IT Support and Hardware for Clinics
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News, Information and Updates on Hardware and IT Tools to help improve your Medical practice
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Benefits of telemedicine during pregnancy 

Benefits of telemedicine during pregnancy  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

Pregnancy is an amazing experience for mothers, but it can come with a number of challenges. Beyond the sometimes debilitating symptoms of pregnancy, mothers who are expecting must see their doctors multiple times throughout the gestation period. This requirement can be difficult for women who need to see numerous specialists, have busy schedules and have limited means of transportation. Still, expectant mothers are encouraged to attend all pre-term doctor's appointments to receive expert care and necessary monitoring of their unborn children.

To ensure all mothers are receiving the care they need throughout their pregnancies, pre-natal healthcare providers are implementing telemedicine solutions into their current offerings. Read on for some of the benefits of introducing telemedicine to expectant mothers.

Frequent check-ups without the need to travel

The technology already available today for pre-natal care is amazing!  Coupling in telemedicine with the existing practices just makes the reach even farther. Healthcare providers trying to deliver access to care for expectant mothers who might not be able to travel to an urban facility for care, can now easily perform examinations on patients using live ultrasound technology. This opens up a whole new way of doing pre-natal check-ups, by streaming ultrasound images directly to the remote provider at the time of the check up.

Instead of traveling from doctor to gynecologist to specialist to share information in regard to their pregnancies, mothers can also utilize telemedicine to transfer data among many medical professionals. Women who are expecting already have to attend doctor's appointments once a month up until the 28-week mark, when they then have to see their physicians twice a week up until the birth of the baby. If a mother has to see more than one doctor, she may not have the time or resources to make it to every extra appointment.

Offer services where specialists are rare

A mother who is experiencing a high-risk pregnancy will have to see doctors more often than the average pregnant woman. Again, this need can be difficult for someone who has limited access to care, such as a patient living in a rural location, or means of transportation to drive to the city where the specialist provides assistance. When more hospitals offer telemedicine solutions, mothers who need special treatment from a cardiologist or other medical professional during a high-risk pregnancy will have better access to those resources. Remote video conferencing allows for emergency consultations that can save the life of the baby and the mother who's carrying, ultimately improving the quality of care your hospital provides.

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Telehealth Essential Resource Addiction Treatment

Telehealth Essential Resource Addiction Treatment | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

In a recent article in The Atlantic, the former head of the National Institutes of Mental Health, psychiatrist Tom Insel, pinned the future progress of mental healthcare on one small but transformative piece of technology: the smartphone. Insel is reportedly convinced that “the smartphone can be a diagnostic instrument and, through the links it gives us to others, a life-saving mode of connection and treatment.”


Insel is on to something—and, as an addiction clinician, I am persuaded that telehealth initiatives (like smartphone apps) can also be an essential, life-saving resource for the substance abuse population. Proper legal and ethical training is key for therapists who plan to offer telehealth services, but that extra effort can have powerful results.


First, addiction’s chronic nature makes ongoing assessment and regular follow-up critical factors in effective care—for those in early recovery especially. Accumulated research has shown that like other chronic diseases, SUDs can be characterized by relapse, and rates of relapse tend to be highest during the first year following treatment. Yet outcomes are better among those who make regular and more frequent use of a supportive network in their recovery (such as ongoing individual therapy among others).

Inevitably, the ease and convenience with which these supports can be accessed are therefore crucial. Many of the clients who leave my care go back to full-time jobs, parenting roles and other responsibilities (including recovery commitments like weekly 12-step group attendance). Many clients return to areas of the country where therapists like myself are in overwhelmingly high demand but painfully short supply. Even in clinically well-resourced regions of the country, addiction therapists tend to carry heavy caseloads, and burnout remains a common feature of the SUD treatment landscape.


Such factors can often preclude regular, in-person follow-ups with a therapist—even when the long-term support and accountability these sessions provide may be critical to recovery (depending on the client and their treatment needs). The reality is that the necessary demands of life can dampen even the most dedicated commitment to follow-up therapy. There’s little utility to seeing a therapist weekly if it means you can’t hold down a job, after all (especially when job retention itself tends to support long-term recovery). On the other hand, virtual therapy apps like Talkspace make it easier and more convenient to keep in regular, even frequent touch with a therapist.


Telehealth also provides near-instant support for a disease that, unlike any other chronic disease, is distinguished by cravings. When left to their own devices (without immediate intervention), these compulsive desires to drink or use drugs can often drive and precede relapse. They also don’t always follow therapist work hours or take the same vacation days. A craving may strike in the middle of the night or on the weekend, at which point the more old-fashioned method—of leaving a voicemail for one’s therapist—proves useless.


That’s where videoconferencing and instant text messaging are part of the solution, as are innovative apps like the A-CHESS mobile app. The app provides users with a “panic button” for when cravings hit. Press it and presto: within a matter of minutes, users can access help and support that is individually customized to their needs.


But telehealth is probably most urgently needed as a bridge to treatment for the millions of Americans who would never darken the door of a therapist’s office because of the enduring stigma of substance abuse. That stigma is arguably worse in rural and underserved areas, where an in-person appointment with the only therapist in town likely means you’ll run into your next-door neighbor or a familiar business patron. Videoconferencing apps that allow clients to connect with a properly trained therapist in a secure, online meeting room from the privacy of their own home provide that assurance of anonymity. For many with SUDs, that’s a non-negotiable prerequisite to getting help and beginning the journey to recovery.


Candice Rasa, LCSW, is Clinical Director of Beach House Center for Recovery, a drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation center in Juno Beach, FL. She has more than 10 years’ experience in the mental health and substance-abuse arena, and supports healing in the clients she serves from a solution-focused, strengths-based approach.

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Why Are Telemedicine Doctors Important?

Why Are Telemedicine Doctors Important? | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

It’s no secret that healthcare costs continue to rise year after year. As a result, patients are having more difficulty accessing traditional physician’s services.

The American Hospital Association (AHA) recently reported some surprising healthcare statistics. Over 76 percent of patients place more value on access to health care than on having in-person interactions with their physicians.

The number of telemedicine patients in the United States is growing dramatically. In 2013, there were 350,000 patients who opted to consult with telemedicine doctors. By 2018, that number is predicted to be over 7 million.

It’s clear that this trend is changing healthcare in amazing ways. Telemedicine doctors are offering an incredibly important service.

This medical trend presents many significant advantages over traditional doctor-patient relationships.

Telemedicine Doctors Are Easily Accessible

Telemedicine offers a convenient solution for many patients. For example, it provides significant advantage to parents of children with chronic medical issues. Similarly, it also offers alternatives for patients with difficulty driving.

Physicians now can reach a much larger patient base. Patients have more options in choosing their preferred physicians and therapists. Physical location is no longer a barrier to quality medical treatment.

Telemedicine also serves as a viable alternative for follow-up visits. Because of its convenience, this results in a higher rate of patient compliance for after-care.

The Waiting-Room Experience Is Eliminated

The traditional waiting room experience can be difficult for many reasons:

– Patients generally do not like having to wait to be seen by their physicians.

– Being in a crowded room full of other sick people is stressful.

– The waiting room experience can exacerbate problems for patients with anxiety.

– Physicians feel guilty for taking breaks when they know there are people waiting.

Remote medical care reduces these pressures. The result is an experience that is better for all parties involved.

Results Are Overwhelmingly Positive

Communicating about medical issues through a teleconference may initially seem off-putting. However, the results have been overwhelmingly positive.  Most patients have been able to build rapport with their remote physicians easily.

Additionally, this treatment option is effective for addressing psychological issues including:

– Anxiety

– Depression

– Attention deficit disorder

– Obsessive compulsive disorder

Telemedicine Offers Cost Savings for Physicians and Patients

Physicians can introduce telemedicine into their practice with a very low initial cost. The ongoing monthly outlay is also nominal.

These savings generally pass on to patients. The typical cost for remote medical treatment can be as low as $25 to $50 per visit, depending on the doctor. Healthcare is now more accessible to people who previously may not have been able to afford it.

Telemedicine Is Now Legally Accepted in Most States

States are currently passing laws to legitimize the practice and protect patients. As of early 2017, over 30 states had enacted laws related to telemedicine.

These laws prevent state-regulated insurers from denying claims due to remote service. Telemedicine claims must be treated the same as claims for traditional services.

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4 Benefits of Telemedicine for Patients and Clinicians 

4 Benefits of Telemedicine for Patients and Clinicians  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

Technology has improved every industry, but the medical industry has been impacted more than most.

Telemedicine allows doctors to provide quality care to their patients live via the web, rather than requiring in-person appointments.

There are countless benefits of telemedicine, which is why so many physicians and patients are starting to take advantage of it.

Below we’ll explore four of these benefits. Let’s take a look, so you can see if telemedicine is right for you.

The Four Main Benefits of Telemedicine

1. It’s Convenient for Both Patients and Clinicians

Without question, convenience is one of the biggest benefits of telemedicine for both patients and clinicians.

Think about it – a traditional, in-person appointment requires a patient to physically go to the office, fill out paperwork, and sit in the waiting room until called. Typically, they first see the nurse, then the doctor, and then the nurse again, and then they have to go back to the front desk to pay the bill. What should be a quick and routine check-up can take a whole morning!

Telemedicine allows for a quick and easy “face-to-face” appointment without requiring a patient to leave the comfort of home.

Doctors get the chance to see patients quickly without running from room to room, which makes this a win for both parties.

2. Doctors Get True One-On-One Time with Patients

During a telemedicine consultation, it’s literally just the patient and the doctor. There are no office distractions or go-betweens involved.

Because appointments must be scheduled without overlapping, doctors can be relaxed, focused, and thorough with each visit. Similarly, because of the convenience telemedicine offers, patients will be more relaxed as well, and more open in their questions (or answers to your questions).

This level of one-on-one time gives doctors the space to provide their best possible care.

3. Patients Can Get Prescriptions and Referrals Quickly

Imagine running out of your allergy inhaler the Saturday evening before leaving for your outdoor vacation, and your prescription is out of refills. This can be a huge predicament if you have to wait until normal business hours to get a doctor to order a refill for your prescription.

With telemedicine, patients can connect with a doctor who can review their medical records and quickly provide prescriptions or referrals as needed, even outside normal business hours.

Even better for practitioners, the ability of patients to have a quick check-in for prescription refills or referrals means you can devote more of your in-office appointments to patients with more complicated needs.

These quick telemedicine consultations provide the same level of HIPAA certified privacy, with the speed and convenience of an online transaction.

4. Telemedicine Is More Cost-Effective

For patients, access to telemedicine provides professional medical care at a cost that is lower than or equal to in-office visits. Because telemedicine decreases (or eliminates) the need to travel and miss work, patients can end up saving a significant amount of money versus traditional appointments.

With medical expenses through the roof today, patients are looking for new and different ways to save on their healthcare. This bodes well for the telemedicine industry since 74% of people surveyed said they would use it.

The great news is that telemedicine is cost-effective for clinicians as well!

A thriving telemedicine practice does not require extra space or extra staff, and telemedicine patients don’t require as many physical resources as in-office patients. Additionally, your practice will gain an increased reach when you are able to hold consultations with patients who cannot travel to your office.

The ability to see more patients, and the need for less physical space and fewer physical resources, means a more robust bottom line.

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AI chatbots might be the money-savers hospitals are looking for

AI chatbots might be the money-savers hospitals are looking for | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

Healthcare provider organizations spend a lot of money on customer service representatives taking patient inquiries via phone, e-mail or live chat. But there’s a way technology can step in and save healthcare organizations time and money: automated chat-bots infused with artificial intelligence.


Among organizations in various industries, healthcare providers most of all will benefit from increased use of chatbots, which are becoming more adept at their work because of advances in AI, Juniper Research said. Chat-bots could save organizations $8 billion annually worldwide by 2022, up from $20 million this year, Juniper Research forecasted.


“We believe that healthcare and banking providers using bots can expect average time savings of just over four minutes per inquiry, equating to average cost savings in the range of $0.50-$0.70 per interaction,” said Lauren Foye, a Juniper Research analyst.

Most chatbots use multiple technologies: natural language processing, knowledge management and sentiment analysis. 

First, natural language processing tries to understand what a user is asking about. And second, a technological methodology provides conversational flow and responses, either direct or through guidance.


Typically, the natural language processing will identify the intent of a question with some level of confidence and then, based on the confidence level, the chatbot will either ask a follow-up or disambiguate the question for the user.

Once the confidence level is acceptable for the use-case, the chatbot will present the proper response based on an intent taxonomy that associates the intent of the question with the desired response. More advanced chatbots will try and anticipate the next question or guide the user to relevant resources or responses based on the previous intent.


“The technologies that support a chatbot need a common taxonomy in place that links the intent of a question to a contextual response,” said Jeff Cohen, co-founder and vice president of cognitive innovation services at Welltok, an AI-based healthcare software company. “And how do they interact to provide users with an answer to their question? There are many different ways to interact based on the sophistication and use-case for the chatbot.”


In addition to natural language processing technology, chatbots typically also rely on knowledge management systems.

“Knowledge management systems are absolutely essential in order to standardize the service experience,” said Khal Rai, an AI expert and senior vice president, product development and operations, at SRS Health, a healthcare software company. “Essentially, knowledge management systems are tools that allow you to document common questions and answers and problem-solving tips that are accumulated over the life of a product or a solution.”

It requires commitment and discipline by healthcare organizations to invest the necessary time and money to build knowledge libraries, Rai added.

Sentiment analysis is another technology that can be used by AI chatbots.


“How does the chatbot conjure up what is needed to be said?” asked Cohen. “Most AI chatbots need some content store or ‘traffic cop’ that knows, based on the intent of the question and the context of the user, where to obtain the proper response.”

AI chatbots have been used with varying levels of success in healthcare to date, addressing use-cases including helping consumers select a benefit plan, providing customer service responses, helping triage symptoms, and guiding consumers to resources. It still is early in the adoption of AI chatbots in healthcare, experts said, but early indicators of demand and satisfaction are promising.


“Chat-bots will continue to get more intelligent over time, thanks to AI and machine learning techniques that will make them very efficient technology, and of course, more timely than a human can ever be,” Rai said. “However, if you’re in the business of taking care of people, it’ll be a while before chatbots are fully adopted.”

Like other innovations, AI chatbots in healthcare will be a crawl-walk-run endeavor, where the easier tasks will move to chatbots while awaiting the technology to evolve enough to handle more complex tasks, Rai added.

“Research in the areas of emotional intelligence is happening,” he said. “But it is not advanced enough at this moment to put the satisfaction of customers on the line.”

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