Aetna International chooses BMJ Best Practice to power evidence-based telehealth consultations

We spoke to Dr Hemal Desai, Executive Director for Clinical Health, Aetna International.

By Dr Hemal Desai
5月 09, 2022

Telehealth has already helped to transform the way healthcare services are accessed and provided. At Aetna International they have developed a virtual health care service –  vHealth by Aetna, that benefits many of their 800,000 members around the world.

We spoke to Dr Hemal Desai, Executive Director for Clinical Health Services, Aetna International about how BMJ Best Practice drives safe and effective care in a virtual environment.

In an ideal world, what would you want to get out of a clinical decision support tool for telemedicine?

“From a telemedicine perspective, we want to give the highest and best possible service that we can give to our members. This includes quality of care, as well as a good customer experience.

A tool that supports our frontline clinicians or first line customer service representatives in their ability to deliver both quality of care and an excellent service experience, is therefore going to be of the upmost importance to us.

I see clinical decision support, like BMJ Best Practice, being particularly helpful, as it equips our frontline clinicians with the best evidence, and therefore we provide the best possible care.

We also have clinicians of varying backgrounds, for example, specialists with generalist experience, so need a clinical decision support tool that provides evidence-based information quickly and efficiently. It also needs to be written in a relevant way so the clinician can digest it to deliver the best possible care to the member in front of them.”

"If you’re really looking at reducing your clinical risk, delivering a quality service and looking at accreditation, then I think people should really evaluate how BMJ Best Practice can support clinicians in delivering the best possible care for their patients.”

Dr Hemal Desai

How did you first hear about BMJ Best Practice?

“Through my work in the UK, I have known about BMJ Best Practice for quite a number of years. I use the app and refer to it as part of my own educational needs.

When I joined Aetna, the medical team was also researching clinical decision support tools and had identified BMJ Best Practice as a potential tool for them. We then went through a process to figure out what was the best tool for our telehealth needs.“

Can you tell us about the process and the criteria that you were looking for?

“We were looking for a tool that was developed by a reputable, credible, and international organisation. We also wanted a tool that could give us evidence that had been reviewed by a world-renowned team with strong credentials in clinical evidence review.

In addition to that, we were looking for a tool that was easy to use and would help clinicians find the answer they were looking for – fast, which is very important in a telehealth setting.

On the insurance side, we use other tools to decide whether or not we should fund high-end experimental treatments. These tools provide thorough reviews, but can be very long to digest, and therefore not suited to our needs.

We needed a tool for primary care, that could be referred to by clinicians alongside our clinical system. The evidence also needed to be highly summarised for use in a point of care setting.”

“Credibility was key, but probably even more so than that was presentation, and the ability to navigate quickly trumped BMJ Best Practice over other tools that we were looking at. Some were quite cumbersome in getting to the right answer quickly. So that ability to use it at the point of care, BMJ were by far the leading tool.”

Dr Hemal Desai

What made BMJ Best Practice stand out?

“Credibility was key, but probably even more so than that was presentation, and the ability to navigate quickly trumped BMJ Best Practice over other tools that we were looking at. Some were quite cumbersome in getting to the right answer quickly. So that ability to use it at the point of care, BMJ were by far the leading tool.”

Has there been any feedback on BMJ Best Practice from clinicians at Aetna International?

“Yes absolutely, there is a lot of positivity and feedback from clinicians on BMJ Best Practice. There was in fact a little bit of uproar from our clinicians that didn’t have access, so all of that has reinforced the message for me that people value it.

I think that BMJ Best Practice is one of the best clinical support tools out there if you’re looking for a point of care, point of delivery clinical decision support with credible clinical evidence base and a comprehensive set of conditions that apply in primary care, outpatient care and secondary care.

If you’re really looking at reducing your clinical risk, delivering a quality service and looking at accreditation, then I think people should really evaluate how BMJ Best Practice can support clinicians in delivering the best possible care for their patients.”

How can clinical decision support tools improve in order to support growth of telemedicine in the future?

“I think we need to explore how we guide the clinicians on the best next question to ask. For example, a guided history that takes you in a certain direction using the information you have collated already, and, with the support of machine learning to enable you to get to the right diagnosis and management plan.

If the clinician, the clinical system, and the clinical decision support tool come together, I think you’ve got a pretty sophisticated way of delivering safe and effective care.”


 

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