Remember…it is about the patient!

A couple of weeks ago, I listened to a presentation on Minnesota Public Broadcasting (MPR) by Adam Darkins, MD, which again energized me about the work that we do supporting the growth and development of telehealth.

Dr. Darkins, VP for Medical Affairs and Enterprise Technology Develop at Medtronic, was presenting at a conference in Minneapolis focused on the use of technology in healthcare. Early on in his presentation he said something that made me sit up a bit straighter and listen just a bit more closely. It was something that I have heard many times from a former co-worker of mine (a registered nurse and telehealth champion): remember, it is about the patient.

Yes! That is who must stay at the absolute center of our focus as we discuss all things telehealth!

Telehealth, more simply healthcare, must focus on what is happening with the patient. When we consider the new opportunities in telehealth, we need to specifically identify what problem we are trying to solve, not just for the provider, the health system or the insurance company, but for the patient.

While convenience and access are both key components to the value of telehealth, it needs to be about more. It must also be about improvements – improvements in a patient’s overall health, improvement in the overall costs of providing that care, improvements in the health of the general public – in order for telehealth to truly make a difference.

Or maybe, as Dr. Darkins shared, it is about shifting the model of care to more fully benefit the patient. Maybe the patient’s primary care location really is considered their home, and they would “in-reach to the hospital” or clinic for supportive services and care when needed, rather than obtaining “outreach from the hospital” only after a major illness episode or the identification of a disease. His description of the current or traditional healthcare delivery model as being “very much from the industrial age”, where you brought people TO their care access point, is really not the way the rest of the world functions today. It is becoming more important to figure out ways to bring healthcare to the patient, in their everyday experiences. The right place for the provision of care could be almost anywhere, and the right time could be now.

Healthcare, supported by telehealth, needs to continue to focus on what is actually being done and why, remembering always…it is about the patient!

Listen to the entire presentation here:

www.mprnews.org/story/2015/05/14/mpr_news_presents


Telehealth and gpTRAC at the Minnesota State Fair!

Once again, gpTRAC will be demonstrating telehealth at the 2014 Minnesota State Fair.  As in years past, several dermatology specialists will be volunteering and providing screenings via telehealth technologies.  Come check it out!  You’ll find us in the University of Minnesota building.

gpTRAC will be available at several times throughout the fair.  These are all one-hour sessions:

  • Friday, August 22, at 1:00 pm
  • Saturday, August 23, at 10:00 am
  • Tuesday, August 26, at 2:00 pm
  • Wednesday, August 27, at Noon
  • Thursday, August 28, at Noon and 2:00 pm
  • Friday, August 29, at 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm

Telehealth Educational Opportunity – August 6, 2014

Come and join us for a telemedicine educational event, August 6, in St. Paul, Minnesota.  The event is co-sponsored by the Twin Cities Medical Society (TCMS) and gpTRAC.  If you want to learn from Bryan Burke, MD, a pediatrician with one of the more successful telemedicine programs in the country (University of Arkansas) and network with others who also have an interest in the field of telemedicine, this is an event for you.  Click on the image for further details and to find out how to register.  Also, feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

We hope to see you there!

Farm Credit Organizations Support Rural Telemedicine in Western Minnesota

– Author:  Zoi Hills

Four farm credit organizations have joined to support  a telemedicine initiative at RC Hospital in rural Olivia, MN, located over 100 miles away from the Twin Cities.  The four organizations that contributed to the project include:  AgStar Financial Services, AgriBank, CoBank, and United FCS.  The Farm Credit grant will enable cardiologists at Abbott Northwestern Hospital to remotely treat patients at the RC Hospital using telemedicine technologies.  The main purpose of this grant is to cover the costs of telemedicine equipment, including bedside ultrasound, as well as training for RC Hospital’s local staff.  The grant was supplemented by additional funding from the Abbott Northwestern Hospital Foundation.

Initially, the cardiology telehealth program will be able to serve six patients each week.  Patients and medical staff will be able to see and talk with each other via telemedicine technologies.  In Olivia, a hospital staff member will perform ultrasound tests on patients, and real-time images will help cardiologists in Minneapolis diagnose or rule out heart issues.

The program is expected to launch sometime this summer.  With more than 20 telehealth sites in Minnesota and Wisconsin, Allina Health currently provides telehealth services such as stroke assessment and treatment, mental health assessments and referrals, psychiatric counseling and cancer genetic counseling.  Additional telehealth services are planned over the next two years.

ND Scrubs Academy & gpTRAC

For the third year in a row, gpTRAC was invited to be a part of the North Dakota R-COOL-Health Scrubs Academy.  The Academy took place June 9-12 on campus at the University of North Dakota.  Students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades, from all over the state of North Dakota, came together to learn about a wide variety of health-related career options.  For this year’s event, gpTRAC was able to present to the group of 46 students from the University of Minnesota’s School of Nursing simulation lab, located at Weaver-Densford Hall (WDH) on the main campus in Minneapolis.  The lab is equipped with some of the latest technologies used in telehealth today.

During the four sessions, Zoi Hills (gpTRAC) provided an overview of what telehealth is, a bit of the history, a summary of the current status, and some future predictions.  She also shared the role gpTRAC plays, asked some trivia questions, and then demonstrated some of the telemedicine technology available in the lab.  The highlight of the event was when the students were asked to draw (in 3 minutes…using no computers!) their ideas or imaginations about a “futuristic” product that could used in telehealth.  The students were invited to share their drawings and explain what the new idea was and how it would be used.  Some of these ideas were truly amazing.  I think we have some future healthcare/telemedicine inventors in North Dakota!