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Augmented Intelligence in Telehealth Holds Promise for Health Systems

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Augmented Intelligence in Telehealth Holds Promise for Health Systems

If 2020 was the year that health systems embraced telehealth out of necessity and then discovered its many benefits, what might 2021 and beyond hold?

For health systems looking to further improve the cost savings and other advantages of telehealth, the new horizon is augmented intelligence: or, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools, such as machine learning, to assist and augment the capabilities of medical teams.

These tools can help with both routine administrative tasks and higher-level work, such as diagnosis, treatment, and patient monitoring.

Below we look at just a few of the helpful augmented intelligence technologies that already exist in telehealth, preview potential future applications of augmented intelligence, and advise health systems on how best to take advantage of this new era in medical innovation.

Examples of augmented intelligence in telehealth

The last few years have brought to market many augmented intelligence tools for patient monitoring, enabling both hospital care staff and physicians to focus on other tasks while knowing that their patients are being continuously evaluated.

For example, EarlySense offers a sensor that is placed under a patient’s mattress and tracks multiple data points, including heart and respiratory rates. The sensor uses AI to analyze this continuous data stream and to detect early signs of deterioration, which the care team can then correct.

Similarly, Myia collects data from at-home patients with chronic conditions and uses machine learning to surface patients needing a clinical intervention.

Somatix offers the SafeBeing system, which relies on a wearable that uses AI to monitor gestures and passively collect biofeedback data. Somatix’s cloud-based system analyzes this data in real time to provide insights and alerts, such as an increased fall risk, for the care team. Somatix’s system works well for nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

Other companies are using AI to develop a more holistic portrait of patients’ health. Recognizing that clinical care accounts for only a small percentage of a patient’s health, with social determinants of health and behavior being major factors contributing to wellness, Innovaccer developed an AI-driven social vulnerability index that helps health systems see a fuller picture of both individual and population health.

Augmented intelligence is also being used to help with administrative tasks.

For example, natural language processing, augmented by AI, can be used not only to transcribe patient-provider conversations during phone or video visits, but to assess which were the most salient points of the interaction and worthy of further attention. The resulting notes inform the provider’s care plan and also remind the patient of what was discussed.

In addition, as the Advisory Board wrote last year, at Providence St. Joseph Health in Washington and other health systems, system administrators have deployed chatbots to screen patients and direct them to the right resources, thereby discouraging the so-called worried well from unnecessarily coming into hospitals.

Future possibilities for augmented intelligence in healthcare

The possible future applications of augmented intelligence in healthcare are limited only by our collective imagination.

A Government Accountability Office Report envisioned that dermatology video visits may one day involve augmented intelligent patient care that assesses the patient’s skin for lesions and assists dermatologists in detecting precancerous and cancerous growths.

In this Becker’s Health IT article, a technology and data specialist with the University of California, Irvine, predicts that in the future individuals will have a digital health “twin” made up of all the data about an individual’s health. This twin’s data will continually be updated, and augmented intelligence will reveal health trends and trajectories for the individual as well as suggest personalized steps to better health.

Here, at Caregility, we predict that combining augmented intelligence with wearables and two-way video will be a game changer for virtual care. Each of these components has had varied success to date in individual use cases, but when they are combined into a comprehensive virtual platform, providers will see the greatest benefit in improving care and reducing costs.

Taking advantage of the augmented intelligence revolution in telehealth

So, how can your health system benefit from all the latest applications in augmented intelligence in telehealth and be ready when new innovations reach the market?

To build a foundation for telehealth-enabled augmented intelligence technologies, the most critical step is adopting a flexible telehealth platform, capable of integrating with third-party apps and systems. Those who don’t start planning for the coming augmented intelligence healthcare transformation now may find themselves suddenly out-smarted and out-maneuvered: not by a human competitor, but by a learning machine.

For more on trends coming in the new year and beyond, check out our latest telehealth news roundup.

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6 Musts for Choosing a Mobile Telehealth Solution

COVID surges around the country have shown that sometimes hospitals and healthcare providers need to get a mobile telehealth solution up and running or expanded quickly — and in times like those, the best telehealth solutions are often ones which don’t include the need to bring in carts or extra telehealth equipment.

Mobile telehealth systems offer a less complex, less time consuming and less costly alternative to dedicated hardware networks for organizations aiming to develop a stronger telehealth presence and harness virtual technology to enhance the efficiency, safety and quality of care.

Besides virtual visits, mobile technology which can run on the devices on hand provides opportunities to support remote patient monitoring, bolster communication and collaboration among clinicians and specialties, replace lost revenue due to fewer in-person visits, and explore new patient-centered revenue streams such as subscription concierge services.

Following are six things for healthcare leaders to look for when evaluating an effective mobile telehealth solution.

Evaluating Telehealth Mobile Solutions

A long-term telehealth solution flexible enough to support future expansion

A mobile solution may be quicker to stand up than the alternatives, but don’t lose sight of your organization’s larger, long-term view. Consider a multi-faceted solution flexible enough to accommodate a variety of inpatient and outpatient services and which can expand as your organization’s goals, priorities and services change.

Putting technological band-aids on a variety of different problems as they arise can create the same kind of fragmentation that virtual technology is designed to prevent.

In addition, approach the evaluation and implementation of a mobile telemedicine solution with an expanded view of telehealth’s possibilities. Telehealth is more than virtual office visits in ambulatory environments. Mobile platforms can also be used in a variety of inpatient settings to support remote consults between clinicians within and across facilities. It can also facilitate safely distanced communication with patients in infectious environments and much more.

A telehealth solution that is purpose built for healthcare

Work with a telehealth solution provider who understands the complex and unique workflows, processes and procedures of a clinical environment.

When the pandemic began, many organizations scrambled to cobble together systems using a variety of platforms that were not designed specifically for healthcare. Many of these makeshift telehealth systems raised concerns about privacy and caused other glitches, not only because they were rolled out quickly, but also because they were never intended to be used in healthcare. It was like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Look for a telehealth platform whose developers, staff, telemedicine software and devices all have a solid grounding in how caregivers work and how healthcare organizations function.

A user-friendly interface which doesn’t require patients to download an app.

Telehealth software or mobile applications that aren’t simple won’t be used. They’ll be resented, and that resentment could end up interfering with care.

Asking patients to set up an account and fill out forms online to download an app only adds unnecessary clutter, time and frustration to a process that should be streamlined, uncomplicated and even pleasant. Ideally, you want to be able to send patients a direct link on their mobile devices that allows them to connect to their doctor or nurse with a single click. Patients, including those who are less computer savvy, may avoid an appointment altogether rather than face the hindrance of trying to make a connection.

Clinicians also appreciate, and work more effectively and efficiently with, a simple, intuitive interface with high quality video and audio that reliably connects them with their patients and colleagues in remote locations.

Clinician involvement in implementation and workflow development

It’s a fundamental truth of health information technology that any system must be designed with input from and consideration for the needs of the end users. The same holds true for the best telehealth solutions for healthcare.

In which departments will you be using the technology now and in the future? How does the technology need to be adjusted to fit the specific needs and workflows of different departments and locations? Are the telehealth devices at the patient’s bedside going to be used by patients, by staff or both? Do you want the patient to be able to call to request a video visit? How do these factors vary across units?

HIPAA-compliant security features

Though healthcare providers are not subject to penalties for violations of the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules that occur in the delivery of telehealth services during the pandemic, cybercriminals have been working to take advantage of the vulnerability in the current environment, which means healthcare organizations must protect their systems and their patients from these rising threats; hence, the need for a vendor whose offerings have HIPAA-compliant cybersecurity features baked in.

A partner that is a cultural match for your organization

Is your health system more independent or do you prefer a closer, more collaborative, long-term partnership? Some organizations prefer to take a product and run with it, handling testing, implementation and training primarily on their own. Others prefer a vendor that’s joined at the hip with them and prepared to be deeply involved every step of the way.

Know your organization’s and your potential partner’s culture and expectations for the relationship in deciding whether you’re a good fit for each other. A mismatch can cause discomfort and jeopardize an implementation.

The rapid expansion of telehealth services kickstarted by the pandemic has forever changed the face of clinical care and patient expectations for how that care should be delivered. Healthcare providers would be wise to weigh the potential benefits of incorporating mobile telemedicine solutions into their larger telehealth expansion plans.

To see how Caregility in expanded telehealth for two organizations, check out our Resources page, and click “Case Studies.”

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Tips for Expanding Telehealth Services

Telehealth interactions could exceed 1 billion by the end of the year, according to Forrester Research. Now that providers and consumers have experienced telehealth’s convenience and potential for enhancing efficiency, connecting specialists in remote locations, and bringing healthcare professionals and patients together, virtual visits are on track to become an integral part of healthcare.

Patients are a major force driving the demand for telehealth services. According to a national survey conducted by The Harris Poll and commissioned by Change Healthcare, 89% of consumers said COVID-19 made telehealth “an indispensable part of the healthcare system,” 65% plan to use telehealth more after the pandemic, and 78% said the pandemic showed the extent to which more telehealth options are needed.

The following tips can help organizations expand and implement successful telehealth programs on a larger scale.

Assess and prioritize opportunities for expansion.With COVID-19 safety protocols in place and patients once again seeing their doctors in-person for more appointments, organizations and individual clinicians can begin the important work of defining the optimal mix of office and virtual visits for specific patient populations. Important questions include: Which health conditions and needs are best handled virtually? What worked well for clinicians and patients across specialties during the first few months of the pandemic? Where were the glitches?

Providers are finding that some specialties, such as behavioral health, are a natural fit for virtual visits, while others, such as orthopedics, may be suited to more of a hybrid of in-person and virtual care.

In addition, some organizations have recognized that telehealth can help win competitive advantage when they provide a valued service that other organizations lack. For example, one institution gained market share by offering tele-neurology for patients with multiple sclerosis.Successful telehealth programs can also support goals around population health management and reducing disparities by increasing access to care in remote communities and for patients for whom travel is difficult.

Understand clinicians’ concerns.The best opportunities for expanding telehealth services aren’t always related to specialty. Some physicians are more technically adept than others, and some physicians simply adapt more easily than others to connecting with patients virtually, regardless of specialty. Recruit clinical staff who show a knack for and ease with telehealth to assist in developing new services within their specialty and in sharing their experiences and advice with colleagues.

Some physicians fear they won’t be able to develop rapport with patients through videoconferencing, but then discover that the technology doesn’t interfere with relationship- and trust-building at all. A 2018 survey by Deloitte found that physicians tend to feel good about virtual care technologies once they use them, and large proportions (58–69%) said they expected to use them more. Some physicians report that video visits enable them to interact with patients in a more thoughtful and focused way because there are fewer distractions during the videoconference.

Other clinicians have found that telehealth works best for them when they incorporate virtual visits into their practices as a scheduled part of their day, rather than moving back and forth repeatedly each day between modalities.

Monitor reimbursement trends and updates.The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) paved the way for widespread telehealth adoption during the pandemic when it announced that it would pay the same rates for telehealth visits as for in-office appointments for many healthcare services.

In October, CMS expanded telehealth services that are reimbursable during COVID-19. Cardiac rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation, and certain neurostimulator analysis and programming services are among the services added to the list. The agency is also providing additional support for telehealth services to state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) programs.

Educate patients.Although telehealth services will never completely replace the need for in-person appointments, healthcare organizations are discovering that patients who use telehealth tend to become repeat users once they recognize that they don’t have to take time off work and they can have an effective interaction with their providers through their tablets, laptops, or mobile phones.

Create a simple guide for patients that covers how to log on to the platform and how to configure their web cam to make sure they can clearly hear the physician and that the physician can clearly see and hear them. Include a reminder to find a private, quiet location for the visit. Ask patients to make a list of symptoms, track pertinent health data, and have a list of current medications available for the appointment. Develop a brief script for office staff to use to introduce patients to a new telemedicine service, explaining, in brief, why the physician would like to schedule the appointment as a telehealth visit.

Telehealth is ripe for expansion beyond the pandemic. The current high interest in telehealth services among patients and physicians creates an excellent environment for providers to start exploring ways to leverage this technology on a larger scale.

To see how Caregility in expanded telehealth for two organizations, check out our Resources page, and click “Case Studies.”

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The Importance of Telehealth for Chronic Disease Management

Chronic diseases, which affect six in 10 adults in the United States, are a leading driver of the nation’s spiraling healthcare costs. Medical providers often struggle with the barriers to effective chronic disease management. The crux of the issue: Finding cost-effective ways to reach out to patients and provide them with sufficient support to do what they need to do to stay well as they work to manage conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

The good news? Telehealth is now a proven tool for helping healthcare providers provide effective health management. The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF), an independent panel of experts, has concluded that telehealth strategies can reduce chronic disease risk factors and help with managing common chronic conditions.

Telehealth for Chronic Disease Management

When it comes to chronic disease management, telehealth can take many different forms:

  • Virtual visits with providers
  • Electronic reminders of upcoming appointments and when to take medications
  • Remote patient monitoring (such as patients monitoring their own blood pressure, then sending that information to their provider)
  • Educational outreach

After reviewing a wide range of telehealth interventions, the CPSTF concluded that telehealth can effectively help patients with chronic diseases do better at properly taking their medications and sticking to their healthcare goals.

The CPSTF now recommends using telehealth strategies to help patients manage a wide range of conditions, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV infection, end-stage renal disease, asthma, and obesity.

Telemedicine Methods to Manage Chronic Disease

Telemedicine applications continue to become more reliable and more sophisticated.Live videoconferencingmakes it easy for providers to examine patients from afar — which is particularly valuable in this age of COVID-19 and for patients with mobility and transportation barriers. It also allows specialists, in stroke cases, for instance, to examine and oversee the treatment of patients at home, in nursing homes, and in critical access hospitals.

There is alsostore-and-forward videoconferencing, which allows providers to quickly share lab results, imaging studies, and other reports with patients and/or specialists.

Remote patient monitoringallows patients to use electronic devices to check their own health benchmarks, including weight, blood pressure and blood sugar, and send the results directly to their providers. AndmHealthhelps patients use mobile devices to set up reminders for themselves and/or monitor progress toward their health goals.

And, of course, patients and providers can also stay in touch from afar the old-fashioned way: over the telephone.

The Evidence that Telemedicine Works

The annual cost of cardiovascular disease is estimated at between $273 and $444 billion, according to studies surveyed by the CPSTF.

We know that managing blood pressure and cholesterol and quitting smoking substantially reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. And the studies the CPSTF reviewed showed that telemedicine interventions are helping cardiac patients adhere to medication protocols, more reliably follow up with their providers, set goals, and successfully manage their risk factors. The panel found that interactive digital devices have proven effective at helping patients manage their own blood pressure — and even found that patients who use telemedicine are more likely to stay in cardiac rehabilitation programs.

The CPSTF also found strong evidence that text messaging interventions help patients with asthma, diabetes, HIV infection, and cardiovascular disease better adhere to their medications. Sent through mobile phones, these messages vary — from weekly reminders, to texts that actually remind patients at the time they are supposed to take their medicines. Some messages are personalized and some even involve the possibility of two-way communication, with patients being able to text their providers. One meta-analysis found that text message interventions doubled the odds of medication adherence among patients with chronic disease.

There is also evidence that telehealth interventions helped patients with cardiovascular disease, end-stage renal disease, and diabetes improve their diets by lowering their sodium intake and upping their intake of fruits and vegetables, the panel found. Benefits of these interventions included weight loss and better blood pressure control.

Why Telehealth Works for Chronic Disease Management

When patients have complex, long-term medical conditions, proper management is a marathon. Telehealth can help provide better access to specialists and improve communication, not only between patients and their providers, but among all of the members of a patient’s health care team.

Telemedicine just makes it a lot easier to communicate. It makes it easier for healthcare providers to keep close tabs on patients with complex illnesses and to convey information those patients need. And it makes it easier for patients to stay in more frequent contact with their providers and even manage their own conditions, without the hassle and expense (and the deterrent effect) of traveling to appointments and waiting in consulting rooms. The result: improved health and better quality of life for patients, and significant financial savings for patients and the healthcare system, through reduced emergency room visits and hospital utilization.

Learn how a customized telehealth program can change how you help your patients with both chronic care management, acute care, and more. Get in touch today.

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10 Steps to Secure Your Patients’ Privacy When Using Telehealth

The onset of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States quickly brought telehealth center stage as an alternative mode of health care services delivery.

The technology has shown its viability and effectiveness on a wide scale, and large numbers of providers and patients have discovered its convenience, which means telehealth is likely here to stay. As CMS Administrator Seema Verma put it, “Countless clinicians and beneficiaries received important care while avoiding unnecessary exposure to the virus. Now that providers and patients have had a taste, it’s difficult to imagine the telehealth genie going back into the bottle.”

Indeed, a new report by Doximity, an online networking platform for physicians, notes that more than 20 percent of all medical visits — representing $29.3 billion in medical services — will be conducted by telehealth in 2020. Further, as much as $106 billion of current U.S. healthcare expenditures could be virtualized by 2023, according to the report.

Security Concerns in Telehealth

Telehealth is having a moment — a moment that is likely to become a long-term solution for issues related to cost, access, increased demand for services and convenience. But the upswing in telehealth utilization presents challenges, too, notably around the privacy and security of patient electronic protected health information (ePHI). As more patients and providers connect with each other more frequently online, telehealth privacy and security risks rise as well.

Cyberattacks, including attacks on health systems, have risen alarmingly during the pandemic crisis, revealing the appetite among cyber-criminals to strike when institutions and individuals are at their most vulnerable. Data show a direct connection between the pandemic and rates of cyber-crime. For example, on January 30, the day the U.S. announced its first case of the novel coronavirus, cyberattacks rose by 48 percent, according toComputer World.

Telemedicine Security Safeguards

What can organizations do to safeguard their patients’ ePHI and address security concerns in an environment in which telehealth visits are becoming the convenient and cost-effective new normal?

  1. Conduct a third-party risk assessment on any telehealth service you’re using.
  2. Review any software or policy changes your organization has made since the onset of the pandemic and evaluate whether they are still necessary.
  3. Build encryption into every aspect of telehealth implementation, including storage, transmission and access.
  4. Invest in an encrypted, password-protected platform and a service agreement that ensures a maximum level of security. Ideally, partner with a vendor that offers a HIPAA-compliant, secure telehealth platform that can connect patients and clinicians securely across a variety of environments and whose security controls match or exceed those within your organization.
  5. Frequently update all apps and operating systems, including telehealth programs — and restrict access to apps only to those who are directly involved in using them.
  6. Run virus and malware scans at all times.
  7. Stay current on new and emerging trends in cybercrime.
  8. Educate and regularly re-educate clinicians, staff and patients on privacy and security best practices and sources of telehealth security threats. As often noted in health information technology circles, a healthcare network is only as secure as its weakest link. Often, that weakest link is a human being. (A 2016 study by Verizon, for example, reported that 30% of phishing messages were opened by the targeted individual and 12% of those individuals clicked on the malicious link.) This means everyone must play a role in ensuring the privacy and security of ePHI.
  9. Employ continuous identity authentication tools to ensure that only authorized individuals have access to data. Two-factor identification, for example, has been shown to block 99.9% of automated cyberattacks.
  10. Pay attention to the workflows and logistics of telehealth scheduling to avoid problems such as patients inadvertently gaining access to the system when a clinician is in the middle of an appointment with another patient.

Although the Office of Civil Rights gave providers latitude in using non-HIPAA-compliant platforms, for the provision of services via telehealth during the pandemic, ensuring the privacy and security of ePHI should be a priority for healthcare organizations.

Organizations that had to launch telehealth services quickly still can and should establish strong telehealth security safeguards, procedures and practices.

Learn more about keeping your telehealth video application secure. Download our white paper, “Telehealth and Video Application Security.”

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5 Provider Tips for Engaging and Effective Video Visits

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way healthcare providers deliver care. As a result of social distancing and enhanced restrictions, it is expected that doctors’ offices and hospitals could see 1 billion telehealth interactions by the end of 2020.

Virtual visits can be a powerful tool to successfully deliver patient care, but without some preparation and thought, visits can fall flat and feel cold and ineffective. Here’s what providers should keep in mind before, during, and after those video visits to make them engaging and effective.

Tips for Telehealth Visits

Location

Choosing an appropriate location for the virtual care visit is critical for ensuring your patient’s comfort and privacy. The location needs to be HIPAA-compliant — so make sure you are in a private space where others can’t overhear your conversation. If circumstances don’t allow you to be in a fully private location, there are other HIPAA safeguards to consider, including speaking in a lowered voice and not using speakerphone.

You will also want to minimize distractions and disruptions, so clean up any clutter and make sure to silence any potential background noises (e.g., disable smartphone/laptop notifications), and make sure you have good lighting (brighter light should be in front of you versus behind).

Your Appearance

While a telehealth virtual visit can feel casual, it’s important to maintain a professional appearance that reflects your organization’s image and brand. Wear professional attire, including a lab coat if that’s what you usually wear during patient exams.

Technology

There are a number of things that can inadvertently derail a video visit, from an unstable internet connection to a device running low on battery power. To set yourself up for success, make sure to address all potential technology issues before you begin the visit.

Don’t rely solely on battery power, and if possible, use a wired internet connection rather than wireless. Close any other tabs or applications you have open — too many open programs can slow down your device performance. And perhaps most importantly, know who you can call (for example, your IT team) if you run into an issue. To serve your patients best, you need to be able to address any potential technological glitches as quickly as possible.

Patient Interaction

Perhaps one of the most difficult — and yet most important —considerations during a video visit is building and maintaining a connection with your patient. Telehealth virtual visits can seem less personal than an in-person exam, but there are several ways to help your patient feel more at ease and connected.

Offer your full attention to the patient by facing the camera, making eye contact, and addressing the patient by name. Start the conversation by introducing yourself and explaining your role. Then, as you would during a normal visit, take a comprehensive history so you can fully understand the problem.

Empathize with the patient. Use phrases like “I’m here to help you,” or “It sounds like you’re having a hard time managing your pain,” to validate his or her feelings and show you understand their concerns. Being behind a screen means you’ll have to work harder than normal to build trust and deliver outstanding care.

Documentation and Billing

Documenting a video visit generally doesn’t look too different from documenting an in-person visit. However, make sure to note the use of two-way audio/video in the note, as well as the patient’s consent to a virtual visit.

And above all, you’re still required to follow HIPAA regulations. For example, HIPAA does not allow video visits to be recorded, and all patient information must be protected, including when it’s in the format of a video or image.

Caring for your patients may look a little different today, but it is likely that virtual care visits will continue, even after the coronavirus pandemic has passed. By taking the time to prepare and improve your video visit techniques, you’ll be better equipped to provide excellent care for your patients including making a real — although virtual — connection with them.

Need a video-visit cheat sheet? Get a quick reference for making your virtual visits successful. Download our infographic, Provider Video Visit Tips.

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As Seen on HISTalk Practice: Physicians Weigh in on Telemedicine’s Post Pandemic Future

HISTalk Practice editor Jennifer Dennard recently interviewed three physicians with Lee Health Physicians Group to assess the providers’ perceptions on telemedicine use during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Lee Health recently rolled out virtual visits to the health system’s ambulatory provider network to continue care delivery as quarantine and social distancing efforts continue.

Dr. Midney-Martinez, Dr. Andre Anderson and Dr. Jose Orellana offered feedback on:

  • How telemedicine has been received by patients
  • How the clinicians foresee using telemedicine once the pandemic is over
  • Words of advice to other physicians looking to implement telehealth

Patients have overwhelmingly embraced the virtual visit offering, which is delivered via integration through Lee Health’s Epic MyChart patient portal. Within one-week virtual visits soared to 1,000 sessions per day, with capacity supporting 200 concurrent calls and climbing.

“The majority of the patients that have used our telemedicine interface have shared that they enjoy it. It gives them the opportunity to continue receiving quality medical care without leaving the comfort of their home. Caregility’s interface is very simplified and easy to use for any age group,” said Anderson.

Midney-Martinez’s patients expressed some initial hesitation regarding telehealth, but she found that most patients came away from the experience pleased. “Once they connected with me, they were very happy, excited, and many told me they wished we could do it like this ‘all the time,’” said Midney-Martinez. She also praised the technology’s potential to keep patients out of the hospital and urgent care, when appropriate.

Orellana pointed to the benefits that the platform offered elderly patients. “Patients feel personally empowered because they do not need a family member to take them to the provider’s office (and miss a day from work) or the need of transportation, therefore cutting on their expenses, especially if they live on a fixed income,” said Orellana.

Each of the physicians believe in the long-term potential of telemedicine. “I think it will be hard for insurance companies to discontinue providing payment for telemedicine visits,” said Anderson. “The convenience factor is a big upsell for the patients.” Orellana sees virtual care as providing an edge to the healthcare institution in a competitive landscape.

The clinicians emphasize that telemedicine is an augmentation of traditional care delivery rather than a replacement. Physical exams will continue to be an integral part of patient engagement. They also encourage due diligence in ensuring HIPAA compliance and supporting patient education around the offering.

“There is a learning curve with this technology and patients need time and education,” said Orellana. “Also, telemedicine may lead to a breakdown in care continuity if patients access a random doctor who does not know the patient and the patient’s medical history. The medical institution must provide the tools to providers to easily connect with their own patients.”

You can read the full HIStalk Practice interview here:

Physicians Weigh in on Telemedicine’s Post-Pandemic Future

New to the world of telemedicine? Download these tip sheets to support patient and provider education within your organization:

Provider Video Visit Tips

Patient Video Visit Tips

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New telemedicine and monitoring systems give Cone Health ICU caregivers more views and data

Cone Health’s application analyst, Dolly Walkup, recently spoke to Healthcare IT News about how they successfully overcame telemedicine challenges across their 160-bed ICU departments by designing a customized implementation that included Yorktel’s Univago HE.

Read the complete article, New telemedicine and monitoring systems give Cone Health ICU caregivers more views and data,to understand how the North Carolina-based multi-hospital health system:

  • Addressed issues with a legacy system that was deemed too labor-intensive for their ICU staff
  • Improved staff workflow and patient safety with remote monitoring
  • Identified one universal A/V system with improved capabilities compared to their previous solution
  • Crafted a customizable build that focuses caregivers on only the most vital and up-to-date patient data
  • Gleaned actionable advice for other ICU departments related to system transitions and acuity scores

Read the full Healthcare IT Newsarticle here.

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Podcast: Top 3 Things Critical to Making Video Work in Telemedicine

According to Yorktel’s Pete McLain, video must be simple, robust and effective to make video work in telemedicine. Video conferencing must be accessible on demand to deliver telehealth. In this podcast, McLain, who is Yorktel’s Senior Vice President of Health, says it’s the 3am video conference call that represents the critical test of video conferencing in a healthcare setting.

Stroke, and other health care emergencies don’t come to arrive for a scheduled conference call. In this podcast, McLain explains that it’s at 3am, when the on-site medical team is fighting to save a life, that video conferencing solutions are tested. If they are easy to use, accessible, and dependably operational, the team will use the resource to link to a larger center where additional expertise can be found. If the system has already demonstrated poor reliability or of the onsite staff cannot easily get it to function, people will simply skip the available video conferencing system and move on to other options.

McLain reports on Yorktel’s Univago HE healthcare and how Yorktel is making an impact on the health care landscape. We learn about how telehealth can help with diagnosis, treatment and we learn about telestroke. Telestroke helps bridge the critical ninety-minute period where significant brain damage can be avoided. We learn about Yorktel’s experience in video conferencing and their approach to telemedicine.

Listen Here:

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