Thursday, May 12, 2022 | 12:00 AM ET

S2 Ep3: The Past, Present and Future of Telehealth—featuring Dr. Kristi Henderson

Early in her career as a nurse practitioner, Dr. Kristi Henderson realized that many of her patients didn’t have access to care early enough. And she set out to get healthcare to the people who needed it.

Dr. Henderson found a solution in technology and launched the first telehealth program in conjunction with the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 2003.

Today, Dr. Henderson is the CEO of MedExpress at Optum and SVP at the Center for Digital Health. She began her career as a nurse in emergency medicine in Jackson, Mississippi, and continued to practice for 24 years while building telehealth programs across the country. Dr. Henderson’s resume also includes roles as VP of Patient Access & Healthcare Transformation at Ascension and Clinical Operations Leader at Amazon Health.

On this episode of HLTH Matters, Dr. Henderson joins hosts Dr. Gautam Gulati and Dr. Jordan Shlain to discuss the challenges she faced in building and scaling that first 24-hour emergency telehealth program. Dr. Henderson describes the barriers to innovation in healthcare that lifted during the pandemic and explains how she thinks about deciding where healthcare should be delivered. Listen in to understand the role ‘speed of trust’ plays in implementing new innovation and learn how technology might be used to improve efficiency, effectiveness and engagement in healthcare delivery.

Topics Covered

  • Dr. Henderson’s early experience as a nurse in emergency medicine in Jackson, MS
  • What inspired Dr. Henderson to launch the first telehealth program
  • The challenges Dr. Henderson faced in building and scaling a successful 24-hour emergency telehealth program in Mississippi
  • How Dr. Henderson continued to work as a nurse practitioner while building telehealth programs on a national scale
  • The barriers to innovation in healthcare that lifted during the pandemic
  • How Dr. Henderson thinks about deciding where healthcare should be delivered
  • Creating a hybrid model that balances virtual and in-person care
  • The role speed of trust plays in implementing new technology in the healthcare system
  • The relationship between improved outcomes and lower healthcare costs
  • Using tech to capture the doctor-patient interaction vs. entering info in EMR systems


Connect with Dr. Kristi Henderson


Dr. Henderson on Twitter

Dr. Henderson on LinkedIn

Connect with Dr. Gautam Gulati & Dr. Jordan Shlain


Dr. Gulati on Twitter

Dr. Gulati on LinkedIn

Dr. Shlain on Twitter

Dr. Shlain on LinkedIn



Amazon Care

Harvard Study on Workplace Harassment

NightHawk Radiology


Introductory Quote

[14:29] “What can we NOT do via telehealth? That’s what needs to be in a clinic. And then you can kind of work backwards. Let’s try to solve everything with the most convenient and less costly solution.”


Kristi Henderson, DNP, FAANChief Executive Officer, Confluent Health

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