SBR Health at Brigham & Women’s Hospital

 

As virtual doctor visits take off, debate over who should pay heats up

Melissa Bailey, writing in the new Pulse of Longwood column for the Boston Globe’s Stat News leads the piece with a description of how the SBR Health virtual visit platform is being used in endocrinology at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Not only does the patient love it, but the doctor says it’s improved patient attendance.

VillageCare

We would like to welcome VillageCare Wellness Innovations to our family of customers. VillageCare recently received a Health Care Innovation Award from The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center (CMMI) to pilot “Treatment Adherence through the Advanced Use of Technology” (TAAUT). This program aims to increase patient activation and treatment adherence for people living with HIV and AIDS by providing a multi-faceted intervention involving a social platform for behavior change, virtual visits, text reminders and peer support.

From the VillageCare site:

VillageCare Wellness Innovations expects to improve adherence in the most cost-effective manner by delivering education and support through technology. Participants will be able to access a customized private social network, virtual video support groups, treatment adherence professionals for questions, and text messaging for medication and appointment reminders. In addition, peer mentors will provide one-on-one encouragement and mentoring for behavior change.

“VillageCare has long been a leader in care for people living with HIVAIDS in the New York City area,” says Emma DeVito, President and Chief Executive Officer for VillageCare. VillageCare developed the first comprehensive AIDS Day Treatment program in New York and since then, has continued to create effective and innovative care models. “We are excited for the opportunity granted to us to develop a new and innovative way to encourage adherence and wellness for those living with HIVAIDS.”

The overall goal of the program is to improve viral loads and CD-4 counts, thereby simultaneously improving health and reducing overall health spending for the population. VillageCare was awarded just over $8.7 million to create and operate this program for three years. CMS will be conducting evaluations during and upon completion of the pilot program. More information may be found by visiting www.villagecare.org.

The project described is supported by Grant No. 1C1CMS331353-01-01 from the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or any of its agencies.

Boston Globe on Telemedicine in Mental Health

Last week, the Boston Globe ran an article Virtual therapy expanding mental health care, that mentioned how two of our customers, Partners HealthCare and HealthLinkNow were using our product to provide virtual therapy sessions.

The article quotes Janet Wozniak, a child and adolescent psychiatrist who is the associate director of the Bressler Program for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Massachustts General Hospital:

For Wozniak’s patients, mainly children and teens on the autism spectrum with psychiatric disorders, simply coming to the office can be harrowing. So when the opportunity arose to take part in a pilot program for telepsychiatry, Wozniak was hopeful. She approached a few families she thought might be interested — ideally, those who lived far from the hospital and had some degree of “computer savvy.” All they needed was a computer or tablet with a camera, speakers, and Internet connection to download the hospital’s telemedicine software. Skype and other similar applications aren’t strictly compliant with HIPAA privacy rules and regulations, and so while some practitioners — like Carmichael, who alerts her patients to this potential drawback — do use Skype, MGH uses its own software.

The software cited is SBR Health’s ResourceManager.

The article also quotes Peter Yellowlees, Chairman of HealthLinkNow:

Anyone who’s used Skype, particularly for romantic reasons, knows that you can have very intimate conversations. The extra distance might actually allow more self-revelation,” noted Peter Yellowlees, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California Davis, who conducts research on online consultation services and uses video-conferencing technology in his own practice. “I’ve had many people tell me things on video that they wouldn’t necessarily share in person.”

We are proud to say that HealthLinkNow isn’t using Skype, they are using SBR Health.

 

 

SBR Health 2011: What We’ve Learned

As we start a new year, I looked back on all that we learned from the hundreds of conversations we had with doctors, patients and hospital administrators to pinpoint the top lessons that really stood out from 2011.  There was a lot of frustration with the fee-for-service model and the fragmented care that it engenders, but there were a few points of concern that surprised us that I thought I would share with our readers.

When we asked patients what they wanted from their doctors, we heard they wanted someone who would really listen, take them seriously, and didn’t keep them waiting. When we talked to doctors, we learned they were frustrated by patients who didn’t show up for their appointments, follow up with their treatment plans or take their medications. While it is often said that anecdotes don’t equal data, there are corresponding statistics on the sorry level of readmissions, which can often be traced to a lack of coordination among caregivers and the need for patient engagement.

As we looked into where video communication might help, we observed that video had two very different roles to play in medicine. The obvious role, as pioneered in dermatology and neurology, was using video as a diagnostic tool, for example looking at a photograph of a patient’s skin or observing his performance in a neurological examination.  The other role, which may be equally if not more important, was more of a consultative role to establish rapport and engender trust between the parties. Doctors refer to the “doorknob syndrome,” where the patient mentions the most significant problem as he has his hand on the doorknob to leave the room. As this is something that occurs most likely in person and least likely over the phone, video is more like being there in person. Video, like an in person visit, ensures a higher level of trust between the patient and doctor.

We also heard a lot from hospital administrators about “change management.” Doctors are avid consumers of technology, from surgical robots to smart phones, but they have little patience for tools that are supposed to help and instead create more work. Electronic medical records (EMR) are a case in point. Implementation of an EMR can cost millions (or even billions in some cases) but we have yet to encounter a health care professional who hasn’t expressed frustration with one. Enterprises everywhere need to deal with the high level of expectation conditioned by consumer IT, and health care is no exception.

When it comes to video communication, the technical requirements are pretty straightforward: high quality, low bandwidth, interoperability with existing systems, and straightforward user experience. While there may not be one technology that satisfies all those requirements at once, we at SBR Health see an opportunity in crafting a solution that combines the best of the available video technologies with applications that are compatible with the day-to-day workflow of busy clinicians, improve communication among clinicians, patients and family members, and enable more efficient and compassionate delivery of health care.

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Chris Herot is the CEO and co-founder of SBR Health. Prior to launching SBR in 2010, Chris was Chief Product Officer at VSee Lab, a provider of high quality, low bandwidth and low cost videoconferencing solutions to enterprises and governments. Chris has been a successful business and technology leader in several high growth companies, and directed the advanced technology group for several years at Lotus Development (now IBM) where he was responsible for video, mobile and real-time communications solutions.

Chris received his BS and MS degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he was on the faculty of the group that became the MIT Media Laboratory.

Blog: herot.typepad.com

 

 

The Intimate Dissection of Healthcare Reform at the 8th Annual AHCC

Reform is a loaded word. At the 8th Annual American Health Care Congress, the challenges, strategies and objectives of healthcare reform were intimately dissected.

Among executives and thought leaders from across the healthcare industry at the two-day congress, the topic of value was a major focus point. The integration of new delivery models and providing value through collaborative partnerships between hospitals, physicians and healthcare was set as the ultimate task at hand, regarding healthcare reform.

Value is both a challenge we face and an outcome we hope to achieve. Throughout the discussions on innovation and strategies for enhancing quality, integration, engagement, outcomes and so forth, value was defined in a variety of ways. Included here, are highlights from sessions at the two-day congress.

  • On Clinical Integration Strategies for Improved Outcomes and Reduced Costs, speakers Robert Pryor, president CEO of Scott & White Healthcare and Douglas Strong, CEO of University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers, offered some valuable insight on their approaches to transitioning to value-based care with a consumer focused business model, sharing core competencies and delivering value through risk sharing partnerships, and creating employee engagement.
  • On Managing Financial Risks of Accountable Care – New Health Care Delivery Models, speaker Richard Afable, president and CEO of Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, shared some forward thinking ideas regarding new health care delivery models and how Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter’s idea of ‘shared value’ has really influenced their business model at Hoag.

‘Achieving high value for patients must become the overarching goal of health care delivery, with value defined as the health outcomes achieved per dollar spent. This goal is what matters for patients and unites the interests of all actors in the system. If value improves, patients, payers, providers, and suppliers can all benefit while the economic sustainability of the health care system increases.

The failure to prioritize value improvement in health care delivery and to measure value has slowed innovation, led to ill-advised cost containment, and encouraged micromanagement of physicians’ practices, which imposes substantial costs of its own. Measuring value will also permit reform of the reimbursement system so that it rewards value by providing bundled payments covering the full care cycle or, for chronic conditions, covering periods of a year or more. Aligning reimbursement with value in this way rewards providers for efficiency in achieving good outcomes while creating accountability for substandard care.’

Afable went on to provide examples in which value can be created that includes innovative, market based cost reductions; exceptional patient experiences; superior, safe, consistent clinical outcomes; and demonstrates improvements in the health of a community.

  • On Revolutionizing American Health Care using 21st Century Information Technology, Robert Pearl, Executive Director and CEO of Permanente Medical Group, ended with a demand for innovation. Through the adoption of new delivery models, real value can be achieved. “Choice is more important than circumstance. We must offer the same convenience and capabilities to Americans to provide a high value quality of care and enable health care reform.”

SBR News: Recap of Mid-West BluePrint Health IT Summit

This post is part of our recap series. As mentioned a few weeks ago, SBR Health was chosen as a finalist for the Mid-West BluePrint Health IT Innovation Exchange Summit in Indiana. Below, CMO of SBR Health, Peter Eggleston has given an overview of the events of this summit.

In the 25-minute matching sessions, where brief presentations or demos were allowed, providers and Innovators were asked to set milestones for next steps if the match appeared to be worthwhile. They either set dates and steps for next steps for further evaluation or plans to set up a pilot or test-bed opportunity.

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SBR Health had a jammed packed day at the recent Mid-West BluePrint Health IT Innovation Exchange Summit in Indianapolis, IN.  We were one of ten companies coming together from eight states across the nation to meet innovation and business development representatives from nine healthcare providers and payers.  The format was excellent – 15 minutes for both the company and provider/payer to get to know each other and see if there were any areas of mutual interest, then 30 minute sessions for deeper dives to explore ways in which to potentially work together. Videos of some of the general meetings can be seen on the summits website, under Innovation Videos.

While we can’t talk about the specifics of these meetings, I would like to share some areas of interest that seemed to be common in terms of top of mind. Care coordination and patient connectivity seemed to be the largest common problem organizations were seeking solutions for and was on everyone’s “shopping list.”  This was followed by improving care transitions and management of complex and high risk patients, especially after discharge. In a similar vein, there was a lot of interest expressed in care delivery solutions into the home, mobile technologies, and several organizations looking for technologies to support “e-visits” and remote patient management solutions. Mobile technologies was expressed in a variety of ways, and seemed to be delivery or engagement mechanism that was overlaid onto the other desires above, rather than a category of interest by itself.

Overall, the Blueprint format seemed to work well, and I was surprised by how quickly everyone engaged and how effective the format was. In fact, I overheard one hospital administrator comment “I wish all my vendor meetings were only 15 minutes long!”

If you attended the Mid-West BluePrint Summit, or have been to a similar setting where you were engaging in brief, but useful meetings, please comment below about your experiences.

SBR Health: 8th Annual American Health Care Congress Exhibition

SBR Health will be at the 8th Annual American Health Care Congress Exhibition to explore and evaluate post-reform integration strategies, innovative business and care delivery models, as well as health IT. Featuring two days of educational and networking opportunities, SBR is excited to join other innovators and health care executives to address the present and future challenges facing health care reform, and find solutions for improving the delivery of care.

Innovators from the nation’s largest employers, health plans, hospitals, health systems and physician group practices will unite in discussion of post-reform integration strategies through themed panel discussions, exhibitions and networking opportunities. Discussions will focus on innovative delivery models, such as Accountable Care Organizations, Patient Centered Medical Homes, Bundled Payment Models and Virtual Integration Strategies.

Our work to develop televideo solutions that enable major health delivery organizations to reduce readmissions and increase access are aligned with the theme of this year’s conference—to improve the delivery of care. Our mission and belief that ‘Connection is the best medicine’ is clear. We are honored to join health care thought leaders in developing and implementing solutions for change. The foundation of health care reform is change, and through improved real-time communications capabilities, we’re driving change.

To follow us on Twitter while we’re at the conference, visit our Twitter Page.

SBR at the Sudler Health + Technology Convergence in NYC 2011

Innovations in health and technology will coalesce at this week’s Sudler Health + Technology Convergence 2011 in New York City.

sudler health + technology convergence 2011Sudler & Hennessy, a global healthcare communications agency, believes in the power of ideas and will explore the impact of these ideas at this year’s summit. In the search for seamless and effective healthcare solutions, Sudler is bringing today’s best and brightest in the healthcare sphere together for a day of open dialogue on government, payer, provider and patient needs.

On a mission to explore effective strategies for tech companies in the developing ehealth market, the Sudler Health + Technology Convergence will feature a variety of speakers and panel discussions. The first half of the day will focus on trends in patient advocacy, patient empowerment and technology with speakers that include Sachin Jain, a physician from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dallas Lawrence, the Chief Global Digital Strategist of Burston-Marsteller, as moderator.

Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH of the Harvard School of Public Health, will be a featured speaker for the physicians and technology discussion. His lecture ‘New Market and Policy Drivers for Accelerating HIT Deployment and Effective Use: Time to Fasten your Seatbelts’ will focus on ways to better engage physicians to improve outcomes. Elizabeth Boehm, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, will also address the shift from fee-based to collaborative and accountable care.

New ideas will converge in the afternoon working sessions on the reality of convergence in healthcare and opportunities for HIT growth. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with innovative healthcare and technology leaders to discuss and collaborate about possible strategies and solutions for today’s healthcare market.

Louisa Holland, Co-CEO S&H, The Americas, will deliver the closing comments, before the post conference cocktail and networking session.

Stay tuned at SBR Health for live updates, discussion and more.

SBR Health selected to participate in BluePrint Health IT Innovation Exchange Summit

SBR Health is BluePrint Health IT Finalist

SBR Health is chosen as a BluePrint Health IT finalist.

SBR Health is proud to be one of 10 finalists chosen from more than 40 applicants for the BluePrint Health IT Innovation Exchange Summit, an event dedicated to accelerating innovation and adoption of transformative, healthcare IT solutions nationwide. The summit will bring together cutting-edge, healthcare providers with innovative, early-stage healthcare information technology companies to showcase and accelerate eHealth innovation across the nation.

Modeled after speed dating, the event introduces technology companies and leading healthcare providers in short 15-minute meetings with the goal of creating the ideal match and fostering a pilot project. Participants start the day by attending seminars on how to foster a successful relationship. Following the meetings, attendees will participate in the preliminary round of 10 introductory sessions. In the afternoon, companies will engage in two longer meetings with the intention of outlining a framework for a potential project.

The SBR Health team is looking forward to connecting with Midwestern hospitals to help them find ways to leverage the benefits of telemedicine among their patient population. Make sure to follow us on Twitter as we engage with some of healthcare’s leading innovators at the summit.

TEDMED 2011

The TEDMED conference took place last week in San Diego, but it has taken me this long to digest all of the content and follow up on all the connections I made there. The general theme of the conference can be summed up in two sentences: There are amazing advances coming in medical technology. These may or may not make it through the FDA approval process in time to save your life.

This was one of the few conferences where it made sense to go to every session. A representative sampling:
•    Eythor Bender of Ekso Bionics demonstrated an exoskeleton that allowed a paraplegic to walk.
•    Daniel Kraft showing what medicine can learn from other fields such as aviation.
•    Calvin Harley of Telome Health describing how we might halt the aging process by regrowing the DNA on the end of your chromosomes. (A Russian researcher on aging cautioned me that you might not want to rush out and start gobbling down the “nutritional supplement” quite yet  – remember Vitamin E?)
•    Architech Michael Graves now in a wheel chair, describing his frustration with poorly designed hospital rooms,
•    Lance Armstrong describing the decisions he and his doctor needed to make in treating his cancer.
•    Quyen Nguyen of UC San Diego, showing a video of a fluorescent dye that binds to tumor cells to make them more visible during surgery.
•    Diana Nyad describing her attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida and her encounters with box jellyfish.
•    Paul Stamets on medicines derived from mushrooms.
•    Gabor Forgacs of Organovo demonstrating an inkjet printer that was modified to “print” organs from a supply of cells.
•    Yoav Medan of InSightec describing one of the breakthroughs that did get FDA approval: a device that uses focused ultrasound to do surgery without making an incision in the patient.
•     Mehmood Kahn, Chief Scientific Officer of PepsiCo arguing that we needed processed foods (albeit of higher quality) if we were to feed the earth’s seven billion inhabitants. (Although e-Patient Dave tweeted that this does not explain high fructose corn syrup.)
•    Dean Kamen describing his frustration in trying to get FDA clearance for a robotic arm he developed for war veterans.
•    Nate Ball, an engineer and beatbox artist demonstrating how he makes all those sounds. On stage. By having Dr. Nguyen thread fiber optics through his nose so we could see an image of his vocal cords as he made various sounds.
•     Charles Pel of Physcient describing a new model of retractor that uses force sensors to back-off before it damages bones or tissue.

Next year, the conference moves to Washington, DC. In a move that can only be described as audacious, Jay Walker plans to double the size of the conference and take on the DC establishment. If anyone has the enthusiasm and resources to do it, it would be Jay.

Check out more photos of the event here.