Teladoc announces academic partnerships focused on virtual care-specific education, prescribing practices

One collaboration with Jefferson has launched a telehealth fellowship program, with another with USC and Northwestern kickstarts a five-year research study.
By Dave Muoio
11:40 am

Virtual care provider Teladoc Health recently highlighted two major collaborations with academic institutions focused on the advancement of telehealth delivery and practices.

The first of these, conducted with Pennsylvania-based Jefferson Health, launched what the pair consider to be “the industry’s first academic fellowship program in the field of telehealth.” The program, which launched during this year’s fall semester, was equated to a public health degree in that it looks to educate and prepare students for a career managing telehealth programs. The two-part fellowship program is held onsite at Jefferson Health, as well as delivered directly by Teladoc.

“We recognized the benefits of telehealth and worked to establish a multidisciplinary program that addresses several modalities for patients to receive care when and where they want it,” Judd Hollander, SVP of Healthcare Delivery Innovation at Thomas Jefferson University, said in a statement. “The next step is to educate the leaders of tomorrow to master telehealth so that we can keep providing the care that patients need, when and how they need it.”

The second collaboration, announced earlier today, is a five-year, grant-funded research project Teladoc will conduct alongside Northwestern University and the University of Southern California. Specifically, the three parties will be observing antibiotic prescribing practices and behaviors during telehealth interactions, with the ultimate goal of developing behavioral interventions that can curb unnecessary prescription.

According to a statement, this study is planned to be the “largest-ever randomized quality improvement trial in telehealth.”

Why it matters

As remote care becomes increasingly common, surveys have highlighted the unique challenges providers face speaking to patients through a screen, to the point where some physicians have called for new specialties focused primarily on virtual care. Teladoc and Jefferson’s fellowship program and others like it could better prepare future practitioners for these challenges.

In regard to the study, antiobiotic stewardship and increased prescription scrutiny have been a continuous battle cry for infectious disease specialists as resistances to common therapeutics mount. As such, establishing set practices while virtual care is still gaining legs would have substantial long-term benefit.

What’s the trend

Over the past months Teladoc has been at the heart of a number of non-academic partnership announcements as well. For instance, the Teladoc helped launch Partners HealthCare On Demand, and powered CVS MinuteClinic’s app-based telehealth offering earlier that same month.

In September, the virtual care company also announced the launch of its Teladoc Global Care service, which it said is capable of delivering remote care to patients regardless of their current location.


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