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Medication Management, Drug Interactions, and AI with Varun Goyal
Episode 1115th July 2022 • A Virtual View • Upper Midwest Telehealth Resource Center
00:00:00 00:29:14

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Danielle and Cam speak with Varun Goyal, CEO of Illuminate Health. Varun talks about how better medication management via tele-pharmacy decreases adverse reactions to medications, the future of tele-pharmacy, and the applications of Artificial Intelligence in the field.

“I think in terms of the future of telehealth it is going to be the mix of a hybrid care model based on preferences on the provider and patient side, clinical protocols, insurance companies, and reimbursement of course will have a role there. But talking about the future can’t be truly complete without mentioning AI. How do we customize the time with a pharmacist? How do we let technology make the first pass and have pharmacists really focus on what needs to be done?”

Transcripts

Varun:

I think in terms.

Varun:

The future of telehealth it's gonna be a mix of the, hybrid care models based on

Varun:

preferences on provider, patient side, clinical protocols, insurance companies

Varun:

and reimbursement will have a role there.

Varun:

And then of course this conversation would be incomplete without mentioning

Varun:

AI How do we optimize the time of a pharmacist ? How do we let technology

Varun:

take a first pass and have pharmacists really focus in on what needs to be done.

Triston:

Welcome to a virtual view where we talk about tele-health

Triston:

healthcare and everything in between.

Danielle:

we're joined today by Varon Goyle the CEO and co-founder of

Danielle:

illuminate health to discuss telepharmacy and medication management platforms.

Danielle:

Thank you so much for joining us today.

Varun:

You bet, Daniel, thanks for having me on.

Danielle:

Yeah.

Danielle:

Could you give us a quick overview of your background?

Varun:

Absolutely.

Varun:

Yeah I'm an engineer by background and, just spent a large amount of my career in

Varun:

designing software solutions for different companies and in various industries.

Varun:

And gravitated towards healthcare over time, just given how complex

Varun:

it is and, seemed to be behind the tech adoption curve if you will.

Varun:

So yeah, we're no business school for healthcare and been working in healthcare,

Varun:

starting out with a role with a company called Hillrom in Ville, Indiana.

Varun:

Did that for a couple of years in medical devices and then moved

Varun:

up to working close to Carmel at a company called avail in revenue cycle.

Varun:

Management and really understanding the reimbursement side of healthcare

Varun:

from a provider perspective, as well as a health plan perspective.

Varun:

And that's when we had some personal experiences with the medication

Varun:

errors that led us to start thinking about med management and how can

Varun:

we offer a better experience.

Varun:

So that's a little bit about my background.

Danielle:

Did that naturally lead into telehealth or was that something you

Danielle:

specifically knew that you wanted to bring the medication management into.

Varun:

So really, the piece that was interesting to me is that in this day

Varun:

and age, we were having an experience like this, where, we were getting

Varun:

prescribed the wrong medication or.

Varun:

Being prescribed a medication despite documented side effects to

Varun:

a medication or allergic reactions.

Varun:

We started looking at tools on the market that consumers like us could

Varun:

use, and didn't find anything with, I'll call it clinical intelligence

Varun:

or true value if you will.

Varun:

And and so around that time, I met my co-founder Kal.

Varun:

Looking at my background, he started talking to me about all his issues,

Varun:

managing his own meds and unexpected side effects and this and that.

Varun:

So we had this meeting of the minds where we said, we've talked to enough people.

Varun:

We've seen the statistics out there around what's called adverse drug events.

Varun:

Where it's either a medication error or other reason.

Varun:

And a lot of them are preventable.

Varun:

And so we need to do something about this, so that's how we started thinking about.

Varun:

And really focusing in on the medication safety piece, but then

Varun:

the confusion piece even for someone like me, I was taking an antibiotic.

Varun:

I think it was CIN where, because I was researching this project, I

Varun:

sat and read through the pamphlet that comes from the pharmacy.

Varun:

Which most people don't it's full of medical jargon.

Varun:

I also needed a magnifying lens to read the small font.

Varun:

But I realized that I should not be taking the medication within

Varun:

two hours of having a meal.

Varun:

Otherwise it makes the medicine less effective and I'm like,

Varun:

why would no one tell me that?

Varun:

Stuff like that gets to me.

Varun:

And of course, we've all seen our.

Varun:

Parents and grandparents age and struggle with, managing the 10 meds.

Varun:

And everyone's confused when and how do I take these 10 meds?

Varun:

Do I have to take today?

Varun:

So that's the way we came to where we are because , over time, we started

Varun:

relying on our neighborhood pharmacist.

Varun:

To be honest with you.

Varun:

And so that's how the thesis came together.

Varun:

We said, okay, it'd be satisfying for us.

Varun:

If we could use technology to simplify med management for the average, Joe.

Varun:

And put the pharmacist at the helm of driving that patient care,

Varun:

because, there's such a medication expert and quite the underutilized

Varun:

resource underrecognized.

Danielle:

Pharmacists are frequently overlooked as a healthcare professional.

Danielle:

And I think that's very interesting how you took your own personal

Danielle:

experiences, as well as just looking at the needs of what was out there and

Danielle:

then moving forward with this project.

Varun:

Really what we are trying to do is provide medication management

Varun:

as a service led by pharmacists, but enabled by technology.

Varun:

And that's where that telehealth piece comes in, where, we want

Varun:

everyone to have easy access.

Varun:

To, to the right information at the right time.

Varun:

Not just digital resources, but then, the consults, the interventions that a

Varun:

pharmacist can do the education piece.

Varun:

So that's how we've been thinking about it and we started out more

Varun:

on the patient side, looking at the challenges they have as we discussed.

Varun:

Our recent focus given that, we are connecting the pharmacist with patient.

Varun:

Has been on the pharmacist tools as well.

Varun:

How do we make it easy for pharmacists to really focus on, patient care

Danielle:

Exactly.

Danielle:

So we talked a little bit about the risks and benefits, but are there specific

Danielle:

risks that exist in maybe a traditional healthcare setting that doing this

Danielle:

through telehealth sort of mitigates.

Varun:

which is what they're passionate about doing?

Varun:

Absolutely.

Varun:

So the obvious benefit of telehealth is the access, right?

Varun:

The convenience, the ease of being able to consult with a healthcare professional

Varun:

cost also, comes into play in terms of having that access as well as timing, so

Varun:

with telehealth, you can, potentially even just talk to your provider right away.

Varun:

And so that's.

Varun:

The a similar benefit from our perspective, in terms of more of that

Varun:

pharmacy care management side of things that it's just accessing timely help.

Danielle:

And is this something where having this information more

Danielle:

readily available to patients?

Danielle:

Is that something that impacts health literacy at all?

Varun:

Oh, absolutely.

Varun:

Yeah.

Varun:

And in fact that's a huge reason.

Varun:

Why we designed our solution this way.

Varun:

We wanted to take some of that work off self care, off the plate

Varun:

of either the patient themselves or maybe the family . Caregiver.

Varun:

And as I shared recently, even the pharmacist and so a lot of the way

Varun:

we've designed our, tech platform.

Varun:

And approach is to improve health literacy because as majority of Americans,

Varun:

do not have the health literacy.

Varun:

I think the last statistic I read was was it 80% do not or

Varun:

something drastic like that.

Varun:

We focus a lot on, when is the right time to take a given medication?

Varun:

And how do you take the medication and so on.

Varun:

So that's a big aspect of improving that.

Varun:

Let's call it medication literacy, and then, we can we configure the daily

Varun:

routine and care plan if you will specific to the patient's condition.

Varun:

So that's where some of the disease education comes in as well.

Varun:

And hence, all of it goes hand in terms of increasing health literacy.

Varun:

Cuz now they've got the educational references and the mobile app for

Varun:

the patient or the family caregiver, prompting them, educating them,

Varun:

engaging them while also providing easy access to a pharmacist.

Varun:

When they have a question apart from the scenarios where pharmacists

Varun:

would proactively reach out to.

Danielle:

I do think it's interesting that you mentioned like family caregivers, cuz

Danielle:

I know that a population that is very dependent on medication is aging adults.

Danielle:

And that's a population that again, may not have that health literacy.

Danielle:

So I think we talk about involving family caregivers and that kind of stuff.

Danielle:

And is that something that is made easier through a telehealth platform like this.

Varun:

Absolutely.

Varun:

You think about, the caregiver burden as it's called of taking care.

Danielle:

Right.

Varun:

A loved one.

Varun:

It's real, these people are trying to manage somewhat of a professional life

Varun:

if it's still possible, along with other aspects of, family home and more.

Varun:

And our approach is really, how do we simplify?

Varun:

How do we take something off their plate and just make it super easy

Varun:

for them to just know that, okay.

Varun:

Cameron this is the pill you need to give.

Varun:

Your loved one at this time, and this is what it looks like.

Varun:

And by the way, give it with a full glass of water.

Varun:

And just check it off that you gave it.

Varun:

So it's stuff like that.

Varun:

And then, if, yeah, if they have a side effect or some question, Cameron

Varun:

can now just just chat message the question and the pharmacist can

Varun:

respond in a timely manner as compared to Cameron having to call multiple

Varun:

places or having the doctor respond within 24 hours and stuff like that.

Cameron:

Yeah.

Cameron:

That's interesting point too, when you're talking about, how can we.

Cameron:

Improve access as well, health literacy, as well as take some of the burden

Cameron:

off of some of the caregivers who are working directly with those patients.

Cameron:

And one of the big barriers with that is, during the COVID 19 pandemic in

Cameron:

telemedicine appointments, providers were able to prescribe directly to patients.

Cameron:

Now we don't have anything set in stone.

Cameron:

However, it seems to be trending back to, once the COVID 19 pandemic ends,

Cameron:

that, the ability to be able to prescribe medication to patients via telemedicine

Cameron:

appointment may be in jeopardy.

Cameron:

From your perspective, and just, working with patients for telepharmacy, what's

Cameron:

some of the benefits of, being able to.

Cameron:

Be prescribed the medication via telemedicine appoint.

Varun:

You know, back to the point you made earlier, Cameron, I it's more

Varun:

of the controlled substances, right?

Varun:

That there, needs to be more scrutiny around because unfortunately there's

Varun:

the good side and the bad side of it.

Varun:

Just like everything else.

Varun:

I absolutely, otherwise support the the prescribing over telehealth, again, from

Varun:

the standpoint of ease the convenience, the access but obviously, it's a mix.

Varun:

Clinical protocols in terms of, does a provider need to actually

Varun:

examine you physically in order to comfortably prescribe something as

Varun:

well as, patient preferences now where.

Varun:

Yeah, let's say that I might be able to get my prescription over telehealth,

Varun:

but I'm just used to wanting to see the provider face to face in person.

Varun:

And that's just my comfort level.

Varun:

So it's, I think we're at that cusp of like you said, where

Varun:

telehealth's utilization just, skyrocketed early in the pandemic.

Varun:

And then now it's wanna call it plateaued to some degree or come back to maybe.

Varun:

Could be the new normal, but I think people are still trying to

Varun:

figure out what is that right.

Varun:

Hybrid care model

Varun:

where,

Cameron:

We've had the most use cases with the most variety of telehealth

Cameron:

services that we've ever had in the past.

Cameron:

And we did that in a panic during the pandemic, cuz that was the only

Cameron:

way we could roll out care to people.

Cameron:

But now we're moving into this stage where.

Cameron:

Does this particular type of service or this particular activity that

Cameron:

we're doing with a patient make sense to do in a virtual format?

Cameron:

Is it better to do in person?

Cameron:

Is it better to do virtual?

Cameron:

Is it okay?

Cameron:

Both ways?

Cameron:

so we're kind of in this weird limbo spot where we're still looking at a lot

Cameron:

of different things to see, what's gonna be the method that makes most sense.

Cameron:

And it's interesting, you brought up patient choice.

Cameron:

I think that's gonna become a much.

Cameron:

Bigger deal with care, that's gonna drive what a lot of change will look like in

Cameron:

either these virtual first, in person or hybrid what are patients choosing?

Cameron:

So if they really want certain services using tele behavioral health, as an

Cameron:

example, To be predominantly virtual.

Cameron:

That's gonna change the landscape of what behavioral healthcare

Cameron:

will look like in the future.

Varun:

Absolutely.

Varun:

Yeah.

Cameron:

But if people maybe are seeking out care for a different

Cameron:

condition and they prefer to be seen in person and that's what

Cameron:

majority of the people are doing.

Cameron:

That's also gonna impact that service line.

Cameron:

So it's gonna be interesting to see, how some of those things shake out.

Cameron:

But even within the realm of telepharmacy, what do those protocols look like?

Cameron:

When it comes to prescribing controlled substances to patients and what

Cameron:

would be the most effective approach I think is something that a lot of

Cameron:

people still have on their mind and are trying to figure out, sorry.

Danielle:

So we talk about patient choice and patient preference, and I

Danielle:

think it gets very interesting when we get into the realm of populations that

Danielle:

maybe don't have the same access to services things like rural populations.

Danielle:

We work a lot with those, or like I said, populations that

Danielle:

are aging in place and maybe.

Danielle:

Can't get to a provider.

Danielle:

I think telehealth and medication management platforms could be a very

Danielle:

good sort of avenue for those folks who maybe don't have the luxury of choice

Danielle:

to have access to these services.

Varun:

Absolutely.

Varun:

, transport and the distances to your point is such a big challenge.

Varun:

From that perspective, I think what's been interesting in the last couple

Varun:

of years is just seeing that tech adoption, if you will, where, up to

Varun:

a large degree, it's just smartphone access used to be a challenge.

Varun:

Thankfully the Medicaid plans, states and others have made smart phones available

Varun:

or tablets in some cases for folks on.

Varun:

And then even the tech savviness has really come up on the learning

Varun:

curve over the pandemic, because everyone's had to adopt to zoom or

Varun:

whatever it might be whether for work or, stay in touch with their family.

Varun:

And so I think, we've come a long way in terms of that infrastructure

Varun:

and that digital literacy piece.

Varun:

Of course, still room to grow, especially in the aging population,

Varun:

but I think that's where back to.

Varun:

Conversation about the family caregivers, that becomes more relevant

Varun:

where, maybe it, it is that grandson or wife or someone who's helping

Varun:

the the person with technology.

Varun:

Which of course has, become much more simplified than

Varun:

what it used to be as well.

Varun:

So I think that's really the way we see this going in terms of,

Varun:

the rural populations as well.

Varun:

And same with the providing value to providers in, in the rural health

Varun:

setting as well, where, even they don't have the same level of resources.

Varun:

And how can a service like ours provide value to the provider who's already,

Varun:

overworked burned out potentially.

Varun:

Where, we can take on some of the work of med management, medication education

Varun:

and even some of the care coordination that it's involved in, what's called a

Varun:

medication reconciliation where, we're trying to verify that this patient who

Varun:

was just discharged from a hospital back to their home environment,

Varun:

what is their latest and greatest medication list that they should be.

Varun:

Because they had meds going into the hospital and then now

Varun:

they have new meds as well.

Varun:

And even those aspects so that we can then share an updated medication list

Varun:

with the provider, with the family, caregiver, and patient just is,

Varun:

we've heard is tremendously valuable.

Varun:

Yeah.

Danielle:

yeah, in my own personal experience, I've had family members

Danielle:

with chronic health issues, and I know that even just finding.

Danielle:

A complete list of all of those medications can be a real task.

Danielle:

And even after that of figuring out what the interactions and the different side

Danielle:

effects to be on the lookout for are, can be something that's very difficult without

Danielle:

the aid of some sort of platform or having a pharmacist like readily available.

Cameron:

I think even with that, we've seen some and you can correct

Cameron:

me if I'm wrong, or if I'm making this up, I probably need to go.

Cameron:

Get a patent for this, but uh, I've seen commercials for, this machine where

Cameron:

you can put multiple medications in it and you can put settings so that for

Cameron:

individuals know the particular cadence.

Cameron:

Or time of day that they're supposed to be taking certain medications.

Cameron:

Now, granted, those are helpful and those can be a, something to

Cameron:

use as an assist, but it still doesn't help you with interactions.

Cameron:

I'm.

Cameron:

Pretty sure they don't tell you.

Cameron:

Yeah.

Cameron:

You need to eat before you take this medication and some more of

Cameron:

the specifics with that, and I'm sure the barrier to entry as far as

Cameron:

cost for those are not cheap either.

Cameron:

So we've seen, some of those, that are supplements, but not

Cameron:

really quite a complete solution to really help people with that.

Cameron:

You really do have to have that engage.

Cameron:

With a healthcare professional that knows those medications and can

Cameron:

really educate that patient to really see positive results, long term.

Varun:

Yeah, that's a great point, Cameron, cuz essentially, what you're

Varun:

referring to is, is covering sort of one aspect of the challenge, right?

Varun:

But there's still other aspects, whether it's the consultation with

Varun:

the pharmacist or closing the loop with your doctor or whatever it might

Varun:

be where, a lot of us have to work.

Varun:

Together nicely or so even on our advisory board, we've got Dr.

Varun:

Aiden Fang who, who actually came from a company that did

Varun:

those home dispensing devices.

Varun:

Really Neat looking robotic device and, dispenses medications on time and so on.

Varun:

And yeah, there's, a couple of others in the market, but yeah, to your point

Varun:

it provides part of the solution.

Varun:

And the cost of entry, is huge, which, over time, yeah.

Varun:

Time will tell, will help plans wanna pay for this, as a standard.

Varun:

Issue or standard protocol along with then what are the wraparound

Varun:

services, the actual medications being delivered, so they can be loaded into

Varun:

the device and, all kinds of these other things that, that go into this.

Danielle:

Yeah.

Danielle:

And we talk about all these different solutions not just the hardware ones,

Danielle:

but all the different software stuff too.

Danielle:

And I know in telehealth as a whole, and I'm sure in telepharmacy there's

Danielle:

an issue with interoperability.

Danielle:

Is that something you ever face in your work?

Varun:

Absolutely.

Varun:

The good news is that there's legislation now in terms of, what's being called the

Varun:

in, information blocking that's, trickling down the pipes and, providers, health

Varun:

plans are working on making, are, consumer health information available more freely.

Varun:

So we've got a couple of different approaches.

Varun:

We essentially try and work with.

Varun:

Data.

Varun:

Every time we're starting to work with a health plan, that's our source of truth.

Varun:

If you will.

Varun:

Anything we can get from the providers is fantastic.

Varun:

Along with, whatever the patient might have as their record, if you will.

Varun:

And that's also the beauty of telehealth because now, the patient can just bring

Varun:

all their meds from the medicine cabinet.

Varun:

Put them on the table right now here, and our pharmacist can see on the camera.

Varun:

Okay.

Varun:

I see this is what, so I think interoperability is

Varun:

an interesting one, I think.

Varun:

Yeah.

Varun:

Lots to be done there.

Varun:

But thankfully, again, things are moving the right direction.

Varun:

But but honestly, I think the value of service like this also.

Varun:

The fact that you're not just relying on technology so we started a few years

Varun:

ago with a ton of mobile apps, right?

Varun:

There's an app for this half for that.

Varun:

However, engaging you make a kind of freestanding mobile app, people may

Varun:

continue or may not continue to use it.

Varun:

Research has shown that if you've got a trusted clinician, monitoring what

Varun:

you're doing in the mobile app, right?

Varun:

Are you taking your meds?

Varun:

Are you reporting on your symptoms and side effects and this and that then

Varun:

that engagement and that compliance is a lot higher because as you would

Varun:

expect, it's you know, that, oh, pharmacist, Joe is watching out for

Varun:

me and taking this into account as part of the care decisions for me.

Varun:

So I'm gonna be better about, keeping track of these things.

Varun:

So I think that also to me is a huge value prop for telehealth service.

Danielle:

I feel like with telehealth, we get very caught up in the shiny

Danielle:

new technology aspect of that.

Danielle:

And sometimes forget that there is a lot of value, obviously in

Danielle:

still having medical providers and medical professionals.

Danielle:

Be a part of that and that a great value of telehealth is to just connect

Danielle:

with those folks, not just to have a fancy camera, what have you, but

Danielle:

is to provide those connections and to provide that consistent care?

Cameron:

And I think with

Varun:

Yeah, for sure.

Varun:

The additional tools.

Varun:

So what's that saying, right?

Varun:

The best technology should not be in, in your environment, it should

Varun:

just be the background if you will.

Varun:

So technology is just the enabler.

Varun:

It can help prompt it can, help you track, give more insight and do how you're doing.

Varun:

But it's healthcare.

Varun:

We need that human touch, that human contact.

Varun:

So absolutely.

Cameron:

you can.

Cameron:

Catch some of these drug interactions a lot quicker It's

Cameron:

not a one size fits all approach.

Cameron:

Each patient is gonna interact with a drug differently.

Cameron:

That's usually why there's a little bit of trial and error, even when you're trying

Cameron:

a new drug for the first time, you don't know exactly how your body's gonna react.

Cameron:

So being able to have, that open line of communication with a pharmacist to

Cameron:

begin with is gonna be really valuable.

Cameron:

But, for some of our listeners who maybe Aren.

Cameron:

Very knowledgeable about,

Cameron:

what do drug interactions really look like?

Cameron:

So how does that impact a patient?

Cameron:

Or how does that impact their health outcomes if they are having

Cameron:

some of these drug interactions.

Varun:

Yeah, absolutely.

Varun:

A drug interaction could present itself as a very mild, let's say symptom like

Varun:

nausea or stomach upset or something.

Varun:

But unfortunately some of the severe drug interactions could, lead you

Varun:

to have to go to the ER right away.

Varun:

Unfortunately, the debts are also part of the system when it comes to that.

Varun:

And there's multiple aspects of adverse drug events as they're

Varun:

called, there's drug interactions.

Varun:

Yes.

Varun:

But then there's also.

Varun:

Is this dosage of medication appropriate, given the patient's,

Varun:

gender, age, weight, things like that.

Varun:

Is there a duplication of therapy going on where it's not just the same drug

Varun:

that's being prescribed twice and being taken twice, but the same category of

Varun:

drug where maybe the patient is not able to see that, at drug a and drug.

Varun:

So they're different, but they're the same category.

Varun:

And so they're still causing that duplication.

Varun:

So there's multiple aspects of this that, folks have to watch out for, I think

Varun:

and then there's the allergies, where, I might be allergic to self on drugs

Varun:

for example, or, whatever it might be.

Varun:

And then, even food.

Varun:

Interactions to some degree, grapefruit juice, for example, with a lot of

Varun:

medications, is suggested not to have, or, definite not to have.

Varun:

And then, back to your earlier comment, Cameron, I.

Varun:

Knowing, which medication's gonna work better.

Varun:

I think especially in behavioral health, is a tough one for prescribers to know,

Varun:

Hey, which medicine do I start with?

Varun:

And then there's conditions where you need more frequent sort of monitoring

Varun:

and tight trading of the medication, so adjusting a dose based on how today

Varun:

is versus yesterday and so forth.

Varun:

So hence.

Varun:

More and more the access we at telehealth and that continued sort of engagement

Varun:

model versus a once and done, let's say medication consult, if you will.

Varun:

Makes sense.

Varun:

And last but not least, I think where, pharmaco genomics now can

Varun:

play a role as the markers are getting more and more accurate.

Varun:

Isn't exactly what you said, in informing some of those prescribing decisions.

Varun:

Which medication is gonna be processed better by patient

Varun:

Veron versus, Cameron and so on.

Varun:

So I think yeah, it's an exciting time.

Cameron:

Yeah, and this is, and I'm gonna apologize for my ignorance

Cameron:

with that, but I have heard of.

Cameron:

Being able to test to see, genetically which medications

Cameron:

are gonna be best for you.

Cameron:

I met that with a little bit of skeptic skepticism if I was being honest, but

Cameron:

just curious from your perspective, where are we at when it comes to that

Cameron:

genetic linkage when it comes to certain medications and the effectiveness.

Varun:

Yeah, no, absolutely.

Varun:

And I was in the same boat, I wanna say about four years ago, when, one

Varun:

really started hearing about gen genomics and genetic testing, especially

Varun:

with 23 NME and others, right?

Varun:

The consumer facing marketing was big in, back.

Varun:

Time, if you will.

Varun:

But but more specifically, the pharmacogenomic side of it has

Varun:

really come a long way as well.

Varun:

In, in those years, because not only can your, gen general sort of profile be

Varun:

valuable for a physician while they're making prescribing decisions or for

Varun:

a pharmacist when they're helping you optimize your medication therapies.

Varun:

But then now you can have focus testing from a pharmacogenomic

Varun:

profile perspective as well.

Varun:

You.

Varun:

Focused on a few conditions that, the FDA and CDC have said that yes, these

Varun:

are, pretty accurate and worth reviewing.

Varun:

So I would absolutely, recommend that at this point.

Varun:

Obviously there's a variance in terms of, the vendors that do a good job

Varun:

with it and who have got a better reputation, more accuracy, this and

Varun:

that, but I that's with everything else,

Cameron:

yeah, no, that's really interesting.

Cameron:

I had heard of it and I really didn't do a whole lot of digging in it myself

Cameron:

to know, okay, how accurate is this?

Cameron:

Some that feedback, it's come a long way in a very short period of time.

Cameron:

And there's a lot of practical applications with it as well.

Cameron:

Do you see, especially with pharmacists, when you're utilizing some of these

Cameron:

medications and perhaps, maybe you are treating a patient who is

Cameron:

diabetic, and so you're giving them.

Cameron:

Drugs that are gonna help them manage their conditions.

Cameron:

Do you see applications of like remote patient monitoring to where

Cameron:

they're gonna utilize peripheral devices to help, determine what impact

Cameron:

perhaps that medication is having on managing that patient's condition?

Varun:

Absolutely.

Varun:

That's definitely a direction we're headed in, as, as that's a direction

Varun:

where the industry in general is going with the reimbursement code,

Varun:

of RPM ever since it got available.

Varun:

And there's so much value in, in getting that data.

Varun:

The, at home device, if you will.

Varun:

So blood pressure being the most common one, or checking your glucose readings

Varun:

and more and now of course, a lot more sophisticated devices with, what's

Varun:

being called a hospital in the home.

Varun:

Scenario.

Varun:

Even for us app, that's an area where we are starting to look at, how do we tie in

Varun:

the data from, an ongoing diagnostic side of it to marry it up with the medication

Varun:

management side of it, because then we can have the full picture of, okay,

Varun:

Cameron, you say you're taking your, blood pressure meds, but your blood pressure

Varun:

reading does not say the same thing.

Varun:

Right.

Varun:

So it's stuff like that.

Varun:

I think that'll really play an important role bringing it all together.

Varun:

And part of that is as Danielle was saying before is interoperability and making

Varun:

sure that all the data can be structured properly and you get the right insights at

Varun:

the right time and be able to intervene.

Danielle:

That's all really exciting.

Danielle:

And just looking at like the future of telehealth in general,

Danielle:

and telepharmacy specifically.

Danielle:

Do you have any Thoughts about where we might go in the future in

Danielle:

the sort of realm of telepharmacy and medication management platform.

Varun:

I think there's a lot of room for providing more

Varun:

access and increasing awareness.

Varun:

What started out on the Medicare side is MTM medication therapy management,

Varun:

even the penetration of just MTM is not that great, across the country.

Varun:

So I think there's need for, more awareness and pushing that

Varun:

a little bit more so that more people available those services.

Varun:

But I think in terms.

Varun:

The future of telehealth as we already discussed.

Varun:

I think it's gonna be a mix of the, hybrid care models based on preferences

Varun:

on both provider, patient side, clinical protocols, obviously insurance companies

Varun:

and reimbursement will have a role there.

Varun:

I think from a pharmacy care management side, otherwise I think it's.

Varun:

How do we optimize the time of a pharmacist as well?

Varun:

So lots going into, how do we let technology take a first pass at,

Varun:

what should be identified with this patient and have pharmacists really

Varun:

focus in on what needs to be done.

Varun:

And then that.

Varun:

Engagement model, whether it's, for the patient, whether it's a call, it's a text

Varun:

it's a mobile app, not really tethering ourselves to one versus the other, I think

Varun:

is gonna be interesting as we go forward.

Varun:

And then of course this conversation would be incomplete without mentioning

Varun:

AI and the role of bots going forward.

Varun:

So the conversational AI, which is the most exciting.

Varun:

In my mind where, now a bot could be having a conversation,

Varun:

with you as a human almost.

Varun:

So it's been interesting to see some of the surveys and studies out there where,

Varun:

some people enjoy interacting with a text based chat bot versus, a life conversation

Varun:

and more , so I think those some of the exciting things developing from a

Varun:

virtual care telehealth perspective.

Danielle:

The mention of AI, we have a colleague who talks

Danielle:

about that quite frequently.

Danielle:

So I do like the idea of taking some of the sort of lower level tasks

Danielle:

that maybe take up a pharmacist's time and delegating those to an AI.

Danielle:

So you have more time to focus on the very important, not that everything

Danielle:

is an important, but the more labor intensive things, the things

Danielle:

that do require human interaction.

Varun:

And honestly, that's the other aspect of where, I get really excited

Varun:

because, if over time we can really crowdsource all kinds of these medication.

Varun:

Prescriptions, the side effects, the experiences people are having and really

Varun:

use AI again, going back to Cameron, your question about the right prescribing

Varun:

decisions, off, how did this work for this kind of patient cohort and use

Varun:

that data as part of it, but also use that data to help guide the patient

Varun:

on an ongoing basis in terms of just.

Varun:

Optimizing their medication therapy, simple scenario of, oh yeah.

Varun:

You're having some nausea today because you started this medication two days ago.

Varun:

And so this is the typical sort of, curve we see of how it settles in and so forth.

Varun:

So I think that's definitely the future.

Danielle:

Thank you so much for being here today with us.

Danielle:

I think we had a great conversation.

Danielle:

I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with

Varun:

You bet really enjoyed the conversation.

Varun:

Thank you again for having me.

Varun:

And would love to just use this to get the word out about what we

Varun:

are trying to do@illuminate.health and uh, you know, all of us have

Varun:

aging parents and folks who might.

Varun:

Benefit from the service.

Varun:

So thank you again.

Danielle:

thanks so much.

Caroline Yoder:

Thank you for listening to a virtual view.

Caroline Yoder:

You can find more information about today's episode in the show notes below.

Caroline Yoder:

If you would like to support our podcast, please rate and review us

Caroline Yoder:

on your favorite podcast player.

Caroline Yoder:

Do you have any questions or topics you'd like us to discuss?

Caroline Yoder:

If so, contact us at info at UMTRC dot org or through the

Caroline Yoder:

form found in the show notes.

Caroline Yoder:

Also, we'd like to give a special thanks to our editor.

Caroline Yoder:

Finally a special thanks to the health resources and service administration.

Caroline Yoder:

Also known as HERSA.

Caroline Yoder:

Our podcast series of virtual view is sponsored in part by hearses telehealth

Caroline Yoder:

resource center program, which is under hers is office of the administrator and

Caroline Yoder:

the office for the advancement of tele.

Caroline Yoder:

The content and conclusions of this podcast are those of Cameron hilt of the

Caroline Yoder:

UMTRC and should not be construed as the official policy of, or the position of

Caroline Yoder:

nor should any endorsements be inferred by HERSA, HHS, or the U S government.

Caroline Yoder:

Thanks for listening and have a . Great day.

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