DigiTech Health Leadership Talks – With Dr Filipe Costa (YEL2021)

Date:  25 November 2021

DigiTech Health Leadership Talks – With Dr Filipe Costa (YEL2021)



Authors: Cátia Ferreira (Portugal), Leandro Luis (Portugal), Morenike Abidakun (Nigeria), Sudha Pathak (India/United Arab Emirates).

The DigiTech Health Leadership Talks are a series of recorded webcasts conducted by the 2021 Young Executive Leaders, which introduces people to the nuances of the field of digital health by sharing the knowledge of select international experts.

In these webcasts, we ask a couple of relevant questions to our guests: one about themselves, and the other about their telehealth and mobile health expertise. Follow these interviews to learn about the world of digital and technology-driven transformations with some of the most recognized experts.

In this fourth DigiTech Health Leadership Talks webcast we spoke with Dr. Filipe Costa, from Portugal – a digital health leader, a renowned professor, and a value-based healthcare expert for the last 10 years and is now the head of Value Based Healthcare at one of the major groups of private hospitals in Portugal – Luz Saúde.

Due to his innovative work, back in 2019, he received the Award for Excellence in Quality, Safety and Patient-Centered Care, given by the IHF, for the development of an ePROMs tool as the main concept of outcome measurement at his hospitals.

You can watch the whole interview or just the answers by following our instructions.

[vc_video link=’https://youtu.be/9IDfJwufpUQ’]

0 – What is Filipe Costa’s role in the field of digital health? (1:16)

Learn about Dr. Filipe Costa`s career and passion to research, learn and implement strategies of value-based healthcare and improve outcomes in public and private hospitals. In this context, he focuses on the importance of the use of technology as a step to quickly collect reliable data and interact with healthcare systems without creating a burden to the system.

1 – How do you think that mHealth and Telehealth contribute to better patient outcomes, from the perspective of value-based healthcare? (03:51)

To implement mHealth and Telehealth, the organization is required to create a specific cultural organizational model where the “Digitalization of the patient and healthcare professionals” have to happen before giving any app to a patient. Patients and healthcare professionals must be engaged and understand mHealth and Telehealth as helpful tools that create added value to the system and to all stakeholders.

In regards to patient outcomes (the basis of the value-based healthcare strategy), the 6th component of the Value Agenda refers to the importance of building a digital platform with the help of mHealth and Telehealth tools, that allows a direct connection to the system, the usage of the same language, and the smart caption of structured and reliable data.

2 – How well do you feel that society is embracing mHealth/telehealth and what are the fears and challenges? (6:29)

In Portugal, data shows that around 86,5% of the people with an average age of 85 years old are using smartphones, so the use of mhealth and telehealth tools is not a real problem. What happens is that  the creation of a sense of urgency and awareness of the tools and benefits does not exist so far.

It’s important to understand the motivational factors and create strategies to abolish the “fear of the unknown”. Patients and professionals need to understand the real value that these tools provide, and the necessity to create the need and desire for them to be in the system, without imposition.

The system/organizations must first act on  context by implementing an approach of consistent digital healthcare as normal (for example: you cannot ask your patient to go digital using the apps and gadgets and at the same time give him a receipt in paper).

3 – What do you think about the mhealth/telehealth strategy of your country? (10:15)

Due to some constrains of cultural methodology, organization, and political extension, there has been some difficulties in the clear implementation of the country’s strategy, even before COVID-19. With the pandemic, lots of opportunities emerged but it has been more bottom up than up down strategy.

Portugal needs a robust national strategy and a clear pathway with medium and long-term milestones well defined. It’s fundamental to improve the engagement and literacy among patients and systems; and  good and stable regulation to put an end to the “unknown”. As it’s a new model of delivering healthcare, the country also must change the education and learning methodology for professionals.

4 – What is the impact of COVID-19 on mhealth/telehealth? (14:54)

Before COVID-19 there was a lot of resistance in the adoption of these technologies by healthcare professionals. But the pandemic has created the urgency for change and ended many the doubts and problems, without which suddenly everything was possible. With COVID-19, there was 3000% more video medical appointments, and that number didn’t decrease  much so far. As a result, there was another gain – the patient is now more engaged and interested about their health, than ever before.

Because there is the chance that we lose some of the opportunities that COVIS-19 brought, in order to cement the new normal, we must develop the criteria and rules of engagement for the mHealth and telehealth system.

5 – What actions should healthcare stakeholders take in order to realise the full potential of telehealth? (18:04)

Currently Dr. Filipe has been using a lot of mhealth technologies to measure outcomes and even generating some challenges to genially engage the patients.

The new generation of leaders should realise that this new form of healthcare delivery is not an alternative, but the primary way and the new normal. It requires the education of all stakeholders, the creation of rules of engagement, and measurement and work towards trust and sharing consciousness to achieve better outcomes in health. We are just here to achieve better outcomes for the patients, and mhealth and telehealth are specific tools to connect to this value chain.

6 – How do you think the new generation health managers should lead the mHealth & telehealth revolution (22:56)

Dr Filipe gives us a big recommendation – start now and don’t wait for perfection s of tools or systems. Start capturing, looking, and analysing. IoT emerged and provided lots of opportunities. Start small (with a pilot) and think big but START. Nevertheless, be aware that the process of the digitalization of the patient, requires the development of the regulatory approach.

7 – How do you see the mhealth and telehealth technologies in 2050? 

Healthcare sector and mhealth technologies will have a complementary approach.

There will be a virtualization of the cycle of care of the patients, and you will start thinking from the beginning what can be done or not done virtually. Hospitals will be the place where high intensity care happens, and the rest will be mostly virtual.

This virtualization will create a society where healthcare treatment will not be local but global.

8 – Final Remarks (26:08)

As leaders our mission is to pick the right tools to create better outcomes for the patient at the correct cost, so we must wisely select the correct methodology and tools.

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