Archive for the ‘Telehealth & Telemedicine’ Category

Guest Post: Clinical, Quality and Financial Benefits of Incorporating Technology into Healthcare Practices

April 10th, 2018 by Brooke LeVasseur

New technology adoption playing an increasingly vital role in healthcare practices.

Adoption of new technology is playing an increasingly vital role in the future of healthcare practices. Through population health solutions, artificial intelligence and new expanded telehealth offerings, healthcare stakeholders are better able to achieve triple aim goals with increased access to care, reduced readmissions and transfers, improved care coordination and more efficient clinical workflows.

These technological advancements have the potential to improve patient outcomes while significantly decreasing the overall cost of care.

  • According to the Certification Commission of Healthcare Information Technology, it is estimated that about 50 percent of healthcare finances are wasted, due to inefficient processes.
  • Empowering providers with new communications tools can lead to increased efficiency and improved care coordination at a lower cost.
  • New advances in care delivery models such as eConsults allow providers to have immediate access to the necessary information to treat their patients without the constraints of physical location. eConsults allow for providers to connect with specialists to collaborate on treatment plans, all within the primary care setting.

While telehealth can deliver substantial cost savings, it can also deliver clinical advantages.

  • Telemedicine allows for greater access to care for those living in areas where either population congestion or geographic proximity makes gaining access to healthcare more difficult. Providers are also able to have access to more patients per day versus a traditional office visit.
  • Smart Care Platforms are making strides in the senior and Medicaid managed care industries because it allows for the elderly population to receive eConsult specialty care from the comfort of their primary care setting.
  • Prison systems have also taken advantage of Smart Care Platforms to alleviate the extra staff/security and financial costs of transferring an inmate to a hospital or specialty care setting.

About the Author:

Brooke LeVasseur

Brooke LeVasseur, CEO of AristaMD, has over 15 years of leadership experience launching new, innovative healthcare products and solutions to payers and providers. After graduating from Stanford University, she worked in equity research, covering medtech companies for Thomas Weisel Partners. Since then, LeVasseur has worked with numerous start-ups in a variety of capacities, including: corporate and commercial strategy, marketing and new business creation where she has led teams to successfully commercialize new healthcare tools and gain widespread clinician adoption and reimbursement.

HIN Disclaimer: The opinions, representations and statements made within this guest article are those of the author and not of the Healthcare Intelligence Network as a whole. Any copyright remains with the author and any liability with regard to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them. The company accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.

Guest Post: Three Benefits to Using Virtual Care Services During Seasonal Epidemics

March 27th, 2018 by Dr. Delanor Doyle

Virtual Care

Virtual care benefits providers and patients.

This year, the flu epidemic reached an all-time high with 39 states experiencing high patient traffic and marking it as the most hectic season for hospitals since 2009. It seems every day in the news we heard about another state or city breaking a record for the most local flu cases of all time. It’s no wonder then that anyone, even medical professionals, were wary about coming into contact with others and being susceptible to the illness.

When a true epidemic breaks out, like this flu season, it is critical that healthcare providers encourage the use of virtual care services. This is important not only from a health perspective for themselves, but also because it benefits the patient in more ways than simply not having to get out of bed to go to the doctor’s office.

#1: Provides a Personalized, Holistic Care Approach

In the past, physicians would travel to the homes of their patients so the sick did not have to travel. With virtual care, physicians can actually return to this level of personalization. Now, physicians can talk with their patients one-on-one to relate to them on a deeper level—as if they were coming into their home—through the use of video conferencing capabilities. People want to relate to people so providing a face-to-face interaction virtually ensures the patient feels cared for and valued.

Additionally, there are many benefits to seeing the patient’s home or work environment that can help provide health advice that goes beyond a traditional visit. By seeing their surroundings, a physician may recognize triggers or red flags in the background that can help further diagnose a problem that wouldn’t otherwise be known from an office visit. This allows physicians to truly be care providers, as opposed to simply treating an illness.

#2: Improves Satisfaction in Level of Care Provided

We’ve all seen the emergency room that is full to the brim with patients waiting to be seen and feeling the level of stress rise in needing to get to every one of them as quickly as possible. During an epidemic like the flu, the ER is going to be packed and physicians will need to move from patient to patient quickly. However, they can actually do so just as fast, if not more so, virtually. Patients no longer have to become frustrated waiting hours in the ER intake room waiting to be seen. Instead, they receive more immediate care with less coordination and hassle at the office.

By using virtual care services, physicians are simplifying the process while also being able to scale faster. A dedicated virtual staff can answer patient questions efficiently while not losing the personal touch so they don’t feel rushed out of the office. Virtual care service removes the lag time between patients walking in and out of the office, allowing more time for care and the visit and the volume of those needing assistance decreases faster.

#3: Lower Out-of-Pocket costs While Increasing Retention Rates

It seems a patient’s immediate first step when they feel they are coming down with the flu or another quickly-spreading illness is to go to the ER or an urgent clinic because they want immediate care and do not want to wait to schedule an appointment with their primary care physician. Unfortunately, some of those types of visits are not covered by a patient’s insurance plan or they must pay an extremely high co-pay for it. As physicians, it is critical we better educate patients about virtual care services that can give them that immediate return that doesn’t cost them extra.

By reminding patients of these services and then providing quality care when they do utilize them, physician groups and healthcare organizations can build loyalty and begin shifting potential negative perceptions a patient might have about their provider. This allows providers to establish a true relationship with patients and be seen as a key resource for all health-related issues, which increases retention for reoccurring visits.

About the Author

Dr. Delanor Doyle

Dr. Delanor Doyle

Dr. Delanor Doyle is the chief medical officer of Texas Health Aetna, the jointly owned health plan focused on improving quality, affordability and overall member experience between Texas Health and Aetna. The company represents two leading healthcare organizations coming together to fundamentally transform the health care experience for members through technology-enabled, data-driven analytics and enhanced local care management. For more information, please visit www.texashealthaetna.com.

HINfographic: Telehealth & Remote Patient Monitoring: No Limit to Where ‘Doctor Will See You Now’

March 14th, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

No longer reserved for rural populations, telehealth is proving a game-changer across the care continuum, as telepsychiatry, tele-ERs, tele-ICUs and even telepharmacies proliferate. Telehealth adoption rose from 63 percent in 2015 to 74 percent in 2018, according to the latest Telehealth & Remote Patient Monitoring Survey by the Healthcare Intelligence Network (HIN).

A new infographic by the Healthcare Intelligence Network examines clinical telehealth uses, telehealth-EHR integration and the use of free and/or discounted healthcare wearables.

2018 Healthcare Benchmarks: Telehealth & Remote Patient MonitoringArtificial intelligence. Automation. Blockchain. Robotics. Once the domain of science fiction, these telehealth technologies have begun to transform the fabric of healthcare delivery systems. As further proof of telehealth’s explosive growth, the use of wearable health-tracking devices and remote patient monitoring has proliferated, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has added several new provider telehealth billing codes for calendar year 2018.

2018 Healthcare Benchmarks: Telehealth & Remote Patient Monitoring delivers the latest actionable telehealth and remote patient monitoring metrics on tools, applications, challenges, successes and ROI from healthcare organizations across the care spectrum. This 60-page report, now in its fifth edition, documents benchmarks on current and planned telehealth and remote patient monitoring initiatives as well as the use of emerging technologies in the healthcare space. Click here for more information.

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Essentia Health Virtual Telemedicine Services Support Rural Hospitals and Clinics

March 13th, 2018 by Patricia Donovan

Essentia Health conducts 5,000 virtual visits annually.

There may be some challenges associated with Essentia Health’s comprehensive telemedicine program, but provider engagement isn’t one of them.

“In the seven years I have been with Essentia Health, I have not gone to any provider to ask them to do telehealth,” notes Maureen Ideker, RN, BSN, MBA, the organization’s senior advisor for telehealth. Instead, physicians seek out Ms. Ideker, asking to be connected to any of Essentia Health’s six hospital-based and more than 20 clinic-based telehealth services.

Such robust telemedicine adoption among Essentia Health’s more than 800 physicians may be one reason why the organization averages 5,000 virtual visits annually, and why it has another 10 to 20 new telehealth offerings in development, according to Ms. Ideker’s presentation during Telemedicine Across the Care Continuum: Boosting Health Clinic Revenue and Closing Care Gaps.

The largely rural footprint of Essentia Health, which touches the three states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota, is ideally suited to telehealth implementation. During this March 2018 webinar, which is now available for rebroadcast, Ms. Ideker outlined her organization’s telehealth program models, history of program development, and equipment and staffing requirements. She also shared key program outcomes, such as the impact of remote patient monitoring on hospital readmissions and clinic ROI from telehealth.

For example, the 30-day readmission rate for Essentia Health patients with heart failure remotely monitored at home is 2 percent, versus its non-monitored heart failure patients (9 percent) and the national 30-day readmissions average of 24 percent.

Essentia Health’s hospital-based telemedicine began with an emergency room platform, which includes pediatric ER and pharmacy and toxicology and a soon-to-be-added behavioral health component. Today, hospitalist and stroke care are the largest of Essentia Health’s hospital-based telemedicine programs, explained Ms. Ideker. These virtual services support Essentia Health’s rural hospitals in five key ways, including the avoidance of unnecessary patient transfers.

On the outpatient side, the 20-something tele-clinic based services developed by Essentia Health over the last seven years run the gamut from allergy and infant audiology to urology and vascular conditions, she explained. Her organization’s telemedicine approach to opioid tapering is catching on across Minnesota, she added.

And while it is appreciative of its providers’ enthusiasm, Essentia Health approaches telehealth development with precision, consulting data analytics such as metrics on annual health screenings to create target groups for new services. The launching of a new telemedicine service can take up to twelve weeks, using a 75-item checklist and an implementation retreat and walk-through, Ms. Ideker explained.

In closing, Ms. Ideker shared several innovation stories from its portfolio of telehealth offerings, including Code Weather, employed during hazardous weather for patient safety reasons and to reduce cancellations of appointments, and a gastroenterology initiative designed to reduce no-show rates.

Listen to Maureen Ideker explain how Essentia Health pairs remote patients with hospital- and clinic-based telehealth services.

Infographic: The Value of Telehealth as a Digital Clinical Care Channel

March 5th, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

Spectrum Health was one of the first health systems in Michigan to offer consumer telehealth, a program gaining in popularity with patients looking for easier and more convenient options than a walk-in clinic or the emergency room.

A new infographic by InternetHealth Management looks at how telehealth breaks down for Spectrum and why the health system sees value in telehealth as a digital channel for clinical care.

Telemedicine Across the Care Continuum: Boosting Health Clinic Revenue and Closing Care GapsThe six-year-old telehealth program at Essentia Health, the largest rural healthcare provider in Minnesota, provides over 30 telehealth services at over 40 sites to expand access to care for its rural patients while improving quality and reducing costs. The program, which has over 200 participating physicians, specialists and healthcare professionals, conducts 5,000 patient visits annually.

During Telemedicine Across the Care Continuum: Boosting Health Clinic Revenue and Closing Care Gaps, a 45-minute webinar on March 1, 2018, now available for replay, Maureen Ideker, RN, BSN, MBA, senior advisor for telehealth at Essentia Health, provides a roadmap of the program’s implementation, challenges and successes as well as details on its new key components. Click here for more information.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

Have an infographic you’d like featured on our site? Click here for submission guidelines.

Infographic: Telemedicine Becomes Just Medicine

February 21st, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

Telemedicine has become part of the healthcare mainstream, according to a new infographic by Vidyo.

The infographic examines telemedicine adoption, patient outcomes and how IT professionals and clinicians should strategically partner for successful initiatives.

Telemedicine Across the Care Continuum: Boosting Health Clinic Revenue and Closing Care GapsThe six-year-old telehealth program at Essentia Health, the largest rural healthcare provider in Minnesota, provides over 30 telehealth services at over 40 sites to expand access to care for its rural patients while improving quality and reducing costs. The program, which has over 200 participating physicians, specialists and healthcare professionals, conducts 5,000 patient visits annually.

During Telemedicine Across the Care Continuum: Boosting Health Clinic Revenue and Closing Care Gaps, a 45-minute webinar on March 1, 2018, Maureen Ideker, RN, BSN, MBA, senior advisor for telehealth at Essentia Health, will provide a roadmap of the program’s implementation, challenges and successes as well as details on its new key components. Click here for more information.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

Have an infographic you’d like featured on our site? Click here for submission guidelines.

Infographic: State Telehealth Laws and Medicaid Program Policies

January 26th, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

Forty-nine states have a definition for telehealth or telemedicine, according to a new infographic by the Center for Connected Health.

The infographic examines Medicaid reimbursement for telehealth along with features of telehealth programs and program requirements.

Real-time remote management of high-risk populations curbed hospitalizations, hospital readmissions and ER visits for more than 80 percent of respondents and boosted self-management levels for nearly all remotely monitored patients, according to 2014 market data from the Healthcare Intelligence Network (HIN).

Remote Monitoring of High-Risk Patients: Telehealth Protocols for Chronic Care Management profiles a successful eight-year initiative by New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation’s (NYCHHC) House Calls Telehealth Program that significantly lowered patients’ A1C blood glucose levels.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

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2018 Success Strategy: Differentiate to Survive Next Wave of Healthcare

January 5th, 2018 by Patricia Donovan

Are supermarkets the next wave of healthcare?

Perhaps not, but if a health insurer can move into the community pharmacy, why not the local grocery store?

On the heels of the recent non-traditional CVS Health-Aetna merger and amidst other swirling consolidation rumors, industry thought leaders are encouraging healthcare organizations to embrace similar partnerships and synergies.

And given the presence of pharmacies inside many supermarkets, “there is potential for greater synergies around what we eat, what we buy and how our healthcare is actually purchased or delivered,” suggests David Buchanan, president of Buchanan Strategies.

“The bonanza [from this merger] might be where data can be shared between CVS’s customers and Aetna’s customers and whether we can steer those CVS customers to Aetna,” he added.

Buchanan and Brian Sanderson, managing principal of healthcare services for Crowe Horwath, sketched a roadmap to help healthcare providers and payors navigate the key trends, challenges and opportunities that beckon in 2018 during Trends Shaping the Healthcare Industry in 2018: A Strategic Planning Session, a December 2017 webinar now available for rebroadcast.

Key guideposts on the road to success: data analytics, consolidation, population health management, patient and member engagement, and telemedicine, among other indicators. Also, organizations shouldn’t hesitate to test-drive new roles in order to differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

“If you are not differentiated, you will not survive in what is a very fluid marketplace,” Sanderson advised.

Honing in on the healthcare provider perspective, Sanderson posed five key questions to help shape physician, hospital and health system strategies, including, “What are the powerful patterns?” Industry mergers, an infusion of private equity money into areas like ambulatory care and emerging value-based payment models fall into this category, he suggested.

These patterns were echoed in four primary trends Sanderson outlined as shaping the direction of the healthcare market, which faces an increasingly “impatient” patient. “I could tell you the market wants care everywhere,” he said. “In the same way we have become impatient with our commoditized goods, so have patients become impatient with accessing care.”

Among these trends are “unclear models of reimbursement,” he noted, adding that after a self-imposed “pause” relative to healthcare reimbursement at the start of a new presidential administration, the industry is ready to “restart with some new sponsors now.”

Notably, Sanderson advised providers to embrace population management. “Don’t think population health, think population management. It’s no longer just the clinical aspects of a patient’s or a population’s health. It’s the overall management of their well-being.”

Following Sanderson’s five winning strategies for healthcare provider success, David Buchanan outlined his list of hot-button items for insurers, which ranged from the future of Obamacare and member engagement to telemedicine, healthcare payment costs and models and trends in Medicare and Medicaid.

Healthcare payors should not underestimate the value of engaging its members, who today possess higher levels of health literacy, he stated. “The member must be an integral part of healthcare transactions, as are the provider, the facility and the insurer. The member must have a greater level of personal responsibility and engagement in the process.”

Offering members wearable health technologies like fitness trackers is one way insurers might engage individuals in their health while creating ‘stickiness’ and member allegiance to the health plan.

Telemedicine, the fastest growing healthcare segment, is another means of extending payors’ reach and increasing profitability, he adds. “Telemedicine is not just for rural health settings anymore, but is finding another subset of adopters among people who can’t fit a doctor’s visit into their busy schedule.”

Payors should expect some competition in this area. “I believe the next wave [of telehealth] will be hospitals expanding into local telehealth services as a lead-in to their local clinics,” Buchanan predicted.

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics in healthcare is growing, but Buchanan and Sanderson agree that adoption will be slow. On the other hand, expect more collaboration between digital players like Amazon, Google and Apple and larger health plans.

“You will see [synergies] when you can put those two players together: the company that can bring the technology to the table as well as those companies that bring the users to the table,” concluded Buchanan.

Listen to a HIN HealthSounds podcast in which David Buchanan predicts the future of mega mergers in healthcare, the impact of the CVS-Aetna alliance on brand awareness, and the real ‘bonanza’ of the $69 billion partnership, beyond bringing healthcare closer to home for many consumers.

Infographic: Assessing the Value of Telemedicine Devices

December 20th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

Telemedicine is a high priority and a critical technology initiative for many healthcare organizations, according to a new infographic by Aeris.

The infographic examines whether healthcare organizations consider telemedicine as mission-critical to their organization and telemedicine barriers, drivers and promising applications.

Real-time remote management of high-risk populations curbed hospitalizations, hospital readmissions and ER visits for more than 80 percent of respondents and boosted self-management levels for nearly all remotely monitored patients, according to 2014 market data from the Healthcare Intelligence Network (HIN).

Remote Monitoring of High-Risk Patients: Telehealth Protocols for Chronic Care Management profiles a successful eight-year initiative by New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation’s (NYCHHC) House Calls Telehealth Program that significantly lowered patients’ A1C blood glucose levels.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

Have an infographic you’d like featured on our site? Click here for submission guidelines.

LVHN Portal Places Healthcare Control in Patients’ Hands, Liberates Staff

November 30th, 2017 by Patricia Donovan

patient portal rolloutConsumers accustomed to communicating, shopping, banking and booking travel online increasingly expect those same conveniences from their healthcare providers.

And as Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) has learned, despite the myriad of benefits a patient portal offers, the most important reason to incorporate this interactive tool into a physician practice is because patients want it.

“As much as we emphasize the marketing aspect of [the portal], having a nice, functional technology that we get in other aspects of our life has really been an enabler,” notes Michael Sheinberg, M.D., medical director, medical informatics, Epic transformation at LVHN. Many LVHN patients found the portal on their own, independent of the tool’s formal introduction, he adds. “Patients really wanted this. Our patients want to be engaged, they want to have access, and they want to own their medical information.”

Dr. Sheinberg and Lindsay Altimare, director of operations for Lehigh Valley Physician Group at LVHN, walked through the rollout of the LVHN portal to its ambulatory care providers during Patient Portal Roll-Out Strategy: Activating and Engaging Patients in Self-Care and Population Health, a November 2017 webinar now available for rebroadcast.

The 2015 launch of LVHN’s patient portal and its continued user growth has earned it the distinction of being the fastest growing patient portal on the Epic® platform.

As Ms. Altimare explained, LVHN first launched its portal with limited functionality in February 2015 as part of the Epic electronic health record that had gone live two years earlier. But even given the portal’s limited feature set, LVHN quickly recognized the tool’s potential to enhance efficiency, education, communication and revenue outside of traditional doctor’s office visits.

At its providers’ request, however, LVHN first piloted the portal within 14 of its 160+ physician practices, using feedback from providers in the two-month trial to further tweak the portal before next rolling it out to its remaining clinicians, and finally to patients.

LVHN supported each rollout phase with targeted marketing and education materials.

Today, LVHN patients and staff embrace the functionality of the portal, which offers an experience similar to that of an online airline check-in. Via the portal, LVHN patients can self-schedule appointments, complete medical questionnaires and forms, even participate in select e-visits with physicians—all in the comfort and privacy of their own homes.

Not only are about 45 percent of LVHN’s 420,000 patients enrolled in the portal, but self-scheduling doubled in the first six months of use. Additionally, upon examining a segment of portal participants over 12 months, LVHN identified a steady rise in portal utilization for common tasks like medication renewals and medical history completion.

The portal “liberates our patients from the need to access our providers in the traditional way,” says Dr. Sheinberg. Appreciation of this freedom is reflected in improved patient experience scores, he adds.

“The portal is a patient satisfier, and certainly a staff satisfier, because it reduces patient ‘no-shows’ and liberates our staff from more manual processes, putting them in the hands of our patients.”