Dr. Leslie Saxon Talks About USC’s Virtual Healthcare Clinic

Can virtual healthcare close the care gaps? Dr. Leslie Saxon gives us a glimpse of what’s to come via the latest in telehealth technology. 

Virtual care is quickly becoming a tangible reality. All over the word, fingertips are tapping onto screens and into data streams, leaving digital footprints in their wake. But where is this trail of telecommunications leading us? According to Dr. Leslie Saxon, we are headed for real progress in creating access to healthcare by plugging deeper into its potential.

In January, Saxon who is the executive director of the University of Southern California’s (USC’s) Center for Body Computing (CBC), announced a partnership with eight foundational partners to launch its Virtual Care Clinic (VCC). The digital healthcare model utilizes a variety of technologies, including mobile apps, wearable sensors, virtual human health care providers, augmented virtual reality (AR/VR), data collection, analytics and artificial intelligence using digital communication tools allowing patient’s anywhere to access medical care and content.

The clinic will demonstrate how patients can handle their health matters without ever leaving their homes. To get a better understanding of how this amalgam of new technologies will achieve that task, we asked Saxon for what’s to come from the launch of the clinic—along with how this new-found technology will create greater touchpoints through digital means for those in need of healthcare services.


Let’s start off by talking about how this initiative is different from some of the other telehealth initiatives we are seeing out there right now: Unlike traditional remote conferencing with doctors, we are talking about taking virtual readings through equipment and apps, can you further explain what a virtual visit might look like and what types of technology are involved?

Sure. With the creation of the Virtual Care Clinic (VCC), what we are building is a continuous model of healthcare that is focused on the patient and is on-demand. That means continuous diagnostics with wireless sensors and fully leveraging the sensors and coprocessors in the phone to provide context to the healthcare data (like geolocation, photos, videos, HealthKit). The other attribute of this system is the use of the virtual-human physician.

We are creating virtual-human representations of USC’s physician experts that will be available to patients on demand to answer questions. We are partnering with our Virtual Care Clinic’s foundational members, like Dr. Evidence, to deliver the best medical evidence to VCC patients that is on demand and tailored specifically for their condition. This requires a creative engagement of the patient and new types of data visualization and analytics. Eventually, we would like our virtual-human doctors to be capable of conceptual thinking, but this will require time. Our digital platform will be built so that rapid iteration is possible, and this work is in collaboration with our digital platform partner, Medable.

Another partner, Proteus Digital Health has created an incredibly powerful platform for tracking medication adherence and patient activity that fully engages the patient and care providers in a digital collaboration and discovery process with their physicians. This system includes the ability to identify the relationship between activity or other vital signs and medication adherence. VSP Global, the world’s largest insurer of eye care, is partnering with us to deliver the best-in-breed health and wellness sensing solutions over eye and other healthcare.

For rest of the Q & A with Dr. Leslie Saxon, please go here.

The original article by Erica Garvin and interview with Dr. Saxon was published in HIT on March 29, 2016.