At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, we launched our From the Frontlines series—a biweekly gathering of clinicians across the country to discuss topics at the forefront of medicine and build connections with one another as we continue to learn more about the Novel-Coronavirus (COVID-19) and confront its newest challenges. The voices of clinicians and their supporters have never been more valuable. Clinicians are on the frontlines of our national response to this virus, called upon to develop immediate strategies and solutions to keep their communities and colleagues healthy and safe.

In this installment, we touch on how COVID-19 has created a demand for clinicians (and the entire U.S. healthcare system) to be more innovative. From the way we engage with patients to how we diagnose and treat them – never before has change come so quickly. Read below for highlights from our conversation with Juli Stover, Vice President of Virtual Health Strategies, Strategic Operations and Analytics, Tejal Patel, MD, Regional Medical Director, and Rich Sanders, Vice President of Innovation.

Juli Stover
Vice President of Virtual Health Strategies, Strategic Operations and Analytics

On the growth of virtual health during the pandemic: Our goals haven’t changed much, but the pace has increased significantly. As we think about how to utilize virtual health as a national medical group, it's about increasing access to our providers by delivering care in new and novel ways.

We are exploring how patients come to us and asking how we can better engage with them before they come to us and follow up with them after they leave. We have an opportunity to be involved in the care continuum from start to finish. We are evolving our services to be even more considerate during pre-hospital care and post-hospital care as well as while patients are in our facilities.

Juli Stover
“We have accomplished more for virtual health in the past five months – across the board, with overall adoption, acceptance, experience and lessons learned. COVID-19 has accelerated the deployment of virtual health, and it’s played an important role in protecting both patients and clinicians.”
– Juli Stover

Tejal Patel, MD
Radiologist and Regional Medical Director

On Artificial Intelligence in Radiology: Radiology is the grandparent of virtual health. We were one of the first specialties to practice remotely, so we are used to new technologies. One of the most recent developments is utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to help us read. AI evaluates data points from a scan to guide the physician toward a correct diagnosis and increase efficiency.

We just implemented AI software and an application at my hospital to help with stroke and perfusion studies for the brain. We have an application that connects us to our interventional neurologists and residents and drastically decreases the time to treatment. Trained radiologists must still diagnose whether a patient had a right-sided stroke, what vessel it is, where the occlusion is, and more. However, technology is aiding us and increasing connectivity. With AI, we interpret the data and discuss treatment options with our teams.

Tejal Patel, MD
“To keep up in our field, you always have to be learning. Just as we continue our medical education, we must also continue learning new technologies that help improve patient care and provide faster, more accurate diagnoses.”
– Tejal Patel, MD

Rich Sanders
Vice President of Innovation 

Our pain practices are implementing virtual reality (VR) as an alternative therapeutic, so instead of prescribing an opioid, we are able to prescribe a virtual reality regimen. Patients can put on a VR headset and go through coaching sessions to manage their pain. Ultimately, our goal is to help clinicians provide better care when and where it’s needed most.

We are on the tip of an iceberg with technology-enabled physician practices. My broad scope definition of innovation is anything that adds value to our practice. But how does VR do that? How does it make a difference? Well, it's the beginning of a journey that may open up opportunities for us. VR is new to us, and we will be studying its specific impact. However, new technology-enabled services could create a new business model or workflow, and as we collect more data and continue to explore how we can participate in making our communities more healthy, we will find some exciting solutions.

Rich Sanders
“We are resilient and embrace change. That's what innovation is all about. The biggest lesson I have learned is if you want to transform something, you must be willing to transform yourself.”
– Rich Sanders

Hosted by Adam Brown, MD, MBA, FACEP, President, Emergency Medicine, Co-Chair, National COVID-19 Task Force, From the Frontlines is a biweekly teleconference panel of multispecialty clinicians nationwide who speak from the frontlines and discuss the evolving best practices as they address the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit to watch past webinars and learn more about our work on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a leading national medical group, Envision brings clinicians together to offer transformative patient care and hospital practices. Our strength is in the shared expertise of thousands of clinicians across the country, each with a unique story and thoughtful understanding of medical practices.