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The Digital Reconstruction of Health Care

  • John Halamka, MD, MS and
  • Paul Cerrato, MA
Published October 21, 2020
NEJM Catalyst Innovations in Care Delivery 2020; 06
Vol. 1 No. 6 | November — December 2020

The health care delivery landscape is slowly being transformed as hospitals, clinics, and medical offices seek more cost-effective venues and processes. Many patient encounters are transitioning to a virtual setting as telemedicine, hospital-at-home programs, and remote patient monitoring devices play a larger role. That transition, which has seen a sudden increase because of the Covid-19 pandemic, is likely to continue to accelerate. Temporary measures, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services restructuring its reimbursement regulations to allow for virtual and home-based hospital visits at the same rate as currently allowed for brick-and-mortar facilities, could be extended or made permanent. This analysis discusses the rationale for moving from brick-and-mortar to online care, the scientific evidence supporting the transition, and trends in third-party fee schedules. Finally, the authors review the essential role of artificial intelligence in making this realignment of services a viable option for health care leaders, clinicians, and patients.