Telehealth News Flash, June 20

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

“The telemedicine tourniquet”
By Denise Logeland, Minn Post, Twin Cities Business
Mayo Hospital’s Center for Innovation is bringing together providers from all campuses to offer telemedicine services under the name “Mayo’s Center for Connected Care.”  According to Bart Demaerschalk who is the current director of Mayo’s telestroke and teleneurology programs, the goal is to provide telemedicine services both locally and globally, for “every medical and surgical discipline that our institution provides service for.”  The article covers the expansion plan of the Center for Connected Care and potential gains for the healthcare system.  Also included is an overview of related “e-visit” telemedicine programs in the great plains region, such as Virtuwell and Zipnosis, and the usefulness of datamining among all telemedicine programs.  Read the full article here.

“Innovation with Information Technologies in Healthcare.”
Book review and Q&A with author Dr. Lyle Berkowitz.
Dr. Berkowitz and his collaborator Chris McCarthy gathered stories about innovation from organizations across the country.  The goal of the book is to highlight the learning of others and inspire healthcare organizations to use IT in creative ways to improve quality of care, increase patient satisfaction, and lower costs.  In reference to Telemedicine, the authors say:  “In the telemedicine section, one of the important things we realized was that usually it was not the technology which was innovative; rather it was the innovative business models or regulatory changes which made the real difference.”  The takeaway:  IT is a powerful tool to leverage for innovation in healthcare.

A note on ATA’s upcoming Federal Telemedicine Policy Summit
From Jonathan Linkous, Chief Executive Officer for ATA:  “In 18 weeks the enrollment period for state–based health insurance exchanges (a key element of the 2010 Health Reform Bill) will open.  Coverage through these exchanges will start 13 weeks later. The same day Medicaid coverage will be expanded in a majority of the states.  All told, by January 1, 2014—less than 8 months from now—there could be 35-50 million more people with health insurance in the US.…There is a broad consensus that one critical change can greatly relieve [the future physician shortage]: empower health professionals to use available technologies to efficiently expand patient care through pooled practices, patient portals and various forms of telemedicine.”

ATA’s upcoming Federal Telemedicine Policy Summit is June 27-28 in Washington DC.  The goal of the summit is to explain the implications and opportunities brought about by health reform.  Details are available at http://www.americantelemed.org/summit