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On the Job: Patrick McCarthy

Jul 01, 2022   |   by Theresa D'Orsi   |   Dartmouth Engineer

Patrick McCarthy '04 Th'06 | Telehealth Executive

As assistant vice president of telehealth services for Northwell Health in New York City, McCarthy had to adjust quickly when the pandemic drove exponential growth in ambulatory telehealth. He also found a silver lining: “It showed patients and providers that not everything requires an in-person visit and we can provide a blend of in-person and remote care.”

Patrick McCarthy '04 Th'06

What type of growth have you seen in telehealth in the past year?

We went from a couple hundred visits a month to a peak of more than 4,000 a day. We have leveled out and are now seeing about 1,000 a day, which is somewhere between 5 to 15 percent of our ambulatory visits on any given day. We don’t use telehealth to bring in new patients, but it may help attract patients to the system as a way of receiving ongoing care. Most of the growth was driven by COVID, in that it reduced a lot of the restrictions around reimbursement and coverage for telehealth visits.

How have you adapted to meet this demand?

Luckily, we had been building for this and have an integrated solution with our core systems. We had also worked with our telehealth vendor to create a lightweight version that allowed us to scale quickly to meet the immediate spike in demand as we moved all practices to the integrated solution. There are a lot of challenges still related to telehealth—universal access to broadband and internet connectivity, patient and provider adoption, reimbursement may still be a challenge moving forward, and on and on. That said, there is definitely patient demand for this service, and it just makes sense to push through and provide this type of care.

"I don't see telehealth replacing all in-person visits."

—Patrick McCarthy '04 Th'06

How do you anticipate telehealth will change the landscape moving forward?

I think it will be a portion of our ongoing care, but I don’t see telehealth replacing all in-person visits. Maybe 10 to 20 percent of ambulatory volume could and should be done via telehealth. We are going through and examining what makes sense clinically to continue to do via telehealth and which visits really should always be done in person.

This article appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of the Dartmouth Engineer magazine.

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