Telemedicine may reduce barrier to access for ROP treatment
Treatment of retinopathy of prematurity in pediatric patients is 99 percent successful assuming the children can be properly diagnosed and treated in time, said Dr. Antonio Capone, a speaker at Retina 2012. Proper use of telemedicine and a software safety net to manage the data help ensure that treatment is delivered when and where it is needed, Capone added. “In the future, we will employ remote digital image interpretation to ensure a proper level of ROP care,” he said.
VA Telehealth Lauded As Model Healthcare Program
Report: From an American perspective, the report raises the question of why telehealth hasn’t gained more traction in this country, considering the VHA’s success with it. The VHA program, which served 50,000 veterans in 2011, is the largest telehealth project in the world, the report said. Patients enrolled in the program–most of whom have chronic conditions such as heart failure, COPD, hypertension, diabetes, and post-traumatic stress disorder–receive free telemonitoring equipment and attention from care coordinators who teach them how to manage their own care. According to a 2008 study cited in the U.K. report, the program reduced hospital bed days by 25% and hospital admissions by 19% for a cohort of 17,000 participating patients. A full 87% percent of the patients said they liked the program. Results of a recent U.K. telehealth pilot showed reductions of 15% in emergency department visits and 14% in admissions and bed days. Mortality rates dropped a whopping 45%.
HHS reports progress on telehealth regulations
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services is making “significant progress” toward new and revised rules that would save the healthcare industry billions of dollars, including ones that will address privileging and credentialing and documentation regulations for both in-person and telemedicine visits, the agency reported. Many of the rules–both proposed and final–increase efficiency and alleviate administrative burdens on physicians, HHS wrote in its most recent update. HHS reported on health IT-related efforts, including a proposed rule that would allow patients to more easily access their clinical lab test results, and two that would affect telemedicine programs. One would revise the Medicaid home health service definition under the Affordable Care Act to add a requirement that physicians document face-to-face encounters, including those conducted using telehealth technology, with the Medicaid eligible individual within specified timeframes. HHS says this rule would save an estimated $1.2 billion by 2019.
Sen. Udall drafting bill to kill telemedicine barriers
Sen. Tom Udall (D-Utah) anticipates introducing a bill this spring to make it easier for physicians to practice telemedicine in many states instead of applying for a separate license for each state. The bill, which is still being drafted, would streamline licensure portability across state lines, according to Fern Goodhart, Udall’s legislative assistant. “Telemedicine is medicine, just practiced virtually,” she said at a Jan. 31 Capitol Hill briefing sponsored by the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), which advocates for use of remote medical technologies. Legislation may be needed because the private sector market has not generated medical license portability, even with the increasing adoption of health IT and networking capabilities, she said.
Baby Pajamas Talk To Your Phone, Tablet Via Cloud
Exmobaby is designed to alleviate parents’ concerns about babies’ health risks such as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The product is a snap-on transmitter that measures vital signs in infants, including heart rate, skin temperature, moisture, and movement. As part of the agreement, AT&T’s wireless network will enable the transmission of sensor data from the baby pajamas to the cloud. The data is transmitted at regular intervals and accessed by computer, tablet, or smartphone. The information is used to interpret the baby’s emotional state and behavior, and alerts are transmitted to parents and caregivers when their babies require care. [ Remote monitoring could help save babies' lives and healthcare dollars, says American Telemedicine Association.
Telemedicine on the rise in northeastern Ontario
The North East Local Health Integration Network expects 30,000 trips to the doctor will be virtual online visits in 2012. The health network is seeing an increase in the use of telemedicine technology across northeastern Ontario because it is such an effective tool to connect doctors and patients. Colleen Harrison says her 10-month-old daughter, Abigail, burned her hand with a cup of tea. Doctors in North Bay recommended Harrison attend the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, but she was able to have the burn examined via a camera feed between North Bay and Toronto.
Thinking underwear for warriors
Technically known as a "wear and forget physiological sensing system," thinking undergarments may be the next-generation drawers for the modern warfighter. Gel-free sensors form an electronic network in the fabric to monitor respiration and heart rate, activity, body posture and skin temperature — relaying that data through the warfighters' layers of clothing to a central system. The technology could provide an unprecedented capability not just to monitor warfighters during combat and identify critical casualties but also to train and select for missions.
Investor paper on telehealth
Triple Tree, an investment banking firm which seems to be one of the few making multiple active investments in telehealth and telecare, as well as sponsoring the iAwards in wireless health [TA 22 Jan], recently released this white paper on ‘Innovation & the Health Care Needs of Seniors’ which provides a wealth of information on technology use in home care.
Telecare Soapbox: The security of telecare confidential information
Guy Dewsbury, Managing Director of Dewsbury, which is a freelance specialist technology writing service and consultancy, takes a thoughtful look at data security in telecare call centres and asks a few pertinent questions. Let me state at the off that there are some really great call centres that I have been privileged to work with and some others I have become acquainted with that deserve high praise. That said, when you pick up the phone and speak to your bank, you feel protected…
Mobile is doctor’s helper as technology revolutionizes medicine
Surgeons sporting 3-D glasses, and mobile apps that can share ultrasound pictures with loved ones during a check-up illustrate some of the high-tech gadgetry revolutionizing the healthcare sector. Numerous electronics makers are introducing their innovations to the UAE, where spending on health care topped Dh28 billion (US$7.6bn) last year and is forecast to grow more than 8 per cent this year, according to data from Business Monitor International. Businesses, including smartphone manufacturers, software developers and insurers, are expected to benefit from a growing number of doctors who are turning to mobile phones in particular to more accurately diagnose and examine patients from afar.
Despite wider acceptance, barriers to robotic telemedicine remain
Regulatory and financial barriers continue to hinder adoption of robotic telemedicine in emergency and critical care medicine, according to a new study in the January/February edition of Telemedicine and e-Health. But cultural and technical barriers seem to be abating. The study’s authors asked respondents about seven different topics related to barriers to implementing telemedicine. “Respondents proclaimed that [robotic telemedicine] success was still hampered by licensing, credentialing, and malpractice protection, as well as costs, billing, and reimbursement issues,” according to the report. For example, 61 percent agreed or strongly agreed that inability to bill services rendered was a barrier to implementation of RTM, according to a CMIO magazine story. Sixty-one percent agreed or strongly agreed that out-of-state licensing was a barrier to implementation and 73.3 percent agreed or strongly agreed that government reimbursement was a barrier to implementation. “The majority of all respondents indicated that cultural issues did not constitute meaningful hurdles, technological matters were generally favorable, and that most personnel were agreeable to both achieving the buy-in to start a [telemedicine] program and to maintaining [it] once started,” the report’s authors wrote. More evidence that users are buying into telemedicine programs: Respondents listed providing clinical support (84 percent), maintaining patient satisfaction (80 percent), achieving immediate patient access (69.5 percent), overcoming service gaps (60 percent) and improving quality (59 percent), and as “significant motives” for implementing telemedicine programs.
Global Healthcare Services Industry to Reach US$3.0 Trillion by 2015,
Advancements in the field of healthcare has improved life expectancy as well as quality. The healthcare services industry is largely labor intensive and affected by advancements in medical technologies and patient requirements. The industry is also driven by new legislations and government incentives. Over the years, spending on healthcare services has risen significantly following the availability of advanced technology services, new drugs and increase in health insurance premiums. Further demand for healthcare services is on rise with change in demographic scenario, disease profiles and increasing occurrence of lifestyle diseases. Health related ailments increase with age, in turn driving demand for health care. With preference for home healthcare over hospital settings high among the elderly as well as chronically ill population, home healthcare spending is expected to witness robust growth. Healthcare care costs in the US are bound to ascend in 2012, given the stress in the recovering economy, depreciating Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements as well as consolidation among providers. Consolidation is rampant at the provider level, with hospitals taking over physician practices.
Initiative for Satellite Enabled Electronic Health Services
Logica, a leading business and technology service company, today announced it has been selected by the ), to lead a multinational consortium in a study on electronic health (eHealth) delivery, enabled by satellite, in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa presents a significant challenge for medical professionals. The region has around 11 percent of the world’s population, however has 25 percent of the global disease burden (in human and financial costs), but less than 1 percent of global health expenditure. Delivery is also a challenge with just 3 percent of the world’s health workers deployed in the region, so doctors and nurses are often a long way from their patients and access is difficult due to poor infrastructure. This is where the European Space Agency (ESA) comes in. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and in particular satellite communications can enable the timely delivery of care, training and educational content, perform epidemic surveillance and support health system administration over the vast distances involved in this region. ESA recently launched the Satellite-Enhanced Telemedicine and eHealth for Sub-Saharan Africa Program (eHSA). Working in collaboration with the Luxembourg Agency for Development Cooperation (LuxDev) and with the co-funding of the Government of Luxembourg and the European Union – Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund, eHSA’s goal is to develop a satellite-enhanced eHealth and Telemedicine infrastructure to benefit sub-Saharan Africa. One of the first objectives of the program is to conduct a governance study among 48 countries in the region which will make sure that the right procedures, policies, and organizational structures are in place before the eventual move to eHealth delivery. This study will be led by Logica, supported by its consortium partners drawn from public, private and voluntary sectors, including several charities representing the interests of the African nations.
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