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Insights From ATA18


May 10, 2018

The ATA18 conference in Chicago offered many fresh insights about opportunities and obstacles in telehealth. Judging by the large number of hospital administrators in attendance during one of the consumer telehealth sessions, healthcare consumers nationwide are clearly clamoring for more on-demand virtual care.

Here are some key take-aways from ATA18’s more than 150 sessions and speeches:

  • Keynote speaker AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins discussed why telehealth shows enormous promise in home health care, where 90% of caregiving is still done by family members.
  • Fellow keynoter Dr. Robert Wachter, department chair at the University of California/San Francisco School of Medicine and author of The Digital Doctor, stressed that telehealth can’t simply be a replacement for a visit to the doctor’s office. Workflow, staffing, and culture must be totally reimagined.

  • The panel on legal issues explored why adoption of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact has been relatively slow. The pace is expected to quicken as Maryland, Vermont, Rhode Island and Georgia may soon come on board.
  • The session on opioid treatment noted that there’s tremendous potential for telehealth in dealing with the crisis. Every dollar spent on addiction treatment saves $4 in healthcare costs and $7 in criminal justice costs according to a recent Surgeon General’s report.
  • The session on blockchain technology emphasized that it’s still too early to assess how it will impact the healthcare field. Since telehealth already intersects with patients in many areas – and collects and aggregates vast amounts of data – blockchain adoption will ultimately be a good thing for telehealth.


By showcasing the innovation and thought leadership of ATA’s 10,000+ members, ATA18 demonstrated once again why it’s one of the premier gatherings in global telehealth.