The Telemedicine Reporter – International Edition – December 16th 2011

2012 – The Re-Think of Medicine Has Begun

Healthcare systems worldwide are imploding with run-away costs and lack of access to primary care. It is time to look at medicine as a reactive discipline more attuned to maintaining and preserving rather than to curing and healing.  We deal with symptoms and intervene to mitigate symptoms.  This is supported by pharma and the reimbursement model. Telemedicine Triage provides the ultimate platform for the do something medical mindset by dealing with symptoms as they occur. While this is clinically desirable, the Tele-Triage MD is further supported by obtaining remote vital signs and video technology.  This immediate access to a MD and the evolutionary telemetrics available, affects positive health outcomes quicker, much more efficiently, and it reduces costs because care is provided in a less expensive setting than an emergency room or clinic.  US Tele-Medicine estimates that by the end of 2012, about One Million employees nationwide will work within 100 feet of a telemedicine device, providing them total medical access any time care is required.

UK report indicates telehealth can reduce mortality rates by 45%

The U.K. Department of Health report “Whole System Demonstration Programme: Headline Findings—December 2011” said that early findings from the demonstration project involving 3,030 people with diabetes, heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease show that “if used correctly telehealth can deliver a 15% reduction in A&E (accident and emergency) visits, a 20% reduction in emergency admissions, a 14% reduction in elective admissions, a 14% reduction in bed days and an 8% reduction in tariff costs. More strikingly they also demonstrate a 45% reduction in mortality rates.” Authors also indicate that at least 3 million people with long-term conditions or social care needs could benefit from telehealth and telecare.

Surgeon general opens Healthy Apps Challenge

The U.S. Surgeon General and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT launched the Surgeon General’s Healthy App Challenge, aimed at encouraging the development of technology applications to complement and support the Surgeon General’s prevention agenda and the nation’s prevention strategy. Entrants can submit apps in the three categories: fitness/physical activity, nutrition/healthy eating, and integrative health. Judges will consider the apps usefulness, innovativeness, evidence-base, usability, potential to help Americans, data downloads, and its fun factor. Submissions can include existing apps or those developed for the challenge. The app must be available free for consumer use and not require the purchase of additional products to be fully operational.

The “Business” Side of Saving Lives

In an age of smart phones and high-tech gadgets galore, it may be surprising to hear that the next “big thing” coming out of the electronics arena is being spearheaded by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command at Fort Detrick, Md. Since 2009, the USAMRMC has been directing several efforts to design, develop or refine handheld telemedicine devices that could help to save lives in theater. And the culmination of this effort is drawing near for at least one of the candidate projects. “The TEMPUS-Pro is an advanced compact telemedicine system intended to support combat casualties in forward areas near point-of-injury on the battlefield,” says Dr. Gary Gilbert, chief of the Knowledge Engineering group for the USAMRMC’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center. “The unit provides a capability for ‘point-of-injury data capture’ which is a critical gap we are trying to fill.” As a key resource for medics in the field, the TEMPUS-Pro combines three devices into one handheld module, allowing for (1) immediate communication with other units, (2) pre-hospital monitoring of patient vital signs and telemetry data, and (3) tele-mentoring instruction from more experienced medical providers to less experienced combat medics in theater. The unit also provides real-time audio and video capability, which is extremely useful in transmitting images of the wounded patient immediately to physicians at distant locations, and a transcription feature for hands-free voice data input is on the horizon.

Fund established to accelerate adoption of wireless health services and technology

Qualcomm (San Diego, CA) has renamed Qualcomm Wireless Health Qualcomm Life and has established the $100 million Qualcomm Life Fund to accelerate wireless health services and technology adoption. Qualcomm Ventures, Qualcomm’s investment group, will manage the fund, which has already invested in five companies: Sotera Wireless (San Diego, CA), Telcare (Bethesda, MD), AliveCor (Oklahoma City, OK), Cambridge Temperature Concepts (Cambridge. MA), and WorkSmart Labs (New York, NY). Future investments are expected to include biosensors or devices, health IT applications, and health-related informatics/analytics.

Nursing home teleconsults continue to grow

PhoneDOCTORx (Boston, MA) has delivered more than 30,000 telemedicine consultations for extended care facility patients. The company provides after-hours “covering-physician” services for patients’ primary care providers. Board-certified physicians review laboratory and radiology test results, consult on new admissions to the facility, manage behavioral and pain control issues, consult with family members, and provide staff education. Sam Shen, MD, vice president of Corporate Development at PhoneDOCTORx, said the company’s telemedicine services can reduce preventable emergency department transfers by up to 35%.

ATA projects growth in telemedicine and mHealth technologies

The American Telemedicine Association (Washington, DC) projects an increase in the adoption of telemedicine and mHealth technologies with a record number of consumers who are enrolled in managed-care insurance plans, which pay a flat fee to treat health conditions. The number of Americans in such plans has increased 26% in six years, from 58 million people in 2005 to 73 million today. The organization said that creates a powerful incentive for providers to leverage the power of remote technologies.

Remote evaluation helpful in plastic surgery cases

U.S. researchers investigated the use of telemedicine for a plastic surgery patient triage for 43 inpatients and 100 consecutive outpatients, comparing remote and on-site evaluations. They found the electronic consult rendered similar outcomes to the on-site exam in a selected group of patients and concluded in the journal Eplasty that remote evaluation may assist in triage decisions, decreasing emergency department throughput time and frequency of office visits.

GE and Microsoft form new health tech company

General Electric Co. (Barrington, IL) and Microsoft Corp. (Redmond, WA) have formed a joint venture aimed at healing healthcare organizations and professionals use real-time, systemwide intelligence to improve healthcare quality and patient experiences. The new company will develop and market an open, interoperable technology platform and applications focused on the provision of better population health management. The two firms will contribute intellectual property to the joint venture, including many existing healthcare offerings, such as Microsoft Amalga, Vergence and Espresso and GE Healthcare Qualibria and eHealth, a Health Information Exchange platform for secure transfer of data between providers and across geographies. Ultimately, they plan to create new value by offering a healthcare performance management suite that includes those products.

An Extended Listing of Upcoming Events Worldwide –  2012

e-Health GCC Conference & Exhibition

February 7–8 —JW Marriott, Kuwait

Georgia Partnership for TeleHealth 2012 Annual Spring Conference

March 14–16  —The Ritz-Carlton, Reynolds Plantation Lake, Oconee, GA

Med-e-Tel

April 18–20,  Luxexpo Exhibition and Congress Center, Kirchberg, Luxembourg

ATA 2012: 17th Annual International Meeting & Expo

April 29-May 1, —San Jose McEnery Convention Center, San Jose, CA

Global Connected Care Conference and 3rd MediTour Expo

May 6–8, —Flamingo Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, NV

GSMA-mHealth Alliance Mobile Health Summit 2012

June 6–9, —Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town, South Africa

UPMC International Telemedicine Symposium

June 7–8, Brussels, Belgium

Granada, Spain

The International Workshop on e-Health in Emerging Economies – IWEEE – is a biannual meeting held in Europe and in Latin America.     Jan 30, – Feb 04,

eTELEMED 2012

Valencia, Spain

The Fourth International Conference on eHealth, Telemedicine and Social Medicine

Mar 06,– Mar 08,    International Congress on Telehealth and Telecare

The King’s Fund, London, United Kingdom

Mar 19, – Mar 20,    Telemedicine     Donetsk, Ukraine

Annual International Conference “Telemedicine – Experience@Prospects”, supported by International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth. Official scientific events of MHS of Ukraine.

Apr 18, – Apr 20       Luxembourg

Med-e-Tel is an official event of the International Society for Telemedicine & eHealth (ISfTeH), The international federation of national associations who represent their country’s Telemedicine and eHealth stakeholders.

May 14, – May 16,

ISPHT 2012

Baltimore, Maryland, United States,     Imaging and Signal Processing in Health Care and Technology         May 23,  May 24,

World Health Care Congress Europe 2012

Amsterdam, Netherlands,    May 28- Jun 01,

As the leading European event on health care business innovation, The 8th Annual World Health Care Congress-Europe is the only major international forum that convenes leaders from all sectors of health care to discuss and develop actionable strategies to improve care delivery and outcomes.

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