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2018 predictions for healthcare facility design

2018 predictions for healthcare facility design | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

E4H Environments for Health Architecture, an architecture firm focused exclusively on healthcare, recently released seven predictions for healthcare facility design trends in 2018.

“From Emergency Departments to micro-hospitals, to the amenities in and locations of hospitals, the year ahead will see continued changes in how healthcare providers are designing and equipping their facilities to meet both patient and market needs,” said Jason Carney, AIA, E4H Partner, in a release. “Add in the pressures of rapidly evolving regulations and payment models, and healthcare design has never been more dynamic than it is now.”

Following are seven top design trends in healthcare for 2018, as envisioned by E4H partners from across the country:

 

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH DRIVES EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT RECONFIGURATIONS

Reflecting both the national opioid-abuse crisis and rising awareness of mental health conditions, hospitals are recognizing an intense need to accommodate cognitively impaired patients more effectively and more sensitively. Hospital leaders are seeking a careful balance in separating patients who pose a risk to themselves and others from the general Emergency Department (ED) population, while ensuring all patients are treated with compassion and dignity. At facilities such as Connecticut’s Waterbury Hospital and Newport Hospital in Rhode Island, areas within the ED are being designed for people and families who are experiencing or approaching a crisis requiring behavioral-health or addiction-management intervention. Because patients with cognitive impairment and behavioral issues often require longer stays in the ED than the general population, an emerging best design practice is adding features for them such as bathroom showers, places to securely store belongings, and access to decompression space.

 

VIRTUAL REALITY BECOMES A CRITICAL PLANNING TOOL FOR HOSPITAL DESIGN

In 2018, more healthcare clients will benefit from virtual reality (VR) technology as they partner with architects to imagine and design complex spaces like operating rooms. VR technology is becoming smaller and more mobile, enabling architects to take VR equipment directly to end users in order to harvest their insight interactively and obtain immediate design feedback. The ability to use VR goggles and headsets to visualize space in three dimensions and coordinate both the room design and placement of equipment is improving facility efficiency and safety. VR headset technology breaks through the traditional limitations of a screen to put people “in” the design to experience, evaluate, and comment on everything from casework configurations to outlet quantities and furniture arrangements.

 

MICROHOSPITALS

According to US News & World Report, microhospitals are now operational in 19 states across the U.S., providing services similar to larger hospitals (ED, pharmacy, lab, radiology, and surgery) in a smaller envelope. This model offers greater accessibility and convenience for residents and is a cost-effective market growth strategy for providers. These mini-hospitals are roughly 15,000 to 50,000 square feet, open 24/7, and maintain between five and 15 inpatient beds for observation and short stay use. Recent changes to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services policy regarding reimbursement schedules for satellite facilities, authorizing microhospitals with dedicated emergency departments as eligible for both 340B discounted drug pricing and the Outpatient Prospective Payment System, will make microhospitals an increasingly popular option. E4H Architecture has designed 28 micro-hospitals in Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, and Ohio.

 

MAKE SPACE FOR TELEHEALTH

Both for patients at home and those in medical facilities, telehealth is an increasingly integral mode of healthcare delivery. Healthcare consulting firm Sg2 projects that in the next two years, the volume of virtual healthcare patients will rise 7 percent and in-home healthcare services will rise 13 percent. Installation of sophisticated patient monitors with robust communications platforms is enabling patients to consult seamlessly with physicians and care team professionals. Increasingly, telehealth is being utilized for specialty services like radiology, psychiatry, and dermatology as a way to obtain a specialist’s opinion without the inconvenience of an additional office or hospital visit. Healthcare facilities should start thinking now about how to best incorporate telehealth services into their master plan. Telehealth affects facility design in several ways, including how treatment rooms are configured to accommodate remote consultation and providing infrastructure for the technological equipment. Lighting, privacy, and aesthetics of rooms used for confidential telehealth consultations are all important concerns that need to be addressed by architects and designers. Telehealth technology is also transforming lobbies, common spaces, and admissions areas. Increasingly these areas are being designed to include accessible areas for kiosks or tablets from which patients can register, view their records, or videoconference with a provider.

 

HOSPITALS TAKE A CUE FROM THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY 

The healthcare industry is embracing the trend of removing out-patient services from traditional, larger hospitals and moving them to more consumer-friendly environments. In some cases, this trend has been shown to create operational efficiencies and improve clinical outcomes, such as decreased re-admittance rates. E4H recently worked with a New York hospital to convert a 27-unit physician and nurse dormitory into temporary housing for immunocompromised patients. Procedures like bone-marrow transplants (BMTs) exemplify a unique need for extended care: In the first phase of treatment (surgery and post-op), those undergoing BMTs must be served as hospital inpatients. In the second phase, patients are vulnerable to infection and require monitoring for complications, but typically do not require a full suite of hospital inpatient services. For this second phase, the New York hospital administrators worked with architects to serve this “in-between” population, providing a facility that feels more like a hotel than hospital, with cozier interior design; private, suite-style rooms; and specialized air and water filtration systems to protect immune-suppressed patients. Rather than an inpatient charge nurse, a uniquely skilled concierge service provides front-desk response to at the front desk of the patients’ daily needs.

 

MOVE TO MALLS

As the delivery of healthcare continues to improve, an increasing number of same-day services and procedures may be performed outside hospitals, in community locations chosen for ease of access and improved customer convenience. Established retail locations are and will become even more attractive to developers of microhospitals, outpatient imaging, urgent care and ambulatory surgery centers, and medical office buildings. This approach serves not only convenience-minded patients but also providers interested in growing market share.  Trends that Walmart and Panera consider for their locations–demographics, quality of highway or transit access, parking– all translate to healthcare as well. In Kingston, NY, E4H is helping Health Quest to transform a former Macy’s retail space into a new state-of-the-art outpatient medical services facility. It will enable consumers to access urgent care, ambulatory surgical care, primary care, diagnostic imaging, and oncology services in an easy-to-reach location.

                                              

ACUTE CARE NEEDS CONTINUE TO GROW

In 2018, we will continue to see healthcare services moving from inpatient to outpatient facilities, but hospitals will also see growth in patient-day numbers. As Baby Boomers age, 10,000 Americans will turn 65 every day for the next 20 years, and the total demand for inpatient care will only grow. Additionally, as services are pushed to outpatient facilities, remaining inpatients will increasingly be the sickest and most acute, requiring longer stays. Maximizing the efficiency of space and movement of medical staff to serve this inpatient population, including with more private rooms and fewer shared rooms, is critical to healthcare facility design. In the last two years E4H has designed new private, room bed towers at the Heart Hospital at Baylor Plano, Eastern Maine Medical Center, and University of Vermont Medical Center.

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How are college curriculums including telemedicine? 

How are college curriculums including telemedicine?  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

As the use of telemedicine continues to increase in the health care workplace, it's important for medical schools to educate students on telehealth technologies before they are placed in the working world. Adding telemedicine to basic curriculum will give potential doctors, nurses and other health care professionals the skills and knowledge they need to make it in the every-changing industry.

Here are a few examples of universities that are staying ahead of the game, educating their students on telemedicine technologies and best practices:

NYIT College of Medicine

According to Becker's Hospital Review, the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathetic Medicine on the campus of Arkansas State University is adding telemedicine education to the first-year curriculum. Darren Sommer, DO, telemedicine assistant professor told Region 8 News that teaching students telehealth practices early on will prepare them properly for their future in the health care industry.

"If we continue to introduce medical students into the practice of medicine but don't include telemedicine, when they finally get into practice and they're acting as attending physicians they will not be prepared to deliver telemedicine services and they will be foreign to that," he said, according to Becker's Hospital Review.

College of Medicine at Chicago

Students who attend the College of Medicine at Chicago at the University of Illinois participate in the Telemedicine in Practice Curriculum, a five-module program that was designed to help students become more familiar with telehealth technologies. In this program, students will learn from multimedia lessons, interactive learning activities, simulated patient encounters and real-time patient care via telemedicine.

Texas Women's University and Old Dominion University

Both universities have introduced telemedicine programs into their curriculum to initiate delivering care in rural settings and underserved populations. By using AMD Global Telemedicine's clinical telemedicine programs, Texas Women's University and Old Dominion University are helping students prepare for the future of health care by teaching them how telemedicine provides efficient, coordinated care. Students are being trained on how to use the equipment, but they're also learning how the technology can leverage patient care and quality.

"AMD's clinical telemedicine system is the perfect complement to the curriculum we offer in the area of telehealth," said Dr. Mari Tietze, associate professor at Texas Woman's University. "Our telehealth electives are open to nursing, occupational health, physical therapy, nutrition, and health system management/business students. It is a great platform for them to understand how teams can collaborate and manage patients remotely."

Telehealth technology is the future of health care, so it's vital for universities to follow telemedicine curriculum practices. Learn more about some of the telemedicine systems AMD Global Telemedicine has to offer.

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How telemedicine can help keep flu season under control 

How telemedicine can help keep flu season under control  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Flu season is upon us. It's a good time to remember the best protection is to stay ahead of it and keep it from spreading within our communities.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly recommends annual flu vaccination as the best way to protect against the contagious respiratory illness, many people will abstain from receiving the vaccine. This act has a major impact on those exposed to large populations, especially children in school.

When students with the flu or another virus attend classes, they put other kids and teachers in jeopardy for getting sick. By diagnosing these flu symptoms sooner and dismissing children from school at the right stage of the illness, facilities can prevent a flu outbreak early on. Telemedicine can be the tool to ensure this proactive stance happens successfully.

How does telemedicine impact flu season?

Telemedicine enables doctors to treat patients from afar, which can be incredibly beneficial for school systems during the flu season. Not only can facilities connected via telemedicine provide assistance and preventative care for students with early flu symptoms, but they can also treat students in the beginning stages of the virus and reduce exposing contagious students to a larger population, according to mHealth Intelligence.

Telehealth can enable protection for the healthy population and prevent the spread of the virus. This benefit can help schools dismiss children with the flu at the appropriate time and keep healthy students and teachers in class.

Success story: Sevier County Schools & Cherokee Health

For almost a decade, schools in Sevier County, Tennessee, have noticed improved overall health quality and reduced absences due to illness in students. Why? Because the school district has partnered with Cherokee Health Systems to integrate telemedicine health technology into their buildings.

"Sevier County has gone five years without closing a school down due to the flu."

 

By leveraging telemedicine technology, this partnership has completed over 11,000 telemedicine encounter visits that have enabled students to receive immediate diagnosis and treatment for strep throat, flu and other common illness. The telemedicine program with Cherokee Health Systems also helps students and teaching staff track and monitor ongoing issues, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and nutrition. As a result of the health and wellness initiatives with telemedicine, Sevier County has gone five years without closing a single school down due to seasonal flu outbreak. This is a big win for them, considering they previously had to shut down all the schools due to more than 20% of their population being infected by the flu.

 

By utilizing telemedicine solutions, more schools can detect flu symptoms during early stages of the virus by providing a full assessment and examination with the nurse. Telemedicine allows administrative staff to minimize distractions caused by sickness, such as missed school days, which can ensure education remains the top priority.

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8 Amazing Ways Telemedicine Is Changing Healthcare

8 Amazing Ways Telemedicine Is Changing Healthcare | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Not everyone has access to good healthcare. Telemedicine increasingly serves as the bridge across the access gap, providing service solutions in a wide variety of specialties, and in unexpected ways.  Telehealth practitioners provide clinical services to patients by making use of electronic communications, specifically common voice and video technology. Services might occur via teleconferencing, image sharing, or remote patient monitoring. Here are 8 amazing ways telemedicine is changing healthcare:

1. DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF STROKE

According to research carried out in Georgia, stroke patients who went to a hospital that is part of a telestroke network received treatment 20 minutes faster than those in hospitals outside the network. Because a stroke victim has an increased rate of survival in proportion to the speed of diagnosis and treatment, early treatment is crucial. Fortunately, this is exactly what telemedicine makes possible.

2. INTENSIVE CARE UNIT (ICU) MONITORING

Telemedicine provides great support within the ICU. It functions mainly to help physicians and nurses maintain their focus amid the myriad distractions that arise in a hospital. As a result, practitioners follow procedures for keeping proper track of a patient’s medication, monitoring blood pressure, and so on more consistently and effectively.

3. POST-DISCHARGE REHABILITATION

Telemedicine now helps with discharged patients as they undergo their rehabilitation at home. This is a great help considering how challenging it can be for rehabilitating patients to travel to healthcare facilities. The primary use of telemedicine in this context is allowing patients to participate in online education groups.

4. REDUCTION OF HEART DISEASE RISKS

To buck the trend of deaths as a result of cardiovascular diseases, patients must work closely with doctors for help in the areas of losing weight, quitting smoking, and so on. Through telelemedicine, patients can eliminate the hassle of frequently going to a doctor’s office. Patients are happy to go online to send and receive information from their healthcare provider, and generally find it much more convenient and efficient than a typical office visit.

5. DIABETES MONITORING

Diabetes patients benefit a great deal from telemedicine. It is easier to track a patient’s calorie intake, monitor medication and doses, and log workouts, among other things, with the help of mobile technology. Among groups of diabetic patients, older adults see the most advantage from the incorporation of telemedicine to their treatment and monitoring.

6. MANAGEMENT OF CHRONIC CONDITIONS

There are various long-term chronic conditions that can make good use of patient self-management, now possible through telemedicine. Hypertension and some varieties of digestive-related diseases are examples of such conditions. In cases like these, utilizing telemedicine for patient management reduces the number of inpatient visits the patients need to make and improves patient management.

7. ACCESS TO ORAL HEALTH SERVICES

Telemedicine improves dentistry access and services by allowing dentists to share information. As a result, specialists can recommend solutions before a condition worsens and results in excessive costs. This process is particularly helpful to those in rural areas.

8. DERMATOLOGY CONSULTATIONS

Dermatology is another area of medicine that embraces telemedicine. Patients with skin problems now can send an image of their skin to a direct dermatologist, along with their health history, and receive a determination in two days. This saves patients the inconvenience of constant referrals from one specialist to another.

Telemedicine enhances healthcare in many ways, and has made navigating healthcare easier for practitioners and their patients. Give CIS a call to find out how telemedicine can improve and expand the services you provide!

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Almost all large employers plan to offer telehealth in 2018, but will employees use it?

Almost all large employers plan to offer telehealth in 2018, but will employees use it? | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Faced with another 5 percent increase in healthcare benefit costs, a growing number of large U.S. employers plan to focus more on how healthcare is delivered and paid for while still pursuing traditional methods of controlling expenses, such as cost-sharing and plan design changes, according to an annual survey by the National Business Group on Health.

 

As a result, more employees will have access to broader healthcare services including telemedicine, centers of excellence and onsite health centers during open enrollment while not experiencing major increases in their costs, the business group said.

 

The Large Employers’ 2018 Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey found virtually all employers (96 percent) will make telehealth services available in states where it is allowed next year. More than half (56 percent) plan to offer telehealth for behavioral health services, more than double the percentage this year. Telehealth utilization is on the rise, with nearly 20 percent of employers experiencing employee utilization rates of 8 percent or higher.

 

Employers are looking for ways to reduce healthcare costs while offering services and benefits their employees value, said Ralph C. Derrickson, CEO of Carena, a white-label telemedicine technology and services vendor.

 

“Carena has several health system partners who have established valuable partnerships with employers in their community by offering a competitive benefits package with virtual care,” Derrickson said health systems are increasingly partnering with vendors like Carena to offer competitive benefits packages that include virtual consults. 

 

Telemedicine can help lower costs associated with non-emergent emergency department utilization and reduce fragmentation by preserving and building on existing primary care relationships or establishing new ones, he added.

 

There are two prevailing factors that drive employers so widely into telehealth, said Roy Schoenberg, MD, CEO and co-founder of American Well, a white-label telemedicine technology and services company.

 

“The first are the return on investment numbers showing telehealth replacing higher-cost care settings, primarily urgent care and emergency rooms,” Schoenberg said. “These numbers are coming from payers but are applicable to self-insured employers just the same. Net cost savings around $200 per visit are quoted.”

The second reason is the growing appeal of telehealth as an employee perk, he said. At a time when health benefits are primarily cut, or their cost is shifted to the employee, adding modern and convenient healthcare benefits for employees can be a win for human resources leadership.

 

“There are many other factors that drive higher adoption, among them much better technologies, growing payer consensus, a regulatory requirement for reimbursement, and diversity of services that now go beyond urgent care, for example, behavioral health, child care, maternity, dermatology and more,” Schoenberg said. “But ROI and employee perk are the ones that move the needle the most.”

 

That said, while the Large Employers’ 2018 Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey found that 96 percent will make telehealth services available in states where it is allowed next year, employee utilization of telemedicine services today is only at 8 percent at only 20 percent of large employers. So what will it take to get many more employees to start turning to lower-cost, more efficient telehealth services?

 

“Telehealth is a behavioral change and as such has its own biology,” Schoenberg said. “It is inevitable that a good part of healthcare services will be rendered over technology, as we see in retail, finance, entertainment and everything else in our lives, but it will be a gradual process.”

 

Healthcare tends to be more sensitive to quality and trust concerns than, for example, the retail business. What that means is that adoption of the new ways of getting care potentially could be much faster when they come to patients under the traditional brands they trust today with in-person care. Schoenberg believes employer telehealth branded by providers will be the way to catch more employees.

 

“The growing trend of telehealth services that bring you – the employee, the consumer, the health plan member – not to a telehealth service but to Cleveland Clinic, Geisinger, New York Presbyterian, these will translate to a much easier adoption in the minds of Americans,” he said. “This trend is now happening and will become much more visible in the next 12 months.”

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Statistics Show an Increase in State Telehealth Policies

Statistics Show an Increase in State Telehealth Policies | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Since the American Telemedicine Association began reporting on state-by-state telehealth policies, the landscape has changed rapidly. “For the past four years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of bills introduced at the state level,” says Latoya Thomas, director of the ATA’s State Policy Resource Center.

Here’s the latest from the ATA’s deep dives into state laws and legislation on telehealth coverage and reimbursement, clinical practice policies and licensure requirements:

 

Coverage & Reimbursement

Most patients use health insurance to pay for their healthcare, so telehealth needs to be included as part of coverage, Thomas says. “To ensure better adoption and utilization of telehealth,” she says, “it needs to be built into our current health insurance system.”

So far, 31 states and the District of Columbia have enacted telehealth parity laws for private insurance. These anti-discriminatory actions ensure that state-regulated health insurers can’t deny a claim or coverage just because the service was conducted remotely, Thomas says. In the last few months alone, nine more states have introduced telehealth parity legislation: Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota and West Virginia.

In another milestone, all 50 state Medicaid programs now have some type of coverage for telemedicine. But in some states, Thomas says, Medicaid coverage for telehealth falls short.

In New Hampshire, for instance, Medicaid telehealth coverage follows Medicare restrictions on geography, patient settings and provider eligibility. But, just this year, the state introduced legislation that would remove geographic barriers and expand Medicaid coverage of telehealth to urban areas.

 

Clinical Practice

Across the country, doctors’ use of telehealth tools is often limited in clinical practice, Thomas says. Through legislation, there have been many attempts to remove privileges for virtual tools, require in-person visits and narrow the definition of telemedicine, she says.

But some states are passing legislation to protect telehealth from these artificial restrictions, Thomas says. Virginia, for example, recently enacted laws to prevent artificial in-person requirements and allow ophthalmologists and optometrists to perform eye exams via telemedicine to prescribe eyewear.

 

Licensure

With communication technology becoming increasingly ubiquitous, Thomas says, it should be as easy to access a healthcare provider as it is to binge-watch a show on Hulu.

But some restrictions prohibit physicians from practicing telehealth across state lines, Thomas says. This creates confusion when doctors travel out of state for conferences, for instance, or when patients want to access the best specialists—who happen to practice across the country. “The nature of our mobile lives is such that these state-by-state requirements are quite burdensome,” she says.

 

Some state telehealth models are starting to enable cross-state practice, Thomas says. Just last month, Utah became the second state (Arizona was the first) to join the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT), an interstate compact to facilitate telehealth practice of psychology across jurisdictional boundaries. The PSYPACT will go into effect if seven states join.

The model will help patients access mental health care, Thomas says, even as the country faces a shortage of providers. “There’s no need for an additional state license,” she says. “It’s a wonderful model that we certainly do embrace.”

Expect a busy year for telehealth policy in the states as more than a dozen bills are on the dockets from Idaho to Massachusetts this legislative session. “[The bills] all carry a lot of weight and tremendous impacts to the residents in the states where they’re being introduced,” she says. “Having the conversation that the bill is introduced is a wonderful step.”

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Prescribing Abortion-inducing Medication through Telemedicine

Prescribing Abortion-inducing Medication through Telemedicine | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

For minor injuries and fever, the healthcare sector has witnessed a steady rise in adoption of telemedicine as it saves time and money. Recently, a study was conducted to see the impact on women after they were prescribed medication to induce abortion through telemedicine.

From January 2010 to December 2012, around 1,000 women participated in a research study wherein they underwent abortions using a telemedicine service, Women on Web. Through this service, the women were suggested only medical abortions which involves administering medicines to induce abortions, rather than a surgical abortion. Almost 95 percent of the women reported successful abortions, while a few complained about adverse effects such as surgical interventions or need for antibiotics.

The research was conducted in Ireland and Northern Ireland. As per the researchers, “early medical abortion provided through online telemedicine was highly effective. The reported rate of successful medical abortion compares favorably with the rates of those carried out within the formal healthcare system, both when mifepristone and misoprostol are administered in clinic and when mifepristone is administered in clinic and misoprostol is taken at home. The reported prevalence of adverse events is low, and, critically, when women reported experiencing symptoms of a potentially serious complication, almost all reported seeking medical attention as advised.”

A major chunk of women reside in countries which impose strict abortion laws and women are forced to administer unsafe methods to end unwanted pregnancies. Unsafe pregnancies are a major reason for maternal mortality. In the US, safety of women is cited as the main reason for offering abortion support through telemedicine.

The Irish researchers further stated, “Our results have important implications for the perception of abortion outside the formal health system using online telemedicine. Firstly, they clearly show that not at all abortions taking place outside the law are unsafe abortions. Secondly, they add an important dimension to existing evidence that women themselves report abortion through online telemedicine as a positive experience with benefits for health and wellbeing. Millions of women worldwide live in countries where self-sourced medical abortion is a potentially lifesaving option, and strengthening services outside the formal healthcare setting could be a vital component of strategies to reduce maternal mortality from unsafe abortion. Finally, given the trajectory of abortion policy in Europe and the US, the visibility, and importance of self-sourced medical abortion will continue to increase.”

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8 tips for telehealth success

8 tips for telehealth success | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Telehealth, or connected health as some call it, takes different forms depending on the provider organization and its strategy. The primary driver may be extending geographic reach by providing telehealth services to rural areas. Or it may be largely a focus on consumer engagement.

Regardless, there are common themes for successful initiatives. Based on my experience in several healthcare systems in recent years, I offer these tips for success:

 

Strategy is key – The organization must first determine what the key drivers are for the initiative. Is it to extend reach or provide an easier patient experience or a combination?

 

Tactics and specific programs will follow – Once the strategy is clear, which specific clinical services and offerings are needed the most will become clear.

 

Physician leadership is needed – If the focus is on extending the reach of certain clinical services, physicians are at the center and must provide overall direction. For consumer-focused services, ambulatory services or strategic planning leadership may play a more central role.

 

Operational issues and decisions must be considered early on – There are legal and billing factors along with workflow issues for clinicians and staff to work out before any implementation.

 

Governance and prioritization is needed – By now it should be clear who needs to be involved in oversight and prioritizing of programs within the overall initiative. Physician leaders, ambulatory, strategic planning, legal, revenue cycle and IT must all be part of this effort.

 

Common platform and tools to the extent possible – Before there is a formal organization-wide initiative, multiple efforts may spring up with different tools in different clinical services. Establishing a common platform and standard tools to deploy will be more cost effective over time and allow for more efficient support.

 

Leverage the core EHR vendor – Before investing in one-off solutions that need to be integrated, you need to fully understand what your core EHR vendor provides and what their product roadmap looks like for this rapidly evolving market.

 

Commit and invest – Senior leadership needs to be willing to invest money and resources to launch and support programs.

 

Pilot and refine before scaling up – Technology and workflows need to be thoroughly tested and refined based on user feedback before broad rollout at scale.

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Telehealth Role in Value Based Care

Telehealth Role in Value Based Care | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Value-based care has been the subject of much discussion in US healthcare.  While the definition of what “value” means may vary from person to person, most do see value as encompassing the goals of the Triple Aim of quality care, better health outcomes and lower costs.  As the health care industry grapples with how to deliver value based care, telehealth is being increasingly looked towards as a potential tool to achieve this significant goal.  Telehealth is the use of technology to provide care from a distance when the patient and provider are in two different locations.  The unique features of telehealth lend itself well to a variety of ways of utilisation that would help achieve these goals. 

 

Quality Care

 

There are a variety of ways telehealth technologies can provide quality care.  Though questions still persist from some sectors whether the care delivered via telehealth is “as good” as in-person care, there are definitely situations where technology can do more than an in-person interaction in the same situation.  For example, in the case of a dermatological consultation, the technology allows a dermatologist to zoom in and magnify features of a condition that may not be evident to the naked eye.

Telehealth can also provide quality care by increasing access to care itself.  The United States currently has a shortage of specialty providers and currently practicing specialty providers are unevenly distributed throughout the nation leaving wide swathes of the population without access to needed health services or forcing patients to travel great distances to receive it, expending time and money to do so.  With telehealth, providers can reach more patients over a wider geographic area and in a timely fashion that would be more convenient to patients.

Another example of where telehealth can help improve quality care is care coordination.  With different providers seeing to the disparate needs of a patient, communication and coordination may not always happen.  This may result in duplicative treatments, gaps in treatment or perhaps treatment that might conflict.  Utilising technology to allow different providers to work together to organise patient care and share information would not only improve care, but help enhance the patient experience as all of his or her providers work in concert.

 

Lower Costs

 

Using technology to create efficiencies and preventing episodes from deteriorating to a more serious condition can lead to lower costs to the health system. For example, remote patient monitoring (RPM), one of the modalities that comprises telehealth, has been shown to improve patient outcomes, especially those with chronic conditions, by reducing hospitalisations.  RPM can be used to continuously monitor a patient’s condition while they are at home.  More serious episodes that could result in a trip to a hospital emergency room can be prevented in some cases by noticing and addressing issues before the patient’s condition deteriorates. The issue is addressed before a costly trip to a hospital is necessary, not only saving money, but preventing the patient from a more serious episode.

 

Better Health Outcomes

By improving care and preventing more serious episodes, patients will see better health outcomes. This is starkly illustrated in the use of telehealth in providing stroke care.  In certain stroke cases, the timely administration of a clot-busting drug called tPA (Tissue plasminogen activator) can minimise the adverse effects of a stroke and in some cases avoid them altogether. However, it requires a neurologist to assess and make that decision to administer the drug and the window of opportunity to do so is very small.  With the shortage of neurologists in the US, there simply aren’t enough to have one physically in every hospital and emergency room where a stroke case may be admitted. However, with the use of telehealth, those few neurologists can expand their reach and service more locations to the benefit of those stroke patients.

 

With the foregoing, it’s easy to see why telehealth is being sought out as a means to achieve value based care.  With the coming changes of a Trump presidency, it is likely that health systems will make even greater efforts to seek out ways to achieve value based care. If they have not already, these systems should look towards telehealth to assist them with these efforts.

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4 steps to choosing the right telemedicine technology for your organization

4 steps to choosing the right telemedicine technology for your organization | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

By taking advantage of telehealth, health care organizations can improve the quality of care they're providing and stay at the forefront of the industry. But before the implementation and integration process begins, providers must choose the telemedicine technology that meets their requirements and makes most sense for their organization. Susan Brown, director of Telligen's Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center, told Becker's Hospital Review that taking the time to find the right product will make the entire process easier.

"This is a truly overwhelming process for folks just starting out to know where to begin," she said. "It's worth it to get the right product, because it's a long-term relationship."

If you're a health care professional who's ready to introduce telehealth to your facility, consider this checklist for choosing the right technology:

1. Establish your goals
According to the Great Plains Telehealth Resource & Assistance Center, establishing goals for telemedicine will not only help you develop your staff, estimate costs and evaluate overall organization performance - it will also assist you in selecting your equipment. Choosing technology that best meets the goals and vision of your organization can keep you on track to success.

2. Do your research
Before making your decision on a telemedicine program, make sure you're doing your research. There are dozens of innovative technologies to choose from these days, and there are plenty of resources that can help you evaluate the product based on current and past partnership between vendors and facilities. Use the internet, clinical partners and other companies to learn more about specific technologies before making any decisions.

Before choosing the system for your organization, do your research.

3. Attend demonstrations
Most vendors will allow your team to attend a demonstration of the telemedicine technology you're considering, so be sure to take advantage of it. This gives your team a chance to evaluate the interface and consider how it meshes with your workflow. Getting a first-hand look at the system can make or break the final decision. If you're able to set up a demo with a potential vendor, make sure your entire implementation team is in attendance. 

4. Find the product in action
Reach out to prospective vendors for references to see or hear about the product in action. This allows you to learn about how the technology has worked in the health care setting, and what you can expect from its overall performance. If at all possible, Brown also suggested reaching out to additional references for an unbiased opinion about the system.

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Will Telehealth Adoption Increase in 2017?

Will Telehealth Adoption Increase in 2017? | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The current trends show that Telehealth Adoption is on the increase. There’s no question that Telehealth software is changing the way healthcare is delivered. As with any new technology or innovation to any major industry, there are challenges in the early stages of Telehealth adoption.

Some of these challenges come in the form of governmental regulations. Nowhere is this more common than in the field of Healthcare.

Telehealth Adoption Licensure Challenges

A recently released report from the Center for American Progress has found that state licensure and Telehealth reimbursement are at the top of the list of needed industry improvements. The report was overwhelmingly favorable towards Telehealth technologies and their role in the future of health care. Over 60% of healthcare professionals are already using Telehealth services or planning to within the next few years.

One of the biggest issues the report found was dealing with individual state licensure acceptance. There are only three states (Maryland, New York, and Virginia) and the District of Columbia that recognize and allow licensure reciprocity. In most states in the U.S., licenses don’t transfer to other states, so in order to practice Telehealth in another state, a physician would have to be re-certified there as well.

Telehealth Adoption in hospitals can help to treat patients in multiple states. Of course, Doctors have to make sure they’re complying with multiple sets of laws. Some states that do allow licenses to out-of-state providers have various restrictions and regulations in place, slowing down the process.

Telehealth Adoption Reimbursement Challenges

Telehealth reimbursement is the other big issue among providers and consumers. The American Progress report suggests that states “should take all available steps to increase reimbursement for Telehealth services.”

Telehealth reimbursement has steadily grown and increased in range and coverage. There is still work to be done to make it more efficient for patients to receive and pay for Telehealth services.

Medicare, as the leader in Telehealth reimbursement will only pay for face-to-face, interactive video consultation services wherein the patient is present and talking with a doctor and both people can see each other ‘live’ on screen.

When it comes to medicare Telehealth reimbursements, different states have various standards by which their Medicaid programs will reimburse for Telehealth expenses.

As for private Insurance reimbursement for Telehealth, there is no single widely-accepted standard as yet. Some insurance companies value the benefits of Telehealth and will reimburse a wide variety of services. Others have yet to develop comprehensive reimbursement policies, and so payment for Telehealth may require prior approval.

This challenge of Telehealth Reimbursement is increasingly important as the number of Americans who use these services continues to grow too. Over 60% of Americans now say they would be willing to visit a doctor virtually if their was availability.

Estimates suggest that widespread Telehealth services could result in $6 billion a year in Healthcare savings to U.S. companies. Opening up the access and availability by making licensure and reimbursement easier and more prevalent will only to increase these savings.

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4 conditions your clinic can tackle through telemedicine 

4 conditions your clinic can tackle through telemedicine  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Living with a debilitating disease can be overwhelming. Not only does it have an impact on overall wellness and longevity, but also the time, effort and money patients spend traveling to see specialists can limit the quality of care they receive. Still, these physician visits are critical to health outcomes, so patients could benefit from an easier way to keep their plan of care on track. That's where telemedicine comes in.

 

Technology is positively impacting the health care industry in various ways, and telehealth is an example of an effective tool for those living with chronic conditions. There is a direct correlation between access to care and quality of care, and telehealth closes the geographic gap to where and when people can get the care they need

4 chronic conditions supported with telemedicine

The ability to increase access to care via telemedicine has proven to be a convenient way to manage chronic disease. Here are four common conditions that telehealth can assist with:

 

  1. High blood pressure - According to Health IT News, someone living with hypertension can utilize telemedicine to connect with a specialist via video conferencing and discuss data from their wearable device

  2. Diabetes - Rural patients managing diabetes often lack access to a specialist. Telemedicine has proven a viable way to manage diabetes and when necessary, provide a high level interaction between patients in rural areas and diabetic specialist in larger urban centers.

  3. Depression - Discussing anxiety or other feelings related to depression with a psychologist can be done via telemedicine, as Mark Rood, MD, told the Cleveland Clinic. It's the same type of conversation that would happen in the office, so telehealth takes away the time and effort spent to meet in person.

  4. Arthritis - Determining one's range of motion doesn't have to happen face to face. With telemedicine, a patient living with arthritis can demonstrate how well he or she is healing and ask for additional recommendations if pain has worsened.

 

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Benefits of telemedicine during pregnancy 

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

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 | Scoop.it

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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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 | Scoop.it

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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How to Launch a Telehealth Service in your Medical Clinic

How to Launch a Telehealth Service in your Medical Clinic | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Many doctors are looking at how to launch a telehealth service. Doctors today are familiar with the telehealth virtual consultation model. Telehealth a few years ago was a new concept, but today it is becoming as common as using Uber, Airbnb and Venmo.

Doctors want to add the convenience and customization of telehealth services to their medical clinic. There is profit to be made and patients want the ease of remote visits.

The challenge is to know how to get started in a way that doesn’t interrupt your regular workday and can add value to both the patients and the office.

Here are 5 suggestions to help you launch a telehealth service in your medical clinic.

1) Choose a team member to lead

The success of launching a telemedicine service in your medical practice won’t happen by accident. You will need a dedicated team member who leads the project.

Think of it as a new section of your services that will take time, and need tweaking as you go. Choose a person on the team who has a good understanding of both technology and the patient relationship. Find someone who has an interest in moving the clinic forward and making a difference in the lives of patients. These values will be important as the launch will be challenging at first.

One tip is to plan a weekly meeting to review the progress with your telehealth team leader. Talk through the project and any challenges together. This will empower them and make them feel more focussed on main git a success.

2) Understand the rules and terminology

Telemedicine regulations will vary by state to state and insurance payer. It is important to know the specific rules such as your state’s law and the billing guidelines for all of your major insurance carriers. This A-Z Telehealth guide may help you guide your patients and help smooth over any confusion.


3) Decide on a platform

Perhaps the most difficult part of deciding on to launch a telehealth service is which platform to use. Each telemedicine provider will have their own benefits. Some are less expensive but offer little customization. Some offer more customization or better Telemedicine EHR integration than others.

It is important to know how much extra work a new technology will create, alongside any costs. Remember the time you spend working out the bugs is a key factor in the success or failure of your telemedicine implementation.

4) Start slow and test your process

Many offices will think launching telehealth means diving in the deep end and offering it to all patients immediately. All this will do is cause headaches. It is better to start slow, perhaps offering one or two telehealth visit slots per day, to begin with for the first 2-4 weeks. Then you can track the progress, refine the process and slowly and profitability of those telehealth visits.

5) Offer and Market to your best patients first

You probably have a pool of long term patients who are easy to deal with and have more common, easily remedied complaints. These are the ideal group to start with. This is because they are not likely to cause extra challenges above and beyond getting used to the technology. If you have an established relationship, this makes it easier as well, as they are more understanding that this is a new service.

This guide to launch a telehealth service in your medical clinic is just the start. There is no denying it will be a challenge but is well worth the effort. It will offer a new way to care for your patients and grow your profitability. If you think through the steps, and stay the course, teleahealth will become another successful, beneficial offering for your patients.

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Investment in Telehealth Expected to Rise

Investment in Telehealth Expected to Rise | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

American Telemedicine Association recently conducted the Telemedicine Executive Leadership survey which revealed that 83 percent executives are planning to invest in telehealth by the end of this year.

 

To keep up with the rapid growth and transformation in the industry, executives are planning these investments. Interestingly, around 98 percent of the survey participants believe that telemedicine gives a competitive edge over other organizations.

Jonathan Linkous, CEO, ATA, said, “This executive leadership survey confirms undeniably today’s leaders view telemedicine as a major driver in transforming healthcare. It comes as no surprise that 98 percent of survey respondents believe telehealth services create a competitive advantage, and I anticipate tremendous growth in the market as we continue to move toward more patient-centered solutions.”

 

The survey, which is based on responses from 171 participants serving at leading positions, also found that use of telehealth expands the reach and coverage of an organization as cited by around 84 percent respondents. The topmost barriers to telemedicine are believed to be licensure and reimbursements.

Over the next three years, there would be a rise in consumer demand that would push the growth of telemedicine as believed by approximately 50 percent of the respondents.

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Telehealth drives up healthcare utilization and spending

Telehealth drives up healthcare utilization and spending | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Telehealth, which is frequently touted as an effective strategy to decrease healthcare spending, may actually be driving up costs, according to a new study by the RAND Corp. The report, published Monday in the journal Health Affairs, found that although telehealth appointments are cheaper than in-person and emergency room visits, the online and virtual resources encourage vast new utilization, ultimately driving up healthcare spending. The findings are a surprise wake-up call as employers increasingly look to offer telehealth services to their workers. About 90% of large employers said they would offer telehealth services as part of their employee health plans in 2017, according to a 2016 survey from the National Business Group on Health. The study’s researchers used 2011-13 claims data from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System to dive into telehealth costs. The authors compared the cost and use of telehealth visits and in-person visits for patients seeking treatment for acute respiratory infections, one of the most comment conditions treated via telehealth services.The researchers found that only 12% of direct-to-consumer telehealth visits replaced a visit to another provider. The convenience of telemedicine is encouraging people to seek care when they normally wouldn’t, said Scott Ashwood, lead author of the report and associate policy researcher at RAND Corp. “You don’t even have to go anywhere … you just have to pick up the phone.”

 

An individual may be less inclined to go see their primary-care doctor or visit the ER if they have the common cold or a high fever. But the easy access and low cost of telemedicine may motivate people to seek a clinical consultation, Ashwood said.

On average, a telemedicine appointment costs about $79 compared to $146 for a doctor’s visit and $1,734 for an ER visit, the study found.

RAND Corp. found a similar trend taking place among retail clinics. A study in November 2016 found ERs near retail clinics didn’t experience a reduction of visits from patients with low-acuity illnesses.

 

To discourage telemedicine overutilization, the authors suggested increasing patient cost-sharing for the consultations. This could encourage people to consider more critically what conditions they will seek care for, Ashwood said. “If I have to pay more out of pocket to pick up the phone, maybe I don’t,” he said.

The authors also suggested health plans reach out to patients who frequently use the ER and encourage them to use telemedicine services instead. Ashwood said patients with chronic conditions that frequently use the ER for care will effectively decrease spending if they use telemedicine instead.

“We are seeing patients responding (to telemedicine) so there is a benefit to respond to certain populations,” Ashwood said.

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Top 10 Telemedicine Solutions by Hospital Site Implementations

Top 10 Telemedicine Solutions by Hospital Site Implementations | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Driven by patient demand, improvements in technology, and the need to deliver healthcare outside the traditional hospital setting, health systems across the US are embracing telemedicine.

Some are launching platforms to connect patients to specialist care, either through consults or as part of a larger care management platform targeting those with chronic conditions. Still more are using the technology to improve hospital workflows, improve clinician-to-clinician collaboration and extend services to smaller, more remote hospitals and clinics.

Many health systems are jumping on the direct-to-consumer bandwagon. They’re launching platforms that allow patients - new and returning - to connect with a nurse or doctor for on-demand care, ranging from minor, nagging issues to ailments that might send them to the doctor’s office or ER.

 

The following are the top 10 telemedicine solutions based on number of hospital site implementations according to data from Definitive Healthcare.

 

Iron Bow Technologies
Iron Bow offers telehealth services assisting providers and patients through technical expertise and workflow process awareness. The vendor aims to improve health outcomes by equipping hospitals with secure telehealth, telemedicine, and mobile health solutions as well as the proper infrastructure to support these services. Iron Bow also offers searchable data stores of patient health records allowing healthcare organizations to improve data warehousing, sharing, and mining. Iron Bow solutions meet government reporting and security requirements. The vendor also regularly modifies software products to meet new and developing standards in the healthcare industry. Iron Bow also offers users unified communications integrating voice, video, data, video teleconferencing, and instant messaging.

 

American Well
This direct-to-consumer telehealth provider offers a scalable telemedicine platform equipped with patient-facing apps, video visit technology, provider apps, mobile software development kits, and telemedicine tablets allowing providers to invite specialists into patient visits as needed through video call capabilities. American Well allows providers to design custom solutions meeting the specific needs of their health system to assist in optimizing patient engagement, clinical service development, EHR integration, and physician best practices.

 

Philips Healthcare
Philips Healthcare offers health systems telemedicine solutions assisting providers in organizational role design and program goal setting as well as clinical protocols, patient recruitment, and clinical workflow. The vendor’s telehealth programs offer providers the necessary tools to support care delivery for myriad health conditions in a variety of healthcare settings. Philips also offers programs for complex care, chronic disease management, and readmission management. The vendor’s remote monitoring and communication capabilities include two-way video.

 

MDLive
MDLive offers patients 24 hour access to board-certified doctors, pediatricians, and therapists seven days a week. Direct-to-consumer services include virtual care offering patients access to a virtual visit within fifteen minutes of registering with the service. MDLive is geared toward providing patient-centric care accessible through any computer or smartphone. Through a three step process, users can instantly download the app, select a doctor, and begin a consultation. MDLive’s cloud-based platform is HIPAA compliant and specializes in care for health systems or self-insured employers.

 

Care Innovations
Care innovations is a telemedicine solution specializing in remote patient management. The vendor offers management solutions for patients with chronic conditions through patient engagement, patient education, and early treatment interventions to reduce readmissions. Care Innovation’s remote monitoring care management also provides a range of data analytics solutions offering providers and patients insights into their conditions for more appropriate care and better health outcomes.

 

Vidyo
Vidyo telemedicine solutions specializes in care delivery to rural patients. The vendor’s telemedicine video conferencing technology offers patients in remote locations improved access to care while optimizing clinical efficiency and continuity of care across settings for providers. Vidyo offerings include in-home care delivery through unmanaged networks and devices for video visits and remote monitoring. Additionally, the vendor provides ambulatory care options enabling clinician-to-clinician consultations with EHR and diagnostic device integration.

 

Avizia
Avizia is an end-to-end telehealth platform integrating care coordination software with video devices and mobile apps to deliver telehealth solutions to over 1,000 hospitals worldwide. The vendor offers a range of collaboration tools including peripherals designed to optimize usability, workflow software automating telemedicine processes, and a video cloud. Avizia’s telemedicine offerings received an 89 percent approval rating from patients at AZ Palliative Home Care.

 

Zipnosis
Zipnosis telemedicine services include virtual care services that combine access points, technologies, and services customizable to specific health systems. The Zipnosis platform offers a suite of solutions featuring telemedicine tools ready to integrate into existing clinical and operational systems. Clients currently using Zipnosis’ telemedicine solutions include UMass Memorial Hospital and St. Vincent’s Medical Center.

 

iDoc Telehealth
This Texas-based telehealth solutions vendor specializes in eConsultations, remote staffing, and telemedicine infrastructure consultations. iDoc provides patient evaluations and medical second opinions to help physicians avoid misdiagnosis and excessive treatments that can lead to patient harm. iDoc remote staffing offers inpatient coverage for any under-staffed healthcare facilities using the service to ensure 24-hour patient care. iDoc also offers users solutions to help health systems develop their own telemedicine system.

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How to Launch a Telehealth Service in your Medical Clinic

How to Launch a Telehealth Service in your Medical Clinic | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Many doctors are looking at how to launch a telehealth service. Doctors today are familiar with the telehealth virtual consultation model. Telehealth a few years ago was a new concept, but today it is becoming as common as using Uber, Airbnb and Venmo.

Doctors want to add the convenience and customization of telehealth services to their medical clinic. There is profit to be made and patients want the ease of remote visits.

The challenge is to know how to get started in a way that doesn’t interrupt your regular workday and can add value to both the patients and the office.

Here are 5 suggestions to help you launch a telehealth service in your medical clinic.

1) Choose a team member to lead

The success of launching a telemedicine service in your medical practice won’t happen by accident. You will need a dedicated team member who leads the project.

Think of it as a new section of your services that will take time, and need tweaking as you go. Choose a person on the team who has a good understanding of both technology and the patient relationship. Find someone who has an interest in moving the clinic forward and making a difference in the lives of patients. These values will be important as the launch will be challenging at first.

One tip is to plan a weekly meeting to review the progress with your telehealth team leader. Talk through the project and any challenges together. This will empower them and make them feel more focussed on main git a success.

2) Understand the rules and terminology

Telemedicine regulations will vary by state to state and insurance payer. It is important to know the specific rules such as your state’s law and the billing guidelines for all of your major insurance carriers. This A-Z Telehealth guide may help you guide your patients and help smooth over any confusion.


3) Decide on a platform

 

Perhaps the most difficult part of deciding on to launch a telehealth service is which platform to use. Each telemedicine provider will have their own benefits. Some are less expensive but offer little customization. Some offer more customization or better Telemedicine EHR integration than others.

It is important to know how much extra work a new technology will create, alongside any costs. Remember the time you spend working out the bugs is a key factor in the success or failure of your telemedicine implementation.

4) Start slow and test your process

Many offices will think launching telehealth means diving in the deep end and offering it to all patients immediately. All this will do is cause headaches. It is better to start slow, perhaps offering one or two telehealth visit slots per day, to begin with for the first 2-4 weeks. Then you can track the progress, refine the process and slowly and profitability of those telehealth visits.

5) Offer and Market to your best patients first

You probably have a pool of long term patients who are easy to deal with and have more common, easily remedied complaints. These are the ideal group to start with. This is because they are not likely to cause extra challenges above and beyond getting used to the technology. If you have an established relationship, this makes it easier as well, as they are more understanding that this is a new service.

This guide to launch a telehealth service in your medical clinic is just the start. There is no denying it will be a challenge but is well worth the effort. It will offer a new way to care for your patients and grow your profitability. If you think through the steps, and stay the course, teleahealth will become another successful, beneficial offering for your patients.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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Scoop.it!

Is Telehealth costing or making money?

Is Telehealth costing or making money? | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

For all the hype generated in the world of telemedicine, it is still difficult to determine whether it is making an impact financially, both in cost savings for patients, and increased revenue for doctors.

“Healthcare providers are taking telemedicine to new heights, with the market seeing growth of a whopping 237 percent within a five-year period from 2007 to 2012”, according to Erin McCann, Managing Editor at HealthITNews.

On top of this, patients are increasingly using connected devices to save time for their healthcare needs. New findings released by the Makovsky/Kelton “Pulse of Online Search” Survey showed that 43% of consumers used the internet to access advice from physicians or medical experts, and 45% of patients who use health-related apps were willing to use an app to communicate with their doctor.

Fielded to 1,035 Americans ages 18 and over, the data further reveal that while the doctor-patient relationship remains integral to the healthcare equation, patients are actively seeking information online to supplement their doctor visits.

 

 

What is the Cost to Patients?

According to a study by Connect with Care, the average estimated cost of a telehealth visit is $40-$50 per visit compared to the average estimated cost of $136-$176 for in-person acute care.

The average number of virtual visits per patient is 1.3 per year. The most common diagnoses made during a telemedicine visit are sinusitis, followed by cold/flu/pertussis and urinary tract infections. Patient issues are able to be resolved during the initial virtual visit an average of 83 percent of the time.

With Medicare reimbursing telemedicine visits at the same rate as in person care, a virtual visit could save the Medicare program an estimated $45/visit.

 

 

Are doctors seeing an increase in reimbursement?


The annual report published by Medical Group Management Association, which represents physician practice groups nationwide, shows that just from last year alone, physician-owned multi-specialty groups reported nearly a 12 percent increase in technology-related operating costs. Overall, those costs tallied to $20,693 per full-time physician in 2014.

With Medicare and medicaid covering more remote services, the pressure is now mounting for insurance companies to also reimburse technology-related medical services.  According to the American Telemedicine Association 29 states and the District of Columbia require that private insurers cover telehealth the same as they cover in-person services.

 

Clearly, the desire from patients to use telemedicine is growing. The reimbursement by government and private providers is quickly catching up.

In time, there will be a convergence of reimbursed and fee-for-service telemedicine services. Doctors will have the option to offer both telemedicine and in-office acute care in a balanced way, that offers savings for patients, and rewards for doctors.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

more...
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