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


gpTRAC Regional Telehealth Conference April 6-7, 2015

gpTRAC Regional Telehealth Conference April 6-7, 2015

Save the date! The 2015 Regional Telehealth Conference will be held April 6-7 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

gpTRAC is excited to again offer an opportunity for the region’s healthcare community to come together to network and learn more about making a difference through telehealth services. This 1.5 day forum offers the opportunity to learn from both regional and national experts as they share their stories and experiences in developing and implementing telehealth to meet the needs of their area.  Click on the FORUM tab above to access additional event details.

We look forward to seeing you in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Please call us at 888-239-7092 if you have any questions.

REGISTER TODAY

2015 Regional Telehealth Conference

 

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

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!

Observations from the 2014 ATA Annual Meeting

This year’s ATA Annual meeting was held in May.  With the vendor floor growing every year, it can be a bit overwhelming, but exciting at the same time.  It is a tremendous opportunity to reconnect with telehealth program leaders from around the country to learn about their latest efforts, challenges, and successes.

Over the years I have attended many of these events and have come away with AT LEAST one interesting bit of information.  This year’s “nugget” was very simple:  Telehealth is still growing.

I found it very interesting that, of the folks I visited with at the Telehealth Resource Centers booth, it was about an even split between those who were looking to add to the telehealth services they currently provide, and those who were trying to get their first telehealth-related activities up and running.  Many were from the gpTRAC region…reminding me that the reason gpTRAC exists in the first place is still valid.

As I see it, one of the main purposes for the Great Plains Telehealth Resource & Assistance Center is the “assistance” part of our name.  We are here to be a sounding board to talk through service ideas, to brainstorm organizational needs, help identify potential partners, provide general guidance, information and more.

I hope that we can serve you and help move your services forward!  Looking forward to hear from you!

Next Week’s Telehealth Forum – Find Out More!

The 2014 gpTRAC Regional Telehealth Forum will be held next week, April 3 & 4, at the Embassy Suites-Airport in Minneapolis.  We have a great line-up of presentations, including two nationally-known keynote speakers (Dr. Kvedar and Dr. Poropatich) and numerous regional presenters.  For more program details, go to the Forum tab.  OR, click here for the 2014 Forum Program.

Telehealth Readiness: 3 Jump-Start Resources

Implementing telehealth projects takes planning, resources, and time.  It takes a firm understanding of how telehealth will serve the mission and strategic goals of your organization and a clear vision of the partnerships and IT infrastructure that will make your telehealth project successful.  Is your organization ready?

Since 2006 gpTRAC has supported health centers and healthcare networks through the process of planning and implementing telehealth projects throughout Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Here are three ways gpTRAC is here to help:

1.  The gpTRAC Resource Center Online

The gpTRAC Resource Center Online provides information on grants and funding opportunities, previous studies, reports, and white papers on telehealth, and the gpTRAC “toolkit,” which contains guidelines, templates, and forms as you begin to develop telemedicine activities.  Think of this as a one-stop-shop for telehealth program planning.

2.  Connections, Connections, Connections

gpTRAC has connections throughout the country to help you find the right people to start and operate a telehealth program.  Whether it’s ATA, the Center for Telehealth and eHealth law, or simply other healthcare providers in your region, we dedicate ourselves to creating networks that support telehealth.

3.  Telehealth Readiness Assessments

gpTRAC personnel are available to meet with organization leaders on-site to complete a telehealth readiness assessment report.  Issues covered include:  organization mission, goals, and structure, partnerships, outreach, referral patterns, educational needs, management needs, services, equipment and technology requirements.

Call for Presentations: gpTRAC Regional Telehealth Forum 2014

Telehealth & HIT:  Partners in Patient Care
gpTRAC Regional Telehealth Forum
April 3-4, 2014

The Great Plains Telehealth Resource & Assistance Center (gpTRAC) has opened the Call for Presentations for this year’s Telehealth Forum.

We are looking for presentations that support this year’s theme and can:
1) expand the understanding that telehealth is indeed a technology that creates and uses various kinds of health information in the care of a patient;
2) share how an organization intertwined their  telehealth services with their HIT services;
3) encourage others to look to their own organizations and say “We should do that too!”.

Anyone with expertise is invited to submit an abstract.  Click here for more guidance and directions surrounding your submission and to access the abstract form.

Forum Registration: Watch for the official registration information…coming soon!!
Hotel Registration: Click here to make your room reservations at the Embassy Suites, Minneapolis, Airport/Mall of America. There is a limited number of rooms reserved for this event.

If you have any questions, please email gptrac@umn.edu or call 888-239-7092.
We are looking forward to a great event!