This Week Health

Field Report: Vanderbilt University Medical Center CIO Neal Patel

April 7, 2020: As we continue our field reports, today, Neal Patel, a physician and CIO at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, joins us. In this episode, Neal walks us through some of the incredible technological shifts that have happened at VUMC over the past few weeks. From Zoom calls and virtual town halls to a massive spike in telehealth visits, the changes have been inspiring. Not only have the patients responded incredibly well to the televisits, but the clinical staff has as well. Neal also unpacks the different forms that telehealth can take, from telediagnostics to telemonitoring. While not all of these have been implemented at VUMC, they are becoming a greater possibility as time goes on. Along with this, Neal has been incredibly inspired by the willingness to collaborate across all teams. People who are not usually at the center have been thrown into the fray and the camaraderie has moved Neal. We also talk about the importance of not having heroes during a time of crisis, changes with VUMC’s patient portal, and lessons that Neal has learned from the pandemic so far. Be sure to tune in today!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Background on Vanderbilt University Medical Center, areas they cover and patients per year.
  • Why Nashville was able to head the warnings of coronavirus early on into the outbreak. 
  • Some of the technology that VUMC has spun out over the past few weeks.
  • Different procedures that fall under the big umbrella of telehealth. 
  • Positive changes with physician-to-physician communication at VUMC.
  • How the VUMC has responded to remote working and details about their virtual town halls.
  • One of the most valuable lessons VUMC has learned regarding telehealth.
  • Changes in the online patient portal since the crisis and how the portal functions.
  • Two things that Neal has found most impressive from his teams during this time.
  • How VUMC has show collaboration and camaraderie in their different command centers.


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