How to Best Utilize Telemedicine to Manage Chronic Care

Visual Communication Technology for Healthcare - Vidyo

A couple of weeks ago at the ATA Fall Forum conference, I participated on an industry panel titled, “Telemedicine & Chronic Care – What Does the Evidence Show? A Review of Findings from Scientific Studies.” The distinguished panel commented on the findings of Dr. Rashid Bashshur’s thorough studies on telemedicine and chronic care.

This is an extremely hot topic for healthcare systems as the number of chronic patients is on the rise. Due to many demographic and lifestyle reasons, chronic care is topping 70 percent of the healthcare expenditure and is expected to increase.

As the vendor representative on the panel, I provided commentary specific to the operational aspects of setting up a telemedicine program designed to help manage chronic care. To do this successfully, here are my two main recommendations:

1.     Think BIG!

Many of the healthcare programs established for chronic care management only covered a few hundreds or thousands of patients, and many of them were experimental and short-lived. It’s hard to examine the real impact on the quality of care and associated costs without such programs being mass deployed. Moving forward, in order for such programs to succeed, they should be designed accordingly, with the ability to scale and cover thousands or even tens of thousands of patients. Here are some of the considerations:

  • Commercial sustainabilityAnalyze what the cost of adding a new patient to the program would be, and the expected return on investment. Be sure to confirm the commitment of the investment source.  I have seen quite a few programs die when the grant that was used to start it dried up.
  • Measure criteria of success It’s important to define the criteria of success and related measurements to assure that the program stays on track.
  • Training and adoptionPrepare a training program for your staff as well as for patients. Don’t rely solely on a few enthusiastic champions to provide ad hoc guidance to all users and patients. Last I checked, they generally don’t teach how to properly sit and engage in front of a webcam during medical school.
  • Network designScalability is one of the most crucial factors to a telemedicine deployment. Design a scalable network topology with multiple datacenters, and one that is easily upgradable. My recommendation? Bet big on software.
  • Technical support The user experience is ultimately the key to adoption. Go with an intuitive user interface that minimizes the support required to onboard new clinicians and patients. Think about how many people you would need to staff at your helpdesk if your solution is difficult to learn and use.

 2.     Think FLEXIBLE!

We have witnessed that telehealth leads to behavioral change. You should design your service to be flexible and accommodate such change, while having the capability to adapt to different workflows.

One example that I like to use is from a Vidyo customer in the Netherlands that provides online telepsychiatry services. When visiting them a couple of months ago, they told me that when they introduced their telemedicine solution, the whole pattern of interaction between their therapists and patients changed. Instead of having one hour, pre-scheduled sessions with the therapist, patients are now moving to much shorter, more frequent ad-hoc sessions of about ten minutes each. They contact their therapists when they are actually in need of immediate consultation, not when the sessions are scheduled. This makes the service much more effective while also saving time for the providers, who can see patients at a moment when care is critical resulting in significantly improved patient outcomes.

Lastly, when designing a patient-facing telemedicine service, the healthcare system needs to prepare to adopt workflows that will undoubtedly change over time. When choosing a platform to enable the telemedicine service, it should provide the flexibility to address a number of different scenarios, such as adjusting scheduled meetings to ad-hoc, changing capacities and patterns of usage, and adopting new medical and consumer devices that integrate with other essential peripheral medical processes like Electronic Health Records (EHRs).

Have you successfully deployed a telemedicine solution to manage chronic care? What other considerations would you recommend?

Amnon Gavish - Senior Vice President, Vertical Solutions, Vidyo Amnon brings more than 15 years of experience in the telecommunications market. Before joining Vidyo in October 2009, Amnon was the Chief Technology Officer at Keisense Inc., an innovator in the field of textual user interface for Computer Electronics devices. Previously, he served as Vice President of Business Development at RADVISION, where he was responsible for the company’s strategic partnerships and for the definition of the company’s product offering to the service providers market. Amnon holds a Sc.D. Degree in Electrical Engineering from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology.

Philips and Vidyo Join Forces to Deliver Amazing HD Telehealth Platform

Today Vidyo announced our collaboration with Philips  - one that we believe has huge potential to uniquely satisfy a variety of needs in within Healthcare in general and telehealth in particular.

Philips is integrating Vidyo’s market-shifting video conferencing solution into its telehealth solutions for hospitals by using Vidyo’s Application Programming Interface (APIs) to embed video communication into its healthcare platform.  The resulting solution is designed to improve quality of patient care while optimizing clinician workflows and reducing costs.

By adding Vidyo to its clinical IT framework, Philips will augment a variety of processes and services with natural visual communication capabilities, to facilitate hospitals initiatives focused on improving outcomes and achieving meaningful use. The collaboration leverages the many advantages of the Vidyo solution – natural and low latency video interaction, reliable,secure, private and consistent operation over public networks, an intuitive user interface, scalability and accessibility from any device that is connected to the Internet.

What impact can these Vidyo advantages have for healthcare providers?

  1. Reduce re-admissions via frequent and cost-effective follow-up virtual visits
  2. Improved efficiency and accuracy of clinical workflows and related processes.
  3. Improved productivity with existing staff and reduced number of mistakes
  4. Ability to use a single unified platform for all processes, from remote consults, patient monitoring and follow up, to peer consultation and training.
  5. Reducing the cost of point of care, both in terms of equipment and network as well as in terms of IT support.

Initial plans are to integrate the Vidyo platform  with the Philips eICU Program . This Program enables health systems to transform critical care with an integrated, system-wide approach that leverages scarce critical care resources, integrates clinical decision support, and standardizes evidence-based care across the enterprise. The Philips eICU Program drives clinical transformation that is proven, predictable, and sustainable.

Considering Philips’ comprehensive portfolio of healthcare products – from home patient monitoring, to remote consultation – we look forward to the potential opportunity to  integrate with other Philips products.

This is a major step for both Vidyo and Philips – merging telepresence and medicine into one discipline that seamlessly combines both remote and face-to-face interaction between healthcare professionals, caregivers and patients.

 

Vidyo Wins Large Telemedicine Network Deal

The world is changing… and there is, perhaps, no better evidence of the shift in global macro conditions and demographics than in the area of healthcare.  An aging population in western countries, rising medical costs, the push for ubiquitous service offerings to rural areas, the evolution of broadband Internet and mobile broadband, are but a few pronounced changes.  To address these changes, there is a need for innovative technology to meet a variety of new needs and provide better products and services to healthcare practitioners.  Perhaps, above all, these changes demand a shift in the way healthcare is delivered, lower costs and enhanced access to high quality care.

Since we first introduced Vidyo for Healthcare 15 months ago, we have met and worked with many visionary individuals and healthcare groups who are dedicated to furthering telemedicine practices in their respective regions.  Our most recent partnership has been with the Ontario Telemedicine Network, an enterprise that has been pioneering province-wide telemedicine programs for many years. Through this experience, OTN developed a sophisticated management system that covers all aspects of a large scale telemedicine deployment.

Today, with the integration of Vidyo’s technology into their products, OTN is now able to expand its reach beyond their existing thousands of sites to remote clinics, doctors’ home offices and patient homes, adding in the missing link for a complete and comprehensive telemedicine solution, fully integrated and interoperable with their existing managed environment that is based on legacy video conferencing systems.

Vidyo is enabling OTN and other medical organizations to achieve a necessary new level in the delivery of healthcare.  Other partners who are embracing Vidyo for Healthcare include:

Vidyo for Healthcare is a true breakthrough in TeleHealthcare, allowing practitioners to accomplish what could never be done before.  It is the only market solution that affordably extends the reach of healthcare beyond traditional facilities to anywhere with Internet access, connecting practitioners and patients interactively via “off-the-shelf” computers and mobile devices.  We are truly excited to be part of the next generation of global healthcare solutions.

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Amnon Gavish, Vidyo's SVP of Vertical Solutions

Amnon Gavish brings more than 15 years of experience in the telecommunications market. Before joining Vidyo in October 2009, Amnon was the Chief Technology Officer at Keisense Inc., an innovator in the field of textual user interface for Computer Electronics devices. Previously, he served as VP of Business Development at RADVISION, where he was responsible for the company’s strategic partnerships and for the definition of the company’s product offering to the service providers market. Amnon was the CEO and co-Founder of Surf Communications, where he was responsible for all activities, from product inception, through go-to-market strategy, strategic partnerships and sales.