Mental healthcare without boundaries

In recent years, video communications (e.g. videoconferencing and telehealth) capabilities have gone from being expensive, hardware-based resources to inexpensive, cloud-based resources. Now, the driver for wide-scale adoption in healthcare is not what this technology costs, but rather how smoothly and seamlessly it can be integrated into existing clinical workflows, IT systems, and business environments.

So how does one get started? Well, the first inclination may be to reach out to your local telecommunications or media services company. However, high-quality video no longer requires special hardware or expertise. You can now get high-quality, high-definition video on devices that you, your organization, or your employees already own (newer smartphones and tablet computers) and which many would-be patients/consumers now have or could readily obtain. As a rule of thumb, any mid to high-level personal or laptop computer sold in the last ten years is probably “video-conference” ready.

Here are two approaches: a “minimal” list of requirements and a recommended “ideal” setup:

Minimal Requirements Ideal Requirements
Computer Any video and audio-equipped computing device or smartphone Laptop or desktop computer  (min. 1.8GHz Pentium i5/i7 processor and min. 4GB memory)
Camera Built- in camera External HD camera (e.g., Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920
Audio Built-in audio External speakerphone or headset such as Jabra Speak 410 or Plantronics Savi w740
Internet DSL or 4G connection (Minimum 500mb/sec. upload/download speed Home-type cable/broadband connection, with  1Gb/sec. upload/download speed and less than 50ms latency

Once you’ve got the requirements in place, the next step is to provision a video conferencing service. (Note: if you’re using a PC, think of the PC as a phone, and the video service provider as the phone company, or carrier.) Generally, you can purchase HD video conferencing from a service provider for less than $50/month. This would provide a fully encrypted, HIPAA-compliant solution. And, because many video service providers will sign business associate agreements,  (check this out—hipaa or CFR?) eliminating privacy and security issues.

One such video-as-a-service (VaaS) provider is Connexus (www.connexusvideo.com), a solutions provider in both traditional as well as “new paradigm” video communications technologies.  Connexus’ president, Jonathan Schlesinger, states that one of the most import issues to consider when utilizing video in telehealth is what happens if a call gets interrupted for technological reasons: What are the patient support and recovery procedures?

“You want to make sure you have good procedures in place in the event a call gets interrupted,” explains Schlesinger. “Therefore, while VaaS providers can get you provisioned with a service and started in virtual healthcare delivery in literally a few minutes, it is important to spend a good deal of time to put together a strategy for urgent psychiatry situations as well as routine therapy use.” Indeed, if a patient says they are suicidal and shuts off their connection, organizations will be liable and need protocols in place to handle situations such as these.

Resources to help

These service providers – and other organizations like them – provide high quality Video as a Service (VaaS), plus needed support.

Company Telephone URL Uniquness
Connexus 800-938-8888 www.connexusvideo.com Self service
ID Solutions 877-880-0022 www.e-idsolutions.com Extensive support options
Quest 800-326-4220 www.questsys.com Full healthcare data services
Yorktel 732-413-1839 www.yorktel.com Custom solutions
Xtelesis 888-340-9835 www.xtelesis.com Cost-effective solutions

From a technology readiness point of view, Amnon Gavish, the SVP Vertical Market Solutions at Vidyo (www.vidyo.com), talks about other important but less known technology related considerations. “One of the things we have seen is that the quality (defined as high definition and low latency) of video is much more important in mental health interactions than in other telemedicine scenarios, as mental healthcare encounters are typically much longer than a traditional 5-10 minute primary care or specialist interaction. These are longer consultations so key factors in the effectiveness of using video are supporting a smooth conversational flow and consistency of experience. If the experience becomes cumbersome and video issues affect the quality of a session, the effectiveness of the session can be compromised causing the physician and patient will lose interest in meeting in this manner.”

Gavish also cautions you need to ensure the patient on-boarding is quick and foolproof. One way to do this is to have the patient bring his or her home computer to an initial session, during which you can ensure it is properly set up to receive a telehealth visit. Another option is to ask your telehealth solution provider if their software can provide a single-click or web-based software installation and test process, so you won’t have to provide user support.

Whenever you’re going to work with a patient at home, Gavish advises that “you need to do an excellent job at teaching them how to select and set up their equipment and ensure they have adequate lighting and privacy to ensure a good-quality experience.” Because it is typical to begin a therapeutic relationship with a face-to-face encounter at the provider’s office, there’s almost always an opportunity to explain important requirements, provide educational materials, and help patients ensure that they’re ready to receive a telehealth appointment.

Utilizing cloud based video visit services minimizes your financial exposure. “There are enormous business advantages with VaaS as you are able to scale up with a very, very low cost,” states Schlesinger. “Putting together the brick and mortar infrastructure for that type of footprint would be cost prohibitive, but if an organization makes that investment later, the virtual practice will help them to determine where to locate based on the volume of calls they have made.”

The Mercy Way with Telemedicine

St. Louis’s Gateway Arch stands as the iconic monument symbolizing the westward expansion of the United States. Today, it might stand for the nationwide expansion of telemedicine for St. Louis-based Mercy, which is currently in the process of building a $90 million virtual care center along with a new specialty hospital and corporate offices.

At the core of Mercy’s vision for telemedicine is Mercy telehealth services in the Center for Innovative Care. We recently had the pleasure at being introduced to some of Mercy’s telemedicine leadership through a tour of Mercy’s SafeWatch TeleICU, an ambitious implementation across the Mercy healthcare system that connects 10 hospitals and 350 monitored ICU beds. Recognized as the nation’s largest single-hub electronic ICU program, Mercy is demonstrating to the world that telemedicine can and does save lives, lowers costs and improves how we deliver care today.

What impressed us most was that the speed by which the SafeWatch program was implemented, with the majority of the center being up and running in just 12 months and fully operational in 18! Now Mercy’s telehealth program is expanding beyond far beyond SafeWatch, under executive director Wendy Deibert’s leadership, and has expanded to over 75 telemedicine projects that span across the care continuum.

To learn about Mercy’s SafeWatch program and new virtual care center, visit Mercy’s Newsroom.

Healthcare Experience Design 2013 – Improving Communication for Better Health

Healthcare Experience Design 2013 is just around the corner, and SBR is excited to be back to join some of today’s most innovative designers, technologists, product managers, researchers, entrepreneurs, visionaries and dreamers in the healthcare space. Exploring the intersection of healthcare and design, HxD’s featured speakers include visionary game designer Jane McGonigal, ‘The Happiness Project’ author Gretchen Rubin, Kaiser Medical Director of Patient Education and Health Promotion David Sobel, MD, PatientsLikeMe co-founder Jaime Heywood and many more. All will address their burning mission for health, and the role design thinking plays in improving the quality of health service delivery and helping us achieve better health.

For The Impact of Virtual Health Delivery Networks on Healthcare session, SBR Health CEO Christopher Herot will present a case study on how video communication is being leveraged by some of today’s leading healthcare delivery institutions to support the virtualization of care delivery across health care networks to enable them to increase access, drive down costs and improve outcomes.

 

When: Monday, March 25th, 1:40-2:10 PM EDT                                                           Where: The Westin Waterfront, Boston MA, Commonwealth conference room

Visit the HxD website for more details on Chris’ Monday session, other speakers and the agenda for this year’s conference.

 

How cloud-based video is disrupting healthcare delivery

Telemedicine has been a market with a bright future for a long time but there are barriers to adoption due to cost, ease-of-use and reimbursement. Christopher Herot, CEO of SBR Health, is an innovator in the telemedicine space, who saw these barriers as opportunities for disruption, and is making it easy to get started and scale e-Visit programs to deliver care more effectively, and with greater operational efficiency. SBR Health’s automated call and skills routing management solutions allow healthcare providers to increase patient accessto care, reduce costs and readmission rates and extend service reach by delivering care virtually through video visits. In this interview, Chris describes how cloud-based video solutions are revolutionizing healthcare delivery by seamlessly integrating into clinical workflows to connect patients with doctors, specialists and membersof the care team in real-time, at any location and using any device.

Q: What role does video play in patient engagement, and how is it being used today?

People have known that patient engagement is key if you want to bend the cost curve in healthcare. The US spends twice as much as the most developed nations in the world on healthcare per capita, and we rank 18th in terms of life expectancy so clearly something’s wrong.

Until recently, there weren’t a lot of breakthrough ideas. One area that holds a lot of promise is applying things we’ve learned with online games and other interactive tools. We’ve learned what motivates people and that there’s no substitution for face-to-face interaction. What’s driving healthcare, more specifically health IT, these days is convenience and usability. With the widespread adoption of easy-to-use and low-cost video communications tools like Skype and Vidyo for both business and personal use, consumers are learning that real-time, interactive face-to-face communication is a very easy to use and efficient way to communicate and asking “why can’t I do that with my healthcare provider?”

Q: There’s a lot of excitement around the telemedicine bill referred to as the ‘Telehealth Promotion Act’ that proposes expanding reimbursement for telehealth services for federal programs and creates a federal standard for medical licensure in telehealth. How will this impact healthcare as we know it?

It’s time. There have been a lot of needless barricades in terms of using communication technology as a tool for conducting doctor patient visits but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The real growth is going to come from transforming healthcare, not just automating, and doing away with the reimbursement, licensing and credentialing issues impacting telemedicine. Our theory is we can have a big impact on outcomes by not just automating traditional on-site visits but allowing people to interact in a more comfortable, frequent and less burdensome manner for both patients and providers.

Q: What have been the major barriers in using telemedicine, and do you think these can be resolved in 2013?

In the past, it’s been the reimbursement and regulatory issues. As far as technology, it’s been a cost barrier. Until late, there hasn’t been widespread consumer acceptance of face-to-face video communications. But now you have a whole generation of consumers raised on technology, and a generation of parents using technology to check on their kids.

Telemedicine has shown a lot of promise but as it’s required expensive equipment and highly trained people, progress has been slow. The future, call it telemedicine or something else, is letting patients and doctors connect with each other, regardless of location or device.

Q: The bill also includes incentives for hospitals to lower readmissions with telemedicine. What impact is SBR having on reducing readmissions? Are there any success stories you can share or relate to?

There was a recent meta-analysis done that looked at the impact of remote monitoring on the health outcomes of patients with chronic heart disease. By acquiring and transmitting real-time patient data to the care team, and creating opportunities for timely intervention, the remote monitoring programs were found to help reduce hospital readmissions and mortality rates, and also improve patients’ quality of life. The analysis demonstrated a high degree of variability with some interventions resulting in better health outcomes than others, so it’s too early to tell what the gold standard for clinical intervention is.

We’re just now at the point where we’re assessing the rate and process, and enthusiasm for adoption. What we do know is that both doctors and patients are looking forward to being able to more readily use these types of interventions.

Q: Do you anticipate more insurers will cover telemedicine in 2013? What is the argument for relaxing reimbursement constraints?

In my conversation with payers, they’re waiting for the data that indicates that they’ll save money or get better outcomes and not just a way for docs to get paid for something they used to do for free. More insurers are willing to pay on an ad hoc basis or to experiment. Everyone is waiting to see for the definitive results.

Q: Progress is slow but steady. As you’re on the forefront of change, what are your hopes and predictions for how telemedicine, particularly virtual visit programs, will help to advance and redefine care delivery today?

If you want to buy an airplane ticket, do your banking or find someone to marry you can use your cellphone, laptop, tablet, etc. The only thing you can’t easily do is use these same technologies to talk to your doctor. What I’m hearing from consumers all the time is that there’s a pent-up demand for bringing medicine into that same on-demand, low latency universe that we take for granted in every other part of your life. What’s been pleasantly surprising for us is a lot of the doctors are looking for ways to be more connected with their patients, and they really do care about providing a good experience for them. Contrary to how people look at doctors, there’s a feeling that medicine has become really impersonal, and what I’m happy to find is that doctors really want to do something about it.

Technology may allow us to deliver a more personal healthcare experience that will both make us feel better and get better.

Q: What is the easiest way to start using telemedicine, and what can I expect in return?

The implications for healthcare by incorporating video into the care delivery workflow are huge. By moving away from the expensive, hardware-based telemedicine systems to cloud-based video solutions that can be customized and require minimal change management, hospitals and healthcare systems are able to improve access to clinical resources, serve hard to reach patients, control costs, and improve patients’ health outcomes and overall experience. The world of healthcare is dynamic, and SBR Health is solving the problem of integrating telemedicine, specifically video, into clinical workflows to revolutionize care delivery to be more efficient and effective.

 

SBR Health Technical Requirements

SBR Health’s solutions are deployed utilizing a client/server architecture. Here’s what you’ll need to participate in our test Wednesday.

SERVER:

The SBR Health application server runs as a service on any version of Windows (32 or 64 bit) that includes .NET 4.0 or above (Windows 2008 recommended). This ap- plication server can be located on a client’s own premises, on SBR Health’s servers, or hosted by a 3rd party. An instance of MySQL server is also required and can run anywhere — it does not need to be located on the SBR application server but it is highly recommended it be collocated.

CLIENTS:

The client-side applications are Windows based thin client applications. Supported OS’s are XP with SP3, Windows Vista, Windows 7 (32 and 64 bit). Clients will be available soon for Android and iOS devices as separately supported options. The Clients communicate to the SBR Health application server via TCP/IP through port 5501. SBR Health does not dictate any special client side hardware requirements, but since this client PCs must also run a video conferencing client, it is recom- mended that they be at lease 1.6GHz and have a minimum of 2GB of memory. These PCs must also be equipped with a camera, microphone and speakers.

INSTALLATION:

Installing and setting up an SBR Health server is very easy. SBR Health provides an installation program for which installs and configures the application service. This server application is then pointed to an instance of MySQL server. SBR Health also provides a MySQL script that builds the database and all required tables. The build also configures the server to point to the video communication server(s). On the client side MS Installer scripts (.msi) are supplied for installing the SBR Health client applications. These can be staged on a web server so that links can be provided to the users (doctors and patients) so that the appropriate application is downloaded and installed. If any firewall is in use where SBR Health client applications are be- ing utilized, the firewall must be enabled to allow one way communication out through this port as follows: “ALLOW TCP xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx:5501” where xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx is the IP address of the SBR Health application server.

 

Healthcare, Homelessness and Hope

SBR Health and a new Boston-area nonprofit, Found in Translation, share an important core value: connecting patients and healthcare professionals through better communication. Found in Translation is the brain-child of Executive Director Maria Vertkin, who thought it would be a good idea to connect homeless, bilingual women with free job training to become medical interpreters, whose average annual salary is over $40,000. In Boston shelters, more than 40% of families identify as Hispanic/Latino (Source: Annual Census Report), and many are bilingual women.

Maria, an Israeli citizen born in Russia, saw an opportunity to help bilingual women by creating a program that offers not only a 12-week medical interpreter’s certification course, but common sense support such as child care and transportation. The Kip Tiernan Fellowship Committee at Rosie’s Place saw the opportunity too, and awarded Maria with a $40,000 start-up grant in 2011. Found in Translation graduated their first class of 21 women, selected from a pool of 164 applicants, in April 2012.

“The potential for women in this job field is tremendous,’ said Maria, who has worked as an interpreter and translator since she was a teenager. ‘Our program participants are looking at a 500% income increase. That not only helps the women and their families, it helps fill a need in the hospital workforce and improves the quality of healthcare for non-English speakers.”

Today, hundreds of low-income, bilingual women are waiting to apply for their next training cycle in 2013, hoping for an opportunity to use their language skills to create a better life for themselves and their families.

The next few months are critical for Found in Translation – additional funds are deeply needed to continue this important program.  Party Around the World is the organization’s first annual fundraiser – a multi-cultural celebration with live Latin, African and Chinese lion dance performances, multi-cultural foods, and world music. It takes place at the Microsoft NERD Center in Cambridge, MA on November 16, 2012 from 6 to 10 pm.  Tickets are only $55 general admission and $25 for students/starving artists. Please buy tickets, enjoy a fun night out and support this great organization!

 

For more information about Found in Translation, please visit their website: www.found-in-translation.org or contact Maria Vertkin at maria@found-in-translation.org

 

Why Innovation Requires Letting Go to Drive Change

This year’s 2nd Annual Digital Health Conference put the spotlight on efforts to advance healthcare innovation in New York and beyond. While the big apple is home to some of today’s biggest name celebrities like Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin, talk of progress on health information exchanges and the secure sharing of data, as well as new mHealth and telemedicine tools, was top of mind at the conference.

Featured over the two-day conference were keynotes with Dr. David Brailer, Chairman of Health Evolution Partners, and often referred to as the ‘grandfather of health IT’, and Stephen Dubner, journalist and award-winning author of Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics, as well as breakout sessions on some of today’s hottest topics in healthcare.

One of the most well attended and thought provoking sessions was the ‘mHealth Innovators Panel’ with Ben Chodor, CEO of Happtique, as moderator and Leonard Achan, Vice President and Chief Communications Officer at The Mount SInai Medical Center; Wendy Mayer, Vice President, Worldwide Innovation at Pfizer; and Martha Wofford, Vice President, Head of CarePass at Aetna as panelists. By addressing the goals, perspectives and challenges of using mHealth for care delivery, this hour-long panel offered key insights on mHealth’s potential to revolutionize the healthcare ecosystem from the key players in the market including hospital providers, physicians, patients, pharma, payers and programmers.

Q: How do you convince the C-suite that innovation is important?

Wendy: My team drives innovation platforms with a focus on transforming digital to support business and develop capability tools across the organization. With digital, you can innovate more quickly. Pfizer is still working towards a corporate digital strategy but has come a long way.

Q: How has innovation changed?

Martha: There’s been an explosion of applications. Now it’s more about navigating the ecosystem and connecting the best pieces brought to market.

Leonard: We’re further along now. Once you get the C-level support and get past the threshold of change, then you build trust and it’s easier to move forward.

Q: What’s the best innovation out there?

Wendy: Accessibility to healthcare beyond the local environment and the global implications of providing care and extending care more broadly.

Q: What’s the best thing about CarePass?

Martha: Allowing people to see a different future with data and get them there. We’re excited about all the things you can plug into mobile. You can revolutionize access to care around the world.

Leonard: The $7 trillion impact of mobile in low and middle income countries across the globe. A lot of more simple technologies will be transplanted from countries around the world.

Q: Why do people say they want mHealth but not everyone is using it?

Wendy: The existence of mobile technology in places where there is no alternative of care allows for quick adoption. Here in the U.S., the alternative is the person, the doctor. We have an immense amount of data from the traditional care delivery approach and less reliable evidence and data to allow doctors to let go and feel more comfortable with mobile. Mobile as a new means of communication is difficult to assess the impact.

Q: What advice would you give to startups?

Wendy: Do your homework around issues that pharma is dealing with. Vendors come in and talk about solutions that don’t connect to our business strategy. We’re looking for ideas that address our challenges and solve real problems.

Leonard: You have to do a lot of research ahead of time. We used to let everyone in. It was a disaster for entrepreneurs pitching to executives and not doing their homework. It’s important to understand the business goals. If you’re going to save lives and money, you have a chance but you really have to differentiate yourself.

Martha: CarePass is attracting developers with new solutions. We’re working collaboratively with other organizations to inspire innovation. We may be further along but not yet attracting the best and brightest. We want to create a community for developers to help us innovate and drive change. https://developer.carepass.com/

 

Innovation Gamechangers

This past week, SBR had the chance to sit down with Boston Children’s Hiep ‘Bob’ Nguyen, MD, Director of Pediatric TeleUrology, and his research fellow Chad Gridley to discuss some of the projects underway that are innovating care delivery. Bob, recently named a Champion of Healthcare by the Boston Business Journal, is a real game changer who is always at the forefront of revolutionizing care through the utilization of new technologies to better facilitate communication and engage patients.

Q: How is Boston Children’s innovating today?

Boston Children’s is a very forward thinking hospital. They recognize the capabilities of current technologies and are doing a great job of utilizing them. I think they’ve done an especially great job of creating mobile device apps. For example, hospitals are known for being difficult to navigate. The hospital has created a free app that is downloaded to your phone that helps patients and their families get to anywhere in the hospital.

Q: What are the challenges in innovating?

The most challenging aspect is trying to advance multiple projects simultaneously. The hospital has a wealth of innovative staff and given our close proximity to world-class educational institutions, there is never a shortage of startups wanting to collaborate with the hospital.

Click to watch interview

Q: How is video communications shaping innovation in care delivery? Why is this important?

Video communication is bringing patients and healthcare providers closer together than ever before. The process of getting a child ready, driving to the hospital, and sitting in the waiting room can take the better part of the day. For many parents, this is a great burden and sometimes isn’t even an option. By utilizing available technologies, patients can more easily reach their physician from their own home. This has the potential for increasing patient satisfaction as well as increasing patient follow up.

 

Guest Post: The Potential for Telemedicine to Monitor and Improve Public Health

Today’s contributor, Charlotte Kellogg, has contributed a post about the ability for mhealth apps and telemedicine to monitor chronic illnesses. This blog has previously discussed potential drawbacks in telemedicine and Kellogg has built upon that by layering in a comparison of potential benefits and known drawbacks.  Kellogg is a writer and researcher for an public health education resource that offers information about public health certification, classes and programs.  

The Potential for Telemedicine to Monitor and Improve Public Health

The need for quality, consistent healthcare is growing in nearly every corner of the world. Modern scientists are finding new ways to treat conditions every day, but finding ways of bringing that care to the people who need it most is often logistically challenging—not to mention tremendously expensive. New developments in telemedicine, including mhealth, seek to bridge these divides.

Integrating technology into existing healthcare frameworks has the potential to help doctors and other medical providers work faster, more effectively, and with greater accuracy. More patients than ever before can be reached, and information that is centralized on a cloud-based server has much less of a chance of getting lost or overlooked, and can ensure more efficient coordination of care.

The cost savings alone are often substantial. For example, telemedicine has the potential to lower costs from preventing unneeded trips to the emergency room through reliable, real-time video communication between doctors and patients. Telemedicine also reduces the number of routine visits as doctors can effectively monitor a discharge patient from the comfort of their own home. This is especially pertinent for patients who live far from medical centers, as they will not need to travel to an office unless it is absolutely necessary.

Still, providers should be wary of jumping in too deep, too fast. The mobile health landscape is still very much under in the nascent stages of development, and improvements are needed before new technology will be able to fully manage chronic conditions and other public health concerns.

Benefits to Public Health

Health care providers across the board are finding tremendous success using telemedicine in the treatment of chronic conditions like congestive heart failure, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS. Doctors can equip patients with remote tracking devices, which allow for monitoring of blood pressure, glucose levels, and other vital statistics without requiring an in-person visit. Medical providers can also use technology to track pharmaceutical prescriptions and send patients personalized reminders of when and how each drug should be taken.

Telemedicine promises improved care to those living in rural or otherwise remote locations, as well. Patients are increasingly able to check their symptoms through mobile phone apps or online database systems, and also speak to physicians and other members of the care team through web-based video conferencing. This saves time and, increasingly, lives as patients become more empowered and are able to more readily determine when an injury or illness is something that should be waited out or needs immediate attention.

Potential Threats to Public Health

As advanced as many aspects of telemedicine are, the field is nevertheless still quite young. Providers and developers remain in the throes of figuring out how to tighten up on the platform’s accuracy and usability. In many cases the technology is very new and prone to have bugs in the code, and because these technologies are protected intellectual property, many of these bugs are not caught before the programs hit the market.

One of the biggest problem areas is the degree to which patients may elect to rely on apps or electronic information in place of, rather than in addition to, in-person primary care. “The problem with this kind of gold rush is that it attracts not only the best and brightest but also the fast and furious—IT developers looking for quick profits with minimal investment of resources,” Information Week said in a 2012 article evaluating some of the potential downsides of the telemedicine “revolution.”

There is also a concern when it comes to expectations. Medicine is an immensely nuanced field that often defies easy answers. A simple statement of symptoms can indicate a range of wildly different causes, which can lead patients and providers to overlook some of the most obvious possibilities. Researchers from Good Morning America exposed just how difficult online diagnoses can be when they visited three different telemedicine sites armed with the symptoms of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma—and did not get a correct diagnosis anywhere. “It’s totally, totally upsetting. It reduces medicine to piecemeal work,” Dr. Marie Savard, a medical contributor to the show, said in an article for ABC News.

While the diagnoses on these sites were incorrect, it is important to remember that the root cause of most misdiagnoses is poor communication. While these sites and tools may not be able to necessarily match symptoms with diseases, they can make it much easier for a patient to relay symptoms to a doctor who can then interpret the data.

In most cases, the benefits of telemedicine outweigh the potential risks, but there is still work to be done. The cost and time savings allowed through telemedicine, for example avoiding unnecessary appointments and being able to adjust dosage on prescriptions without needing to travel to a doctor’s office, are tremendous, and are likely to continue to grow in the years ahead. It is already the case that diabetes patients are more conveniently and effectively monitoring their health, something that has saved many lives and millions of dollars – something sure to continue as technology improves and people become more comfortable with telemedicine.

By 2020, expert patients will self-manage 95% of their preventive and chronic care

Patients titrating and administering their own medication? Sounds like some futuristic scene from a sci-fi movie where Doctors no longer exist and patients are in charge of their own healthcare.  But this is actually not so futuristic explains Dr. David Judge, medical director of the Ambulatory Practice of the Future (APF) at Mass General.  Diabetic patients are already successfully self medicating, and David plans to soon pilot similar care modalities for other patient populations such as those with chronic heart disease.

As a featured speaker at yesterday’s MassTLC Executive Summit, an event highlighting innovative technologies and applications and their impact on businesses and consumers today, David detailed how his team is deploying new tools to improve how care is delivered, and at the center of that care are the patients themselves. David’s vision of the patient of the future is a healthier, more informed and empowered patient in control of his/her own health destiny. To enable this vision, the APF is providing patients with tools that enable them to self manage, thereby allowing them to improve their health outcome and quality of life while at the same time allowing David and his care team to focus on spending more time with patients who need their care most.

At the summit, David also highlighted several pilots underway at the APF focused on innovating care delivery for primary care in partnership with the Center for Integration of Medicine & Innovative Technology. Fueled in part by the shortage of primary care providers, these projects focus on the exploration of new models of care delivery and are attempt to utilize all members of the care team to train and empower patients to be more proactive managers of their care. David calls this “patient apprenticeship” and the APFs initial findings are that this is a very successful and effective patient-centered care model. He went on to share his insight on the impact of ACOs, payment for value, culture change, informed patients and the increased demand for technologies to enable prevention and proactive disease management on care delivery.

The patient of the future will be here sooner than we expect explained David, as by 2020 he predicts expert patients will manage 95% of their preventive and chronic care. The patient of the future will be a healthier, more informed and empowered patient in control of his/her own health destiny.

To learn more about David Judge and his work at the Ambulatory Practice of the Future, visit http://ow.ly/dRj6m