Doctor Matt Lyon
Physician for the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University
Doctor Matt Lyon is an emergency physician from Wellstar MCG Health, the Medical College of Georgia and Augusta University, specialising in residency and emergency medicine. Currently, he is working with virtual care to implement the health system’s virtual care programme, alongside Lauren Hopkins, Assistant Vice President for Virtual Care and Community Engagement for Wellstar MCG Health. The two share the ambition to provide the best care to patients across the state of Georgia using digital means.
“Dr Lyon is our visionary,” Hopkins says. “Without him, this digital strategy wouldn’t be where it is today. He's really pushed the institution to look at digital care, not only as a way to deliver healthcare locally, but to expand the Augusta University reach across the state. He thinks about healthcare from a different perspective, by focusing on those who don't have access to specialist or complex care offerings, and determining how to deliver the same level of care to everyone through digital means. We call this focus digital inclusion, focused on people connecting to people through clinical connectivity, research, and education.”
“As an emergency physician, you get to see all aspects of life,” Dr Lyon says. “It doesn't matter where you come from or what your socioeconomic background is, accidents and emergencies happen, so you get to see everybody, generally, at their worst.
“This has been built in me, and these experiences are what drives my passion to want to reach all patients, whether they're near us in Augusta, or whether they're far across the state. This has enabled me to reach a wide range of rural communities, while realising that people are people – we all need help at one point or another.”
This enthusiasm for helping others, combined with his passion for technology, led Dr Lyon to his current path of educating medical students on how to use digital technology – particularly telehealth – to ensure in the future, everybody's connected to a healthcare system.
Through working with other leading figures, such as Lauren Hopkins, Dr Lyon is creating a digital health team that allows individuals to work in unison, trying to reach the same common goal – helping wider populations.
The team’s work has been widely accepted, and are now working with 16 rural hospitals across Georgia – a milestone Dr Lyon regards as his greatest achievement. “This is such an amazing achievement, both for myself personally, the team and Wellstar MCG Health. It’s fantastic that so many hospitals bought into this vision, to see how we can partner together and enhance healthcare for rural Georgia.”
Although the hospital has made a number of advances, Dr Lyon and the team understand that there are a number of challenges that will inevitably arise when integrating technology to new populations.
“Along with our medicine, our technology has to be very robust,” Dr Lyon says. “It also must have the ability to work when it's not in ideal circumstances, because a patient's health relies on this technology. So, the key challenge ensuring that telecommunication can grow, while also reaching marginalised populations in the robust way it needs.”
These challenges aside, Dr Lyon has high expectations that these systems will continue on into the future, sharing that it’s his “vision” to see a more digitally connected healthcare system. He adds: “In the future, I see everything working in complete unison, from the health information exchanges all the way down to talking to clinicians through digital means to get the best care plan for a patient.”
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