in-home care API, and proprietary pharmacy distribution centers, this organization connects telehealth, diagnostics, and pharmacy services to provide high-quality, affordable healthcare without the need for insurance. They operate on the belief that in 10 years, more healthcare services will be provided online or at home than in a doctor's office or pharmacy.
Havasy and Barnes discussed the platform and how it works, including their approach to collecting and analyzing patient data and creating interoperability. She described the vertically integrated model and how that builds connection and trust between patients, pharmacists and providers.
They discussed the challenges and solutions related to providing virtual patient-centric care. Barnes shared solutions for improving online communication with patients, including use of peer-to-peer support communities. She acknowledged the positive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the telehealth industry.
“Our goal has always been to meet patients where they are, where it’s more convenient and oftentimes safer for them, which is virtually and at home. We no longer have to explain the value of telehealth to people,” Barnes said.
She elaborated on how accessible patient data empowers both the patient and physician. Barnes noted she now sees a broader range of patient demographics going online for healthcare, moving beyond millennials to include older populations growing more comfortable with virtual care. She discussed the challenge of serving patients with more complex health issues and the collaboration and trust digital providers must offer.
Finally, the discussion touched on the future of point-of-care diagnostics with a focus on the successes and trends seen among digital healthcare users.
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