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.

 

 

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.

 

Blending mHealth and Telemedicine

The World Congress hosted three conferences in one space this week at the Colonnade here in Boston with a great pool of innovators and thought leaders in the mHealth and telemedicine space.

While the three conferences – mHealth, mHealth Innovation Exchange and the Leadership Summit on Telemedicine – were all unique in focus, I think they could have easily been combined into one conference. With discussions on the latest technologies and initiatives transforming healthcare today, it was hard to choose between attending an mHealth or telemedicine sessions, as they are really one in the same.

Alex Nason, Director of Telehealth at Johns Hopkins Medical, summarized the three conferences’ theme well. ‘It’s the connection to health service delivery that matters.’ Both mHealth and telemedicine are services and means for improving the quality and delivery of care. Connecting payers, providers with patients, we’re all in the ‘service’ of innovating care. And it’s a good service to be in.

In case you missed it, here are the highlights:

mHealth: 

-Consumer Trends for Mobile Solutions

-Building Scalable and Sustainable mHealth Behavior Change

-Joslin Everywhere Diabetes Mobile Health Initiative

-Connected Mobile Health Apps and Consumer Engagement

-Intersection of Social Media, Games and mHealth

-Mobile Monitoring for Chronic Conditions

-Global mHealth Perspectives and Challenges

Telemedicine Summit:

-Transitioning to Virtual Care Models

-Telemedicine Funding Opportunities and Current Initiatives

-Pediatric Specialist Care Delivery via Telemedicine

-TelePsychiatry

-Legal Requirements of Telemedicine

-Virtual Care Team Coordination

-Social Media and Telemedicine

-Prescribing via Telemedicine

iMedicine and Mobile Panel

SBR Health hosted a panel discussion at Boston’s first ever iMedicine and Mobile Summit on ‘Trends in Utilizing Mobile Televideo Technologies to Improve Healthcare Access.’

Studies have shown that successful use of real time communications such as televideo can profoundly benefit patients and doctors alike. Health care outcomes improve when truly collaborative communication takes place among doctors, specialists. However, until recently the specialized equipment, complexity and expensive network infrastructure required by video, as well as poor Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement policies made it impractical to utilize televideo technologies for the delivery of care unless the patient was a great distance from the doctor.

Now, changing reimbursement models and low-cost mobile based televideo technologies are making it easy and cost effective to utilize televideo in a wider array of patient and inter-clinician interactions. Hence, it is now practical to utilize televideo for a much larger population of patients who may not need to travel long distances but still be able to be better served if they could avoid traveling. With these types of applications, health care professionals would have simple efficient communications tools to increase access to specialists, raise the overall levels of patient care, and improve delivery of treatment.

Our featured panelists included Rick Hampton, Wireless Communications Manager at Partners HealthCare; John Moore, Founder and Managing Partner at Chilmark Research; Adam Strom, Director of Research and Design at WorldClinic; David Judge, Medical Director, Ambulatory Practice of the Future at Massachusetts General Hospital; and Shawn Farrell, Telemedicine and Telehealth Program Manager at Children’s Hospital Boston.  Chris Herot, CEO of SBR Health, served as moderator for the panel.

SBR Health Q&A: The mobile shift in healthcare

Everything is moving to mobile these days, and healthcare is no exception. Christopher Herot, co-founder and CEO of SBR Health, is a recognized business and technology leader who has spent years developing and evaluating video, mobile and real-time video communications solutions. In this one-on-one interview, Chris shares his thoughts and predictions for how mobile technology will transform the healthcare space and beyond. From how we buy care to keeping in touch with family, mobile’s intersection and influence on our daily lives is significant.

How have you seen this shift?

There was a time when every young ambitious professional had a day planner. The iPad is now the equivalent. It’s your phone, calendar, email, entertainment, and computer – your method of communication for everything. This has really transformed a number of industries. Retailing is now different. People can do comparison-shopping using their phone. It’s even changed travel to some degree. You can get your boarding pass on your phone and check into places on Foursquare. For the longest time, it looked like healthcare was not a tech-savvy field but this is quickly changing.

What role does mobile play in the healthcare space?

iPads are taking the medical world by storm. They’re just the right form factor for healthcare. Apple reimagined what you can do with a tablet and has provided for an entirely new experience. Doctors don’t want other tablets. They want the iPad.

Some thought early tablets failed in terms of usability based on size but Apple demonstrated it wasn’t just about size but more about the user experience. There’s something truly unique about being able to type medical information while looking at your patient. This increases physician-patient engagement.

What’s the benefit?

There’s proven clinical value. Tablets have given doctors better access to tests and other medical information. A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that iPads help doctors be more efficient at ordering tests and procedures for their patients. My thesis is that iPads allow physicians to do more in real time and make healthcare more convenient.

The real and long-term benefit of mobile technology is in bending the cost curve in healthcare. This goes beyond getting doctors to accept lower fees and cut down on unnecessary tests. The bulk of the cost is to get Americans to stop eating so many donuts. The way you make people healthier is to make it easier and convenient for people to see their doctor. This will drastically cut healthcare costs.

Why?

The demand for mobile reflects where we’re at as a society. The doctor is not always in his office ready to take your call, and so many of us are on the go. Being able to get access to the healthcare system wherever you are – work, home, out and about – is really critical. To make that work, we have to be able to see the patient and share what we see with other people. Tablets are small enough to be portable but also have real data on the screen.

How will this be adopted?

It will happen fastest where the payment model is evolving away from the fee for service. You’re seeing this with concierge practices. Once you make it easier for patients and doctors to do a virtual visit, I expect the adoption will expand to other parts of the world. There are places like the payers and insurance companies who see this as a way to improve healthcare delivery. You’ll see this first in places that have the luxury of not having to worry about restrictions. Concierge and post-acute follow up are prime examples.

SBR Health is developing the technology that will enable videoconferencing and real-time communications to benefit patients and doctors alike. Healthcare outcomes improve when collaborative communication that’s convenient takes place among doctors, specialists and patients, and we’re working to make it as simple and secure as possible.

This Week: SBR Health at the WHITv7.0 Conference

I’m onsite in Vienna, VA for two days attending the World Healthcare Innovation and Technology (WHIT) conference and thought I would share some highlights of the first day with our readers.

Todd Park, Chief Technology Officer, U.S. Department of Health and Services, kicked off the event, giving a fantastic, animated and passionate keynote on a confluence of market and health policy forces that have created an extraordinary environment for health innovation. I especially like his insightful remarks on how information liberation – new initiatives allowing patients to download and transfer their own data – is creating especially significant opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Vivian Funkhouser, principle of Health IT at Motorola, spoke about issues around managing the exploding number of devices to use in acute care settings. Her talk focused on the need to create scalable wireless infrastructures and multiple use devices.

Expanding on this topic, Brian Wells, an Associate Chief Information Officer for the University of Pennsylvania Health System talked about mobile device adoption within the health system and what they are doing to support the iPad is the device of choice. He asserted their users are overwhelmingly wanting iOS enabled applications – in fact, not one person has come to him to ask why applications were not being supported on Android or RIM devices. Brian also found that support issues for the iPad applications they have deployed are extremely low – iPad users generated .05 calls per user over 6 months. However, getting wider adoption of the devices is not without it’s challenges – one of the biggest issues he is facing is that their system just spent millions of dollars to put PCs in patient rooms for the physicians to use. So, it is still an uphill fit to convince leadership to purchase and deploy more mobile devices like the iPad. If he had it his way, Brian stated he would replace all the COWS (computers on wheels) with iPads!

In the afternoon, Will Yu, Special Assistant of Innovations and Research Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) spoke on how now is the best time to innovate in healthcare, as the market and incentives are aligned. He elaborated on how his office is attempting to create the ecosystem for their programs to be coordinated with healthcare innovator’s efforts, outlining their innovation framework which is based on communication, collaboration and support.

Closing the day with a well presented keynote, Paul Grundy, MD, the Global Director of Healthcare Transformation, IBM, spoke on new delivery models to drive down costs and improve care, focusing primarily on giving a very compelling argument for the Primary Care Medical Home model. He had perhaps one of the best and shortest definitions for a PCMH I have heard to date:

“A relationship based team with a project manager.”

One of the more poignant remarks he made to show how bad our current state of medical care coordination was that his cat is in a care registry so that no vaccinations missed, but his wife has to remember to get her own mammograms scheduled.

I’d be interested to hear your feedback on that last remark in the comments section.

That’s it for today – please check back tomorrow when I’ll report on some of the highlights for day two. –Peter Eggleston, Chief Marketing Officer SBR Health Inc.

The Maribel Foundation: LA Children’s Hospital and Telemedicine

Some may know her for her memorable characterization of Selena, others may remember her vast and ever changing music career, and most are just getting acquainted with Jennifer Lopez in the latest season of American Idol, but no matter how you know her, Jennifer Lopez, better known as J.Lo, is doing something worth remembering. Partnering up with her sister, Lynda, the pair founded the Maribel Foundation, their mission:

That’s why Lynda and I are working to create the Maribel Foundation. Our goal is to dramatically increase the availability of quality health care and health education for women and children, regardless of their ability to pay.

While this goal is no small task, they’ve taken it a step further and announced to launch a Telemedicine campaign, mainly in Los Angeles’ Children’s Hospital.

Jennifer and Lynda Lopez at the Telemedicine Launch in San Juan

Information from their Website:

The Foundation will work to expand the number of telemedicine clinics both domestically and abroad, increasing access to top quality pediatric care for the most serious cases. Telemedicine is a remarkable new healthcare delivery system that uses telecommunications technology to conduct medical diagnoses, consultations, treatments, transfers of data, education of physicians, and dissemination of public health alerts and/or emergency updates.

Simply stated, this technology allows patients located all over the world to receive access to care by the physicians at one of America’s top pediatric hospitals, the Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

Patients living in under-served and under-privileged areas, two groups that are especially vulnerable to inadequate healthcare, can greatly benefit from telemedicine.

Some of the potential benefits of telemedicine are as follows:

Access: Telemedicine can allow children with serious childhood diseases in other areas of the world to be examined, diagnosed, and/or treated by the top pediatric oncologists, hematologists, and pediatricians at the Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. Doctors can virtually give patient care to children in different parts of the world.
Quality: Telemedicine permits consultations to take place among the referring physician, the consulting physician, the patient, and the patient’s family through interactive video and medical equipment and instruments, with the added benefit of having critical patient information available on-line. Additionally, the physicians or other personnel at remote or under-served locations can be educated before or during the consultations with specialty physicians and other experts, increasing their ability to treat other similar cases in the future.
Cost: The travel cost of the patients for specialty care, the travel cost of the health care professionals for continuing education or consultation, the personnel / equipment cost for not having to keep specialty care facility in rural or under-served hospitals, and other costs can be either eliminated or reduced.
To learn more about their campaign, watch the video here: Maribel Foundation

SBR: Proud Sponsor of the AAP Pediatric Office of the Future

 

After attending the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibit earlier this month, we are proud to announce that SBR Health is a sponsor of the AAP Pediatric Office of the Future.

New for 2011: Pediatric specialists work in hospitals, in clinics, and on the go. This year the much expanded Pediatric Office of the Future (POF) exhibit is highlighting all 3 “offices”! In addition to our primary outpatient booth, we’re featuring the new “Hospital of the Future” booth showcasing hospital-related technologies for the high tech hospital “office.”

~AAP Pediatric Office of the Future

October 15-18, 2011, SBR Health attended the AAP National Conference in the Hospital of the Future, situated between the Hospital of the Future and the Tech Talk Theatre.

Here, SBR’s Chief Marketing Officer, Pete Eggleston and Inbound Marketing Specialist Jenna Antonelli set up the company’s demo, providing real-time video for preventing readmissions and increasing referrals.

The Tech Talk Theatre housed several speakers, including “Taking Your EHR Selection Process from Confusion-to-Confidence” and “Telemedicine and Robotics Innovation for Advancing Care Deliver”. 

Above, Thomson Reuters Pediatrics presents, “Neonatal and Pediatric Patient Safety – Focus on Drug Therapy and Parenteral Nutrition”. Below, Health Nuts Media attracted a large crowd during, “Animation, Health Literacy & the Engaged Patient”.

 

To learn more about the American Academy of Pediatrics Pediatric Office of the Future, visit here.