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!

 

November Telehealth Webinar, Nov. 21, 2013

November 2013 Webinar
The National Network of Telehealth Resource Centers
PRESENTS:

Practice Guidelines for Telemedicine 

Please join us Thursday, November 21, as Elizabeth Krupinski, PhD, discusses how important telemedicine practice guidelines are to ensure quality of care and safety for patients and the critical role they play in the adoption of telemedicine by all industry stakeholders, including providers, payers, administrators, government agencies and others.

There is NO need to pre-register!
Click
here to learn more and access the webinar.
– The gpTRAC team

Is there a place for Telehealth within ACOs?

The answer is yes.  Absolutely.  Telehealth,  as a mode of healthcare delivery, provides a means to more efficiently and effectively achieve ACO goals.  Read on to find out how.

First, what are ACOs and what are ACO goals?

ACO stands for Accountable Care Organization.  ACOs are groups of healthcare providers including doctors and hospitals that voluntarily join forces to provide coordinated care to Medicare patients.  The philosophy of ACOs is that coordinated care leads to better outcomes, because patients get the care they need without unnecessary duplication of services.  This is especially true for the chronically ill.

Successful ACOs lead to higher quality care and reduced health care spending within the Medicare program.

Telehealth,  as a mode of delivery provides a means for an ACO to more efficiency and effectively achieve their goals.  Here’s how:

  1. Telehealth technology has demonstrated costs savings.  By utilizing telehealth technology, an ACO can deliver care at a lower cost in many cases than traditional in-person office visits.
  2. Telehealth provides the possibility of greater access to care for those patients who are homebound for any of a variety of reasons or live in locations where travel to sites of care is time-consuming and difficult.  Including these patients expands the ACOs patient base.
  3. Telehealth promotes more timely access to care which can result in fewer emergency room visits and hospitalizations.  Preventative care is essential in reaching ACO goals.

Summary:  Telehealth promotes the goals of ACOs by lowering the costs of care while maintaining and improving the quality of care.  Through providing the means for greater access to care telehealth can increase the numbers of individuals who can participate in an ACO.  Read more on the benefits of telehealth for ACOs in the gpTRAC Resource Center here.

Instant Telehealth Service: The Unmanned Micro Clinic

“A Maryland patient with a fever could one day enter a photo booth-like facility and leave with a diagnosis and prescription,”  a recent article published in the Annapolis Capital Gazette business section begins.  For the article, Capital Gazette interviewed gpTRAC’s Zoi Hills, among others, on the MEDEX “Unmanned Micro Clinic.”

The MEDEX Micro Clinic is a portable medical room that allows patients to conduct a variety of medical tests with the assistance of installed and satellite technology.  If users need to speak with medical staff directly, the system is equipped to connect with 24 hour medical centers around the country.  Zoi first saw the Micro Clinic at a demonstration in Minnesota three years ago, when the photo-booth like medical facility was just an idea.

Now, MEDEX is garnering increased support and investments for its Micro Clinics as the global telemedicine market expands. The eventual goal of MEDEX is to have Micro Clinics in supermarkets and airports across the country, providing services at roughly the same price as a routine doctor visit co-pay (~$25).

 

Would you be quick to step into a Micro Clinic?

Read the full article on Capital Gazette and connect with gpTRAC on Twitter to tell us what you think!

Special Thank You to UMN Physicians

Having telemedicine demonstrations at the State Fair is a great opportunity to introduce Minnesotans to the possibilities telehealth services can bring to them and their communities.    Special Thank You to the following dermatologists who generously donated their time to provide free teledermatology screenings to fairgoers during the 2013 Minnesota State Fair:

Dr. Spencer Holmes
Dr. Mitchell Bender
Dr. Maria Hordinsky
Dr. Kimberly Bohjanen
Dr. Jennifer Lee
Dr. Ioanna Panoutsopoulou
Dr. Todd Seelhammer

As a fairgoer or physician, If you didn’t join us this year, make sure to stop by in 2014.

See you at the Fair!

Telehealth News Flash, Oct. 1

Telehealth news and events we have been talking about around our office this week

Functional Recovery in the Elderly After Major Surgery: Assessment of Mobility Recovery Using Wireless Technology

This recent study conducted by doctors at the Mayo clinic and published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery in early September is garnering attention in multiple fields including medicine, IT, and business.  The researchers used “off-the-shelf” fitness monitors (Fitbits) to measure mobility in elderly patients recovering from cardiac surgery.  Their findings show a significant relationship between steps taken and recovery time, and suggest information gathered from monitoring technologies may improve quality of care and post-discharge outcomes.

Additional commentary on the study:

Med City News:  Mayo Clinic Study:  Fitbit data can be an early warning sign of slow recovery from surgery

Forbes:  Fitbit Could Help Monitor Progress After Heart Surgery

Colorado-based hospital group to form digital health subsidiary
Neil Versal, MobiHealth News

Catholic Health Initiatives is a Colorado-based health system with a plan to expand virtual services by moving them to a magnet subsidiary which will include telehealth, telemedicine, mobile, media, and gamification.  The new subsidiary then plans to market its virtual services to employer groups and payers.  Many details are still to come, but we are keeping out eyes on this innovative strategy as CHI’s reach continues to expand nationally.

New Resource Available! Specialty Consultation Services

Overview: Key Issues in Specialty Consultation Telemedicine Services

When organizations are thinking about implementing telehealth services, sometimes they just don’t know what they don’t know.  What do we need to know in order to get started?  GpTRAC is excited to share this new resource to help you and your organization identify those topics.

This new “quick guide” provides general information summarizing issues of importance specifically surrounding the development and implementation of specialty consultation telemedicine services.  While many of these issues can apply in a variety of telehealth-related applications and technologies, this guide is intended to serve as a kind of check-list of the issues an organization should consider when providing specialty consultation services.  Additionally, there is a section with samples and tools for you to take and modify to meet your own organization’s needs.

This new resource is made available primarily as an on-line tool, and is available by clicking here.  However, please contact gpTRAC (888-239-7092) if you or your organization have an interest in obtaining multiple printed copies to distribute.  (Small charge/Minimum order is 10)

 

Teledermatology at the 2013 State Fair: In Pictures

Zoi used a portable exam camera to present fairgoer skin concerns to UMN Physicians on the other end of a secure videoconferencing connection.

From the UMN Physicians end dermatologists were able to examine images in real time and discuss skin concerns with fairgoers. Pictured here are gpTRAC staff and volunteers, where the fairgoer/area of concern would be.

UMN Physicians were able to speak with fairgoers directly via videoconference during and after providing teledermatology screenings to answer questions and provide recommendations for follow up. In total, 159 fairgoers received teledermatology screenings at the 2013 MN State Fair.

September Telehealth Webinar, September 19, 2013

The National Network of Telehealth Resource Centers

PRESENTS:

Use of In-Home Monitoring Technology in Complex Care Coordination

Please join us Thursday, September 19th, for this exciting webinar topic.  The presenter will explain how the rural Hawaii Island Beacon Community engaged complex patients to self manage their chronic conditions which significantly improved their health status and reduced their cost of care.by using a methodical and holistic approach.
There is NO need to pre-register!
 

Click here to learn more and access the webinar.

 

– The gpTRAC team