Transitioning from Traditional to E-Fax: How Healthcare Communications are Transforming Post-COVID

Telehealth After COVID-19: What's Next for the Healthcare Industry?
Michael Morgan, CEO of Updox

The majority of industries have decreased or eliminated their use of the traditional fax machine over the past decade, including aviation, retail, and even finance. While the healthcare industry is at the forefront of disease research and treatment, however, it is still heavily reliant on this aging technology. 

Traditional fax has become ubiquitous in healthcare. It worked for health systems for many years, but the overwhelming volume of patient data and paper documents the healthcare industry is now processing makes traditional faxing more challenging. In today’s environment, fax is no longer the most convenient, safe, or secure communications format but it is still an ingrained part of practice workflows. The good news is, there is no need to “axe the fax” in order to improve office communications and alleviate paper overload. By transitioning to electronic fax, healthcare providers can maintain their workflows and the benefits of fax, while incorporating it into their overall virtual communications strategy – further simplifying the business of healthcare. 

The Traditional Fax Challenge

The challenge with traditional fax isn’t new. In fact, in 2008 the Obama administration allocated nearly $30 billion to incentivize American hospitals and doctor offices to switch from paper to electronic systems. Since then, the industry has made small steps towards a more digitized system via fax servers and virtual patient communications such as secure text and broadcast messaging. While this solved part of the problem by making documents electronic and streamlining communications, it did not address the issue of inefficiency at its core, as practices are still printing, signing, and scanning paper documents. This inefficiency is causing a bottleneck when it comes to getting information transferred quickly, creates unnecessary costs for practices, and causes a lack of integration between health technologies across our healthcare system. 

A recent poll by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) found that 89% of healthcare organizations still use a fax machine, primarily to: 

  • Share patient records and lab and/or test results
  • Referrals
  • Payer communication
  • Pharmacy communication

This fragmented, outdated way of communication is not only inefficient and costly, it also impacts patient privacy and safety. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, one Texas health department received so many test results via fax in one day that it simply couldn’t keep up with the amount of paper being spit out – resulting in hundreds of confidential results being dumped on the floor. In addition, the vast differences between old and new technology being blended together are making it difficult to keep track of patient records, share data between practices or report to the government, and more, including important racial, ethnic and geographic data that the Trump administration required for COVID tests. In addition to these challenges, traditional fax eats up staff time that could instead be spent on patient care.  

Addressing Outdated Systems and Driving Transformation 

While on the surface the solution seems simple, actually addressing this challenge at its core is not as easy as it seems. Many providers and large health systems face barriers when it comes to implementing this technology, such as: 

  • Compatibility between systems 
  • Fear of competition and/or losing patients to other health systems if e-fax enables patients to easily share data with other physicians
  • Cost considerations
  • Regulatory issues around the transfer of data between providers/EHRs through electronic fax

Despite these challenges, the pandemic has highlighted the delayed, disjointed communications that exist within our healthcare system – and underscored the need for practices and health systems to adopt electronic fax technology. For example, a CNBC survey found that due to COVID-19 tests results coming in via fax in such large amounts, almost 40% of Americans had to wait more than three days for their results, which was too late to be clinically meaningful.  

It’s time to address this challenge industry-wide. Last year’s MGMA 2020 virtual conference theme, Rise Above, focused on giving providers actionable tools to navigate through the challenges COVID-19 has presented. The importance of virtual care solutions, including communications tools like electronic fax and forms, are unprecedented. Electronic fax technology can help alleviate the bottlenecks and inefficiencies that currently exist in healthcare. These solutions can: 

  • Reduce costs spent on traditional fax hardware, such as paper, ink, toner, etc.
  • Increase accessibility, allowing providers to view documents via mobile, etc.  at their convenience 
  • Improve practice workflow and efficiency, allowing practices to edit, organize, assign and complete patient forms online

Additionally, electronic fax should integrate seamlessly with other patient management solutions that practices are leveraging, such as video chat, SMS text, electronic forms, and a virtual waiting room, ultimately streamlining the entire patient experience.

Healthcare has transformed dramatically this year and will continue to do so — there’s a new expectation of patient care post-COVID. In order to improve patient communications, practice efficiency, system interoperability, and data sharing, practices must adopt an entire virtual care strategy, including electronic fax. Offering telehealth but still communicating via traditional fax will hold your practice back. It’s time for our healthcare system to ditch outdated systems and go completely paperless. This is how we will tap into the true power of the inbox, drive practice profitability and efficiency, and better serve patients. 


About Michael Morgan, CEO of Updox
With a successful track record in helping organizations use technology to transform the way healthcare is delivered, Mike has more than 25 years of healthcare leadership within software, behavioral health, and HIT organizations. Updox was named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in America for the past six consecutive years.


FCC Unveils 14 Initial Projects Selected for $100M Connected Care Pilot Program

FCC COVID-19 Telehealth Program Providers

What You Should Know:

– FCC announces initial 14 pilot project selected for $100M Connected Care Pilot Program that will support connected care service across the country and focus on low-income and veteran patients.


The Federal Communications
Commission (FCC)
today announced an initial set of 14 pilot projects with
over 150 treatment sites in 11 states that have been selected for the Connected
Care Pilot Program
.  A total of $26.6 million will be awarded to these
applicants for proposed projects to treat nearly half a million patients in
both urban and rural parts of the country. 


Connected Care Pilot Program Background

Overall, this Pilot Program will make available up to $100
million over a three-year period for selected pilot projects for qualifying
purchases necessary to provide connected care services, with a particular
emphasis on providing connected care services to low-income and veteran
patients.  

The Pilot
Program will use Universal Service Fund monies to help defray the costs of
connected care services for eligible health care providers, providing support
for 85% of the cost of eligible services and network equipment, which include:

1. patient
broadband Internet access services

2. health care
provider broadband data connections

3. other
connected care information services

4. certain
network equipment

These pilot projects will address a variety of critical
health issues such as high-risk pregnancy, mental health conditions, and opioid
dependency, among others. Here is the list initial list of healthcare providers
that were selected into the Pilot Program:

Banyan Community Health Center, Inc.,
Coral Gables, FL.
 
Banyan Community Health Center’s pilot project seeks $911,833 to provide
patient-based Internet-connected remote monitoring, video visits or consults,
and other diagnostics and services to low-income and veteran patients who are
suffering from chronic/long-term conditions, high-risk pregnancy, infectious
disease including COVID-19, mental health conditions, and opioid
dependency.  Banyan Community Health Center plans to serve an estimated
20,847 patients in Miami, Florida, 85% of which are low-income or veteran
patients.

Duke University Health System, Durham,
NC.
  Duke
University Health System’s pilot project seeks $1,464,759 to provide remote
patient monitoring and video visits or consults to a large number of low-income
patients suffering from heart failure, cancer, and infectious diseases. 
Duke University Health System’s pilot project plans to serve an estimated
16,000 patients in North Carolina, of which 25% are low-income.

Geisinger, consortium with sites in
Lewiston, PA; Danville, PA; Jersey Shore, PA; Bloomsburg, PA; Coal Township,
PA; and Wilkes-Barre, PA.
 
Geisinger’s pilot project seeks $1,739,100 in support to provide connected care
services and remote patient monitoring to low-income patients in rural
communities in Pennsylvania.  Geisinger’s pilot project would serve an
estimated 1,000 patients and would focus on chronic disease management and
high-risk pregnancies, while also treating infectious disease and behavioral
health conditions.  Through its pilot program, Geisinger plans to directly
connect all participating patients, 100% of whom are low-income, with broadband
Internet access service. 

Grady Health System, Atlanta, GA.  Grady Health System’s pilot
project seeks $635,596 to provide Internet connectivity to an estimated 1,896
primarily low-income and high-risk patients who are unable to utilize video
telemedicine services due to lack of a reliable network connection in
Atlanta.  The program will focus on using connected care services such as
patient remote monitoring and video visits/consults to treat vulnerable
patients with conditions such as congestive heart failure, COVID19,
hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and HIV. 

Intermountain Centers for Human
Development, consortium with sites in Casa Grande, AZ; Nogales, AZ; Coolidge,
AZ; and Eloy, AZ. 
 Intermountain
Centers for Human Development’s pilot project seeks $237,150 in support to
treat mental health conditions, opioid dependency, and other substance abuse
disorders.  The pilot project plans to serve 3,400 patients in Arizona,
including rural areas, of which 90% are low-income.

MA FQHC Telehealth Consortium,
consortium with 76 sites in Massachusetts.
  MA FQHC Telehealth Consortium’s pilot project
seeks $3,121,879 in support to provide mental health and substance abuse
disorder treatment through remote patient monitoring, video visits, and other
remote treatment to patients in Massachusetts, including significant numbers of
veterans and low-income patients.  The pilot project will expand access to
these services by leveraging program funding to increase bandwidth at its
sites, and to provide patients with mobile hotspots.  This project would
serve 75,000 patients through 76 federally qualified health centers in
Massachusetts, including rural areas, with an intended patient population of
61.5% low-income or veteran patients.

Mountain Valley Health Center,
consortium with 7 sites in Northeastern California.
  Mountain Valley Health Center’s
pilot project seeks $550,800 in support to provide telehealth capabilities and
in-home monitoring of patients with hypertension and diabetes.  Mountain
Valley’s pilot project plans to serve an estimated 200 patients in rural
Northeastern California, of which at least 24% will be low-income patients and
10% will be veteran patients.

Neighborhood Healthcare – Escondido,
Escondido, CA, Neighborhood Healthcare – Valley Parkway, Escondido, CA,
Neighborhood Healthcare – El Cajon, El Cajon, CA, Neighborhood Healthcare –
Temecula, Temecula, CA, Neighborhood Healthcare – Pauma Valley, Pauma Valley,
CA.
  Neighborhood
Healthcare’s pilot project seeks $129,744 to provide patient broadband access
to primarily low-income patients suffering from chronic and long-term
conditions (e.g., diabetes and high blood pressure).  Neighborhood
Healthcare’s collective project plans to serve an estimated 339 patients, 97%
of which are low-income patients, in five sites serving Riverside and San Diego
counties.

OCHIN, Inc., consortium with 15 sites in
Ohio, 16 sites in Oregon, and 13 sites in Washington.
  OCHIN’s pilot project seeks
$5,834,620 in support to lead a consortium of 44 providers in Ohio, Oregon, and
Washington, encompassing 8 federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) serving
rural, urban, and tribal communities.  OCHIN’s pilot project will provide
patient broadband Internet access service and wireless connections directly to
an estimated 3,450 low-income patients to access connected care services,
including video visits, patient-based Internet-connected patient monitoring,
and remote treatment and will deliver care to treat high-risk pregnancy,
maternal health conditions, mental health conditions, and chronic and long-term
conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. 

Phoebe Worth Medical Center – Camilla
Clinic, Camilla, GA; Phoebe Physicians Group Inc – PPC of Buena Vista, Buena
Vista, GA; Phoebe Physicians Group – Ellaville Primary Medicine Center,
Ellaville, GA; Phoebe Physicians dba Phoebe Family Medicine & Sports
Medicine, Americus, GA; Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, Albany, GA; Phoebe
Putney Memorial Hospital dba Phoebe Family Medicine – Sylvester, Sylvester, GA.
  The Phoebe Putney Health System
projects seek $673,200 to provide patient-based Internet-connected remote
monitoring, video visits, and remote treatment for low-income patients
suffering from chronic conditions or mental health conditions.  These projects
plan to serve an estimated 4,007 patients, approximately 1,000 of which will be
low-income patients in six sites serving southwest Georgia. 

Summit Pacific Medical Center, Elma, WA.  Summit Pacific Medical Center’s
pilot program seeks $169,977 in support to provide patient-based
Internet-connected remote monitoring, other monitoring services, video visits,
diagnostic imaging, remote treatment and other services for veterans and
low-income patients suffering from chronic conditions, infectious diseases,
mental health conditions, and opioid dependency.  Summit Pacific Medical
Center’s pilot project would serve an estimated 25 patients in Elma,
Washington, 100% of which would be low-income or veteran patients.

Temple University Hospital,
Philadelphia, PA.
 
Temple University Hospital’s pilot project seeks $4,254,250 to provide
patient-based Internet connected remote monitoring and video visits to
patients, including low-income patients, suffering from chronic/long-term
conditions and mental health conditions.  This pilot project plans to
serve an estimated 100,000 patients in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 45% of which
are low-income patients. 

University of Mississippi Medical
Center, Jackson, MS.
 
The University of Mississippi Medical Center’s (UMMC) pilot project seeks
$2,377,875 in support to provide broadband Internet access service to patients,
enabling remote patient monitoring technologies and ambulatory telehealth
visits to low-income patients suffering from chronic conditions or illnesses
requiring long-term care.  UMMC’s pilot project would impact an estimated
237,120 patients across Mississippi and serve up to 6,000 patients
directly.  Of these patients, UMMC estimates that 52% would be low-income.

University of Virginia Health System,
Charlottesville, VA. 
 The
University of Virginia (UVA) Health System’s pilot project seeks $4,462,500 in
support to expand the deployment of remote patient monitoring and telehealth
services to an estimated 17,000 patients across Virginia, nearly 30% of whom
will be low-income.  The UVA Health System pilot project will support
patient broadband and information services, including systems to capture,
transmit, and store patient data to allow remote patient monitoring, two-way
video, and patient scheduling. 

Behavioral Health Services Fueled Telehealth Adoption During Pandemic, Study Finds

Behavioral Health Services Fueled Telehealth Adoption During Pandemic, Study Finds

What You Should Know:

– Telehealth adoption for behavioral health services
jumped sharply during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown,
according to a new RAND Corporation study.


Telehealth adoption increased sharply during the first
months of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, with the approach being used more
often for behavioral health services than for
medical care, according to a new RAND Corporation study. Prior to the pandemic, patients
frequently were reluctant to use telehealth because it often meant seeing a provider
other than their own physician. According to researchers, sustaining the
ability to see one’s own doctor through telehealth may be critical to making
telehealth a permanent part of routine healthcare.

The study conducted between mid-March and
early May 2020 reveals telehealth was used by more than 40% of patients with a
chronic physical health condition and by more
than 50% of those with a behavioral health condition,
according to findings published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Overall,
almost half of the people who were undergoing treatment when the pandemic
shutdown began reported using some form of telemedicine.

Key Findings

RAND researchers examined
the increase in telehealth by surveying 2,052 adults who are a part of the RAND
American Life Panel, a nationally representative internet panel. The
questions about use of telehealth were part of a larger survey about life
during the pandemic that was fielded between May 1 and May 6.

Researchers found that the use of telehealth
for behavioral health conditions was lower
among women and among people over the age of 60. Use of telehealth also was
lower among Non-Hispanic Whites relative to Non-Hispanic Blacks and was lower
among those with less than a high school education relative to those with a
college degree.

When the pandemic began, nearly 40% of the Americans
surveyed were being treated for a chronic physical health condition, while 15%
were being treated for a behavioral health condition. Since the pandemic
started, 16% had considered seeking care for a new or recurrent condition.

The study found that among patients who were receiving
care when the pandemic began,  11% had
used telehealth that included video conferencing from the middle of March to
early May, a period of less than two months. In contrast, a survey conducted
with the same panel in 2019 found that fewer than 4% had ever used video
conferencing with a doctor.

Among people who used telehealth services, researchers
found that the use of video telehealth was less common for physical health care
(14% of patients) than for behavioral health care (30% of patients).

Lack of insurance was associated with lower telehealth
use for new conditions, while use of telehealth was more common in the
Northeast than other parts of the nation.

“While the increased use of telehealth was widespread, some groups of Americans reported using the services less often than others,” said Dr. Shira H. Fischer, the study’s lead author and a physician researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “If telehealth use is going to remain high, we need to ensure equity of access, particularly for behavioral health care where education, age and gender were all associated with levels of use.”

“There is a wide expectation that telehealth will continue after the pandemic ends. Lessons from the use of telehealth during this period should inform policy for the post-COVID-19 era,” Fischer said.

The Alderley Park Discovery Podcast: Life science skills, staffing and support

Episode two of the Alderley Park Discovery Podcast covers access to skills in the life sciences sector, with a focus on support for aspiring scientists and UK staffing trends.

In this instalment Dominic Tyer’s guests on the podcast are Sai Life Sciences’ head of global R&D Dean Edney, Joynes & Hunt’s managing director Steve Joynes and Dr Kath Mackay, managing director at Bruntwood SciTech’s Alderley Park.

Dr Mackay talks about why university connections are vital for a life science and tech cluster like Alderley Park and how the campus works to inspire the next generation of scientists.

From Dean Edney there’s a look at the expansion story of India-headquartered Sai Life Sciences and what the research development services company needed when it came to setting up its first European base of operations.

The podcast also features a rundown of recruitment trends in UK life sciences from Steve Joynes from specialist staffing solutions provider Joynes & Hunt. He discusses how recruitment has changed over the past decade and reveals some of the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic on staffing.

The Alderley Park Discovery Podcast, produced in partnership with pharmaphorum, presents perspectives on UK and global bioscience innovation trends, with input from leading experts at Alderley Park in the North West of England.

In episode one of the podcast Dr Mackay talked about the challenges of rapidly building capacity to test thousands of patients a day for coronavirus at the Alderley Park Lighthouse Lab.

Alderley Park, a development by Bruntwood SciTech, is the UK’s largest single-site life science campus and offers bioscience facilities for R&D-focussed life science companies at every stage of their lifecycle, from start-up to global corporate.

Episode two of the Alderley Park Discovery Podcast is available in the player below, where you can listen to it, download it to your computer or find – and subscribe to the series, and other pharmaphorum podcasts – in iTunesSpotifyacast and Stitcher.

 

The post The Alderley Park Discovery Podcast: Life science skills, staffing and support appeared first on .

12 Telehealth & Virtual Care Predictions and Trends for 2021 Roundup

Dr. Paul Hain, Chief Medical Officer of GoHealth

Telehealth is Here to Stay in 2021

Prior to the pandemic, telehealth was a limited ad-hoc service with geographic and provider restrictions. However, with both the pandemic restrictions on face to face interactions and a relaxation of governmental regulations, telehealth utilization has significantly increased from thousands of visits in a week to well over a million in the Medicare population. What we’ve learned is that telehealth allows patients, especially high-risk populations like seniors, to connect with their doctors in a safe and efficient way. Telehealth is valuable for many types of visits, mostly clearly ones that involve mental health or physical health issues that do not require a physical exam or procedure. It’s an efficient modality for both the member and provider.

With the growing popularity of telehealth services, we may see permanent changes in regulatory standards. Flexible regulatory standards, such as being able to use platforms like FaceTime or Skype, would lower the barrier to entry for providers to offer telehealth and also encourage adoption, especially among seniors. Second, it’s likely we’ll see an emergence of providers with aligned incentives around value, such as in many Medicare Advantage plans, trying very hard to encourage utilization with their members so that they get the right care at the right time. In theory, the shift towards value-based care will allow better care and lower costs than the traditional fee for service model. If we are able to evolve regulatory and payment environments, providers have an opportunity to grow these types of services into 2021 to improve patient wellness and health outcomes.


12 Telehealth & Virtual Care Predictions and Trends for 2021

Dr. Salvatore Viscomi, Chief Medical Officer, GoodCell

2021 will be the year of patient controlled-health

The COVID-19 pandemic brought the realities of a global-scale health event – and our general lack of preparedness to address it – to the forefront. People are now laser-focused on how they can protect themselves and their families against the next inevitable threat. On top of this, social distancing and isolation accelerated the development and use of digital health tools, from wellness trackers to telehealth and virtual care, most of which can be accessed from the comfort of our homes. The convergence of these two forces is poised to make 2021 the year for patient-controlled health, whereby health decisions are not dictated by – but rather made in consultation with – a healthcare provider, leveraging insights and data pulled from a variety of health technology tools at people’s fingertips.


Bullshit Metrics: Is Patient Engagement Real?

Anish Sebastian, CEO of Babyscripts

Beyond telemedicine

Telemedicine was the finger in the dyke at the beginning of pandemic panic, with healthcare providers grabbing whatever came to hand — encouraged by relaxed HIPAA regulations — to keep the dam from breaking. But as the dust settles, telemedicine is emerging as the commodity that it is, and value-add services are going to be the differentiating factors in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Offerings like remote patient monitoring and asynchronous communication, initially considered as “nice-to-haves,” are becoming standard offerings as healthcare providers see their value for continuous care beyond Covid.


Rise of the "Internet of Healthy Things"

Daniel Kivatinos, COO and Co-Founder of DrChrono

Telehealth visits are going to supersede in-person visits as time goes on.

Because of COVID-19, the world changed and Medicare and Medicaid, as well as other insurers, started paying out for telehealth visits. Telemedicine will continue to grow at a very quick rate, and verticals like mental health (psychology and psychiatry) and primary care fit perfectly into the telemedicine model, for tasks like administering prescription refills (ePrescribing) and ordering labs. Hyperlocal medical care will also move towards more of a telemedicine care team experience. Patients that are homebound families with young children or people that just recently had surgery can now get instant care when they need it. Location is less relevant because patients can see a provider from anywhere.


12 Telehealth & Virtual Care Predictions and Trends for 2021

Dennis McLaughlin VP of Omni Operations + Product at ibi

Virtual Healthcare is Here to Stay (House Calls are Back)

This new normal however is going to put significant pressure on the data support and servicing requirements to do it effectively. As more services are offered to patients outside of established clinical locations, it also means there will be more opportunity to collect data and a higher degree of dependence on interoperability. Providers are going to have to up their game from just providing and recording facts to passing on critical insight back into these interactions to maximize the benefits to the patient.


Sarahjane Sacchetti, CEO at Cleo

Virtual care (of all types) will become a lasting form of care: The vastly accelerated and broadened use of virtual care spurred by the pandemic will become permanent. Although it started with one-off check-ins or virtual mental health coaching, 2021 will see the continued rise in the use and efficacy of virtual care services once thought to be in-person only such as maternity, postpartum, pediatric, and even tutoring. Employers are taking notice of this shift with 32% indicating that expanded virtual health services are a top priority, and this number will quickly rise as employers look to offer flexible and convenient benefits in support of employees and to drive productivity.


12 Telehealth & Virtual Care Predictions and Trends for 2021

Omri Shor, CEO of Medisafe

Digital expansion: The pandemic has accelerated patient technology adoption, and innovation remains front-and-center for healthcare in 2021. Expect to see areas of telemedicine and digital health monitoring expand in new and novel ways, with increased uses in remote monitoring and behavioral health. CMS has approved telehealth for a number of new specialties and digital health tools continue to gain adoption among healthcare companies, drug makers, providers, and patients. 

Digital health companions will continue to become an important tool to monitor patients, provide support, and track behaviors – while remaining socially distant due to the pandemic.  Look for crossover between medical care, drug monitoring, and health and wellness – Apple 

Watch has already previewed this potential with heart rate and blood oxygen monitoring. Data output from devices will enable support to become more personalized and triggered by user behavior. 


Kelli Bravo, Vice President, Healthcare and Life Sciences, Pegasystems

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only changed and disrupted our lives, it has wreaked havoc on the entire healthcare industry at a scale we’ve never seen before. And it continues to alter almost every part of life across the globe. The way we access and receive healthcare has also changed as a result of social distancing requirements, patient concerns, provider availability, mobile capabilities, and newly implemented procedures at hospitals and healthcare facilities.

For example, hospitals and providers are postponing elective procedures again to help health systems prepare and reserve ICU beds amid the latest COVID-19 resurgence. While level of care is always important, in some areas, the inability to access a healthcare provider is equally concerning. And these challenges may become even more commonplace in the post-COVID-19 era. One significant transformation to help with the hurdle is telehealth, which went from a very small part of the care offering before the health crisis to one that is now a much more accepted way to access care.
As the rise in virtual health continues to serve consumers and provide a personalized and responsive care experience, healthcare consumers expect support services and care that are also fast and personalized – with digital apps, instant claims settlements, transparency, and advocacy. And to better help serve healthcare consumers, the industry has an opportunity to align with digital transformation that offers a personalized and responsive experience.


12 Telehealth & Virtual Care Predictions and Trends for 2021

Brooke LeVasseur, CEO of AristaMD

Issues pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to be front-and-center in 2021. Every available digital tool in the box will have to be employed to ensure patients with non-COVID related issues are not forgotten as we try to free up in-person space and resources for those who cannot get care in any other setting. Virtual front doors, patient/physician video and eConsults, which connect providers to collaborate electronically, will be part of a broadening continuum of care – ultimately aimed at optimizing every valuable resource we have.


12 Telehealth & Virtual Care Predictions and Trends for 2021

Bret Larsen, CEO and Co-Founder, eVisit

By the end of 2021, virtual care paths will be fairly ubiquitous across the continuum of care, from urgent care and EDs to specialty care, all to serve patients where they are – at home and on mobile devices. This will be made possible through virtualized end-to-end processes that integrate every step in patient care from scheduling, waiting rooms, intake and patient queuing, to interpretation services, referral management, e-prescribe, billing and analytics, and more.


12 Telehealth & Virtual Care Predictions and Trends for 2021

Laura Kreofsky, Vice President for Advisory & Telehealth for Pivot Point Consulting

2020 has been the year of rapid telehealth adoption and advancement due to the COVID pandemic. According to CDC reports, telehealth utilization spiked as much as 154% in late March compared to the same period in 2019. While usage has moderated, it’s clear telehealth is now an instrumental part of healthcare delivery. As provider organizations plan for telehealth in 2021 and beyond, we are going to have to expect and deliver a secure, scalable infrastructure, a streamlined patient experience and an approach that maximizes provider efficiency, all while seeing much-needed vendor consolidation.


12 Telehealth & Virtual Care Predictions and Trends for 2021

Jeff Lew, SVP of Product Management, Nextech

Earlier this year, CMS enacted new rules to provide practices with the flexibility they need to use telehealth solutions in response to COVID-19, during which patients also needed an alternative to simply visiting the office. This was the impetus to the accelerated acceptance of telehealth as a means to both give and receive care. Specialty practices, in particular, are seeing successful and positive patient experiences due to telehealth visits. Dermatology practices specifically standout and I expect the strong adoption will continue to grow and certainly be the “new normal.” In addition, innovative practices that have embraced this omni-channel approach to delivering care are also establishing this as a “new normal” by selectively using telehealth visits for certain types of encounters, such as post-op visits or triaging patients. This gives patients a choice and the added convenience that comes with it and, in some cases, increases patient volume for the practice.


2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

Teladoc Health and Livongo Merge

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

The combination of Teladoc Health and Livongo creates a
global leader in consumer-centered virtual care. The combined company is
positioned to execute quantified opportunities to drive revenue synergies of
$100 million by the end of the second year following the close, reaching $500
million on a run-rate basis by 2025.

Price: $18.5B in value based on each share of Livongo
will be exchanged for 0.5920x shares of Teladoc Health plus cash consideration
of $11.33 for each Livongo share.


Siemens Healthineers Acquires Varian Medical

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

On August 2nd, Siemens Healthineers acquired
Varian Medical for $16.4B, with the deal expected to close in 2021. Varian is a
global specialist in the field of cancer care, providing solutions especially
in radiation oncology and related software, including technologies such as
artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analysis. In fiscal year 2019,
the company generated $3.2 billion in revenues with an adjusted operating
margin of about 17%. The company currently has about 10,000 employees
worldwide.

Price: $16.4 billion in an all-cash transaction.


Gainwell to Acquire HMS for $3.4B in Cash

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

Veritas Capital (“Veritas”)-backed Gainwell Technologies (“Gainwell”),
a leading provider of solutions that are vital to the administration and
operations of health and human services programs, today announced that they
have entered into a definitive agreement whereby Gainwell will acquire HMS, a technology, analytics and engagement
solutions provider helping organizations reduce costs and improve health
outcomes.

Price: $3.4 billion in cash.


Philips Acquires Remote Cardiac Monitoring BioTelemetry for $2.8B

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

Philips acquires BioTelemetry, a U.S. provider of remote
cardiac diagnostics and monitoring for $72.00 per share for an implied
enterprise value of $2.8 billion (approx. EUR 2.3 billion). With $439M in
revenue in 2019, BioTelemetry annually monitors over 1 million cardiac patients
remotely; its portfolio includes wearable heart monitors, AI-based data
analytics, and services.

Price: $2.8B ($72 per share), to be paid in cash upon
completion.


Hims & Hers Merges with Oaktree Acquisition Corp to Go Public on NYSE

Telehealth company Hims & Hers and Oaktree Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merge to go public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol “HIMS.” The merger will enable further investment in growth and new product categories that will accelerate Hims & Hers’ plan to become the digital front door to the healthcare system

Price: The business combination values the combined
company at an enterprise value of approximately $1.6 billion and is expected to
deliver up to $280 million of cash to the combined company through the
contribution of up to $205 million of cash.


SPAC Merges with 2 Telehealth Companies to Form Public
Digital Health Company in $1.35B Deal

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

Blank check acquisition company GigCapital2 agreed to merge with Cloudbreak Health, LLC, a unified telemedicine and video medical interpretation solutions provider, and UpHealth Holdings, Inc., one of the largest national and international digital healthcare providers to form a combined digital health company. 

Price: The merger deal is worth $1.35 billion, including
debt.


WellSky Acquires CarePort Health from Allscripts for
$1.35B

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

WellSky, global health, and community care technology company, announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Allscripts to acquire CarePort Health (“CarePort”), a Boston, MA-based care coordination software company that connects acute and post-acute providers and payers.

Price: $1.35 billion represents a multiple of greater
than 13 times CarePort’s revenue over the trailing 12 months, and approximately
21 times CarePort’s non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA over the trailing 12 months.


Waystar Acquires Medicare RCM Company eSolutions

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

On September 13th, revenue cycle management
provider Waystar acquires eSolutions, a provider of Medicare and Multi-Payer revenue
cycle management, workflow automation, and data analytics tools. The
acquisition creates the first unified healthcare payments platform with both
commercial and government payer connectivity, resulting in greater value for
providers.

Price: $1.3 billion valuation


Radiology Partners Acquires MEDNAX Radiology Solutions

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

Radiology Partners (RP), a radiology practice in the U.S., announced a definitive agreement to acquire MEDNAX Radiology Solutions, a division of MEDNAX, Inc. for an enterprise value of approximately $885 million. The acquisition is expected to add more than 800 radiologists to RP’s existing practice of 1,600 radiologists. MEDNAX Radiology Solutions consists of more than 300 onsite radiologists, who primarily serve patients in Connecticut, Florida, Nevada, Tennessee, and Texas, and more than 500 teleradiologists, who serve patients in all 50 states.

Price: $885M


PointClickCare Acquires Collective Medical

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

PointClickCare Technologies, a leader in senior care technology with a network of more than 21,000 skilled nursing facilities, senior living communities, and home health agencies, today announced its intent to acquire Collective Medical, a Salt Lake City, a UT-based leading network-enabled platform for real-time cross-continuum care coordination for $650M. Together, PointClickCare and Collective Medical will provide diverse care teams across the continuum of acute, ambulatory, and post-acute care with point-of-care access to deep, real-time patient insights at any stage of a patient’s healthcare journey, enabling better decision making and improved clinical outcomes at a lower cost.

Price: $650M


Teladoc Health Acquires Virtual Care Platform InTouch
Health

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

Teladoc Health acquires InTouch Health, the leading provider of enterprise telehealth solutions for hospitals and health systems for $600M. The acquisition establishes Teladoc Health as the only virtual care provider covering the full range of acuity – from critical to chronic to everyday care – through a single solution across all sites of care including home, pharmacy, retail, physician office, ambulance, and more.

Price: $600M consisting of approximately $150 million
in cash and $450 million of Teladoc Health common stock.


AMN Healthcare Acquires VRI Provider Stratus Video

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

AMN Healthcare Services, Inc. acquires Stratus Video, a leading provider of video remote language interpretation services for the healthcare industry. The acquisition will help AMN Healthcare expand in the virtual workforce, patient care arena, and quality medical interpretation services delivered through a secure communications platform.

Price: $475M


CarepathRx Acquires Pharmacy Operations of Chartwell from
UPMC

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

CarepathRx, a leader in pharmacy and medication management
solutions for vulnerable and chronically ill patients, announced today a
partnership with UPMC’s Chartwell subsidiary that will expand patient access to
innovative specialty pharmacy and home infusion services. Under the $400M
landmark agreement, CarepathRx will acquire the
management services organization responsible for the operational and strategic
management of Chartwell while UPMC becomes a strategic investor in CarepathRx. 

Price: $400M


Cerner to Acquire Health Division of Kantar for $375M in
Cash

Cerner announces it will acquire Kantar Health, a leading
data, analytics, and real-world evidence and commercial research consultancy
serving the life science and health care industry.

This acquisition is expected to allow Cerner’s Learning
Health Network client consortium and health systems with more opportunities to
directly engage with life sciences for funded research studies. The acquisition
is expected to close during the first half of 2021.

Price: $375M


Cerner Sells Off Parts of Healthcare IT Business in
Germany and Spain

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

Cerner sells off parts of healthcare IT business in Germany and Spain to Germany company CompuGroup Medical, reflecting the company-wide transformation focused on improved operating efficiencies, enhanced client focus, a refined growth strategy, and a sharpened approach to portfolio management.

Price: EUR 225 million ($247.5M USD)


CompuGroup Medical Acquires eMDs for $240M

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

CompuGroup Medical (CGM) acquires eMDs, Inc. (eMDs), a
leading provider of healthcare IT with a focus on doctors’ practices in the US,
reaching an attractive size in the biggest healthcare market worldwide. With
this acquisition, the US subsidiary of CGM significantly broadens its position
and will become the top 4 providers in the market for Ambulatory Information
Systems in the US.

Price: $240M (equal to approx. EUR 203 million)


Change Healthcare Buys Back Pharmacy Network

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

Change
Healthcare
 buys
back
 pharmacy unit eRx Network
(“eRx”),
 a leading provider of comprehensive, innovative, and secure
data-driven solutions for pharmacies. eRx generated approximately $67M in
annual revenue for the twelve-month period ended February 29, 2020. The
transaction supports Change Healthcare’s commitment to focus on and invest in
core aspects of the business to fuel long-term growth and advance innovation.

Price: $212.9M plus cash on the balance sheet.


Walmart Acquires Medication Management Platform CareZone

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

Walmart acquires CareZone, a San Francisco, CA-based smartphone
service for managing chronic health conditions for reportedly $200M. By
working with a network of pharmacy partners, CareZone’s concierge services
assist consumers in getting their prescription medications organized and
delivered to their doorstep, making pharmacies more accessible to individuals
and families who may be homebound or reside in rural locations.

Price: $200M


Verisk Acquires MSP Compliance Provider Franco Signor

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

Verisk, a data
analytics provider, announced today that it has acquired Franco Signor, a Medicare Secondary Payer
(MSP) service provider to America’s largest insurance carriers and employers.
As part of the acquisition, Franco Signor will become part of Verisk’s Claims
Partners business, a leading provider of MSP compliance and other analytic
claim services. Claims Partners and Franco Signor will be combining forces to
provide the single best resource for Medicare compliance. 

Price: $160M


Rubicon Technology Partners Acquires Central Logic

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

Private equity firm Rubicon Technology Partners acquires
Central Logic, a provider of patient orchestration and tools to accelerate
access to care for healthcare organizations. Rubicon will be aggressively driving Central Logic’s
growth with additional cash investments into the business, with a focus
on product innovation, sales expansion, delivery and customer support, and
the pursuit of acquisition opportunities.

Price: $110M – $125 million, according to sources


J&J and medical device innovation: the pharmaphorum podcast

In episode 27 of the pharmaphorum podcast I’m joined by Erin McEachren, who’s EU regional vice president at J&J Surgical Vision.

She talks about her priorities at J&J – having joined the company six months ago, the current state of the medical devices sector and some of the trends she’s keeping a close eye on.

Like pretty much every episode I’ve recorded since March this year the coronavirus features, and Erin tells me how she and her company have fared during the COVID-19 pandemic

There’s also time to hear about her time on the Canadian national skiing team and how competing at an elite level informed her subsequent business career.

You can listen to episode 27 of the pharmaphorum podcast in the player below, download the episode to your computer or find it – and subscribe to the rest of the series in iTunes, Spotify, acast, Stitcher and Podbean.

 

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Tay-Sachs and rare disease registries – the Health Heroes podcast

Episode four of Kantar Health’s Health Heroes podcast tackles pharma’s rare disease challenges, the role of patient registries and hears a moving story about the rare genetic disorder Tay-Sachs disease.

Joining me for this instalment of Health Heroes are Geneviève Bonnélye-Fesnien, global head of real-world evidence, research and consulting at Kantar Health, and Dan Lewi, co-founder of The Cure & Action for Tay-Sachs (or CATS) Foundation.

Dan’s eldest daughter Amelie was diagnosed with Tay-Sachs in 2011 at 15 months of age and he shares the emotional story of caring for her and how that led to setting up The CATS Foundation.

This episode of the podcast also looks at how the GM2 Disease Registry, managed by The CATS Foundation with support from Kantar Health, and it will help both patients and the pharma companies working on treatments for them.

The podcast finishes up with an overview from Geneviève on the current outlook for rare diseases.

The Health Heroes podcast series aims to inform and educate life sciences companies on ways for getting closer to patients to help drive improved health outcomes.

Previous episodes have covered the impact of a rare disease, learning from China’s COVID-19 experience and the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on mental health in the US.

 

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As Telehealth Surges, Are Seniors Being Left Behind?

As Telehealth Surges, Are Seniors Being Left Behind?
Anne Davis, Director of Quality Programs & Medicare Strategy at HMS

A global health crisis has thrust us into a scenario in which lives quite literally depend on the ability to virtually connect. Telehealth has rapidly emerged as a vital tool, enabling continuity of care, allowing vulnerable individuals to access their physician from home, and freeing up resources for providers to treat the most critical patients. The acceptance of telehealth and expansion of covered services for the senior population demonstrate that this technology will endure long after COVID-19 subsides. 

Prior to the pandemic, just 11% of Americans utilized telehealth compared to 46% so far this year, and virtual healthcare interactions are expected to top 1 billion by year’s end. While the technology has been a life-saver for many, usage depends heavily on the availability of audio-video capabilities, internet access, and technological prowess – potentially leaving vulnerable patients behind.

Seniors Face Physical, Technical and Socioeconomic Barriers to Telehealth

Despite telehealth’s surge, there is growing concern that the rapid shift to digitally delivered care is leaving seniors behind. Telehealth is not inherently accessible for all and with many practices transitioning appointments online, it threatens to cut older adults off from receiving crucial medical care. This is a significant concern, considering older adults account for one-quarter of physician office visits in the United States and often manage multiple conditions and medications, and have a higher rate of disability. This puts an already vulnerable population at a higher risk of severe complications from COVID-19.

Research published recently in JAMA Internal Medicine found that more than a third of adults over age 65 face potential difficulties accessing their doctor through telehealth. Obstacles include familiarity using mobile devices, troubleshooting technical issues that arise, managing hearing or vision impairments, and dealing with cognitive issues like dementia. Many of these difficulties stem from the natural aging process; it is imperative for provider organizations employing telehealth and telehealth vendors to improve offerings that consider vision, hearing, and speaking loss for this population. 

While barriers associated with aging are a key factor within the senior population, perhaps the greatest challenges in accessing telehealth are socioeconomic. The rapid shift to digital delivery of care may have left marginalized populations without access to the technological tools needed to access care digitally, such as high-speed internet, a smartphone or a computer.

According to the JAMA study, low-income individuals living in remote or rural locations faced the greatest challenges in accessing telehealth. A second JAMA study, also released this summer indicated that “the proportion of Medicare beneficiaries with digital access was lower among those who were 85 or older, were widowed, had a high school education or less, were Black or Hispanic, received Medicaid, or had a disability.”

These socioeconomic factors are systemic issues that existed prior to the pandemic, and the crisis-driven acceleration of telehealth has magnified these pre-existing challenges and widened racial and class-based disparities. Recent initiatives at the federal level, such as the FCC’s rural telehealth expansion task force, are a step in the right direction, though more sustained action is needed to address additional socioeconomic challenges that are deeply rooted within the healthcare system.   

Fortunately, Telehealth Hurdles Can Be Overcome

Recognizing that telehealth isn’t a “one-size fits all” solution is the first step towards addressing the barriers that disproportionately impact seniors and work is needed on multiple levels. Telemedicine consults are impossible without access to the internet, so the first step is to provide and expand access to broadband and internet-connected devices. With more than 15% of the country’s population living in rural areas, expanding broadband access for these individuals is especially crucial. In addition, older adults in community-based living environments need greater access to public wi-fi networks. 

Access to mobile and other internet-connected devices is also essential. Products designed with large fonts and icons, closed captioning, and easy set-up procedures may be easier for older adults to use. For example, GrandPad is a tablet designed specifically for seniors and has an intuitive interface that includes basic video calling, enabling seniors to virtually connect with their caregivers.

To address affordability, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) allowed for mid-year benefit changes in 2020 to allow for payment or provision of mobile devices for telehealth. Many Medicare Advantage organizations are enhancing plans’ provisions of telehealth coverage and devices for 2021.

In addition to increasing access to broadband and internet-connected devices, providing seniors with proper educational resources is another crucial step. Even if older adults are open to using technology for telehealth visits, many will need additional training. Healthcare organizations may want to connect older patients with community-based technology training programs. Some programs take a multi-generational approach, pairing younger instructors with older students.

For example, Papa is an on-demand service that pairs older adults with younger ‘Papa Pals’ who provide companionship and assistance with tasks such as setting up a new smartphone or tablet. 

From a socioeconomic perspective, careful consideration is needed to address the concerns that telehealth may reinforce systemic biases and widen health disparities. Providers may be less conscious of systemic bias toward patients based on race, ethnicity, or educational status.

In turn, providers must address implicit bias head-on, such as offering workplace training and incorporating evidence-based tools to adequately measure and address health disparities. This includes pushing for policies that enable widespread broadband access funding to better connect communities in need. 

Health plans can support expanded access to care through benefit design, reducing costs for plan members. To match members and patients with the right resources and assistance, health plans and providers should launch outreach campaigns that are segmented by demographic group. Outreach initiatives could include assessments to determine each person’s ability and comfort level with telehealth. 

The Path Forward 

Without question, telehealth is playing a central role in delivering care during the current pandemic, and many of its long-touted benefits have been accentuated by the current demand. Telehealth, along with other digital monitoring technologies, have the potential to address several barriers to care for seniors and other vulnerable populations for whom access to in-person care may not be viable, such as those based in remote locations or with mobility issues.

In the post-pandemic era, telehealth can provide greater access and convenience, but if not implemented carefully, the permanent expansion of telehealth may worsen health disparities. Careful consideration and collaboration will be essential in embracing the value of telehealth while mitigating its inherent risks. 

If implemented correctly, telehealth can provide continued access to care for our vulnerable aging population and can significantly improve care as well. Enhancing the ability to connect with healthcare providers anytime, anywhere can give seniors the freedom to gracefully age in place.


About Anne Davis

Anne Davis is the Director of Quality Programs & Medicare Strategy at HMS, a healthcare technology, analytics, and engagement solutions company, where she’s focused on the company’s Population Health Management product portfolio.

Powered by Doctor on Demand, ArcBest Rolls Out Virtual Primary Care Health Plan to its 13k Employees

Powered by Doctor on Demand, ArcBest Rolls Out Virtual Primary Care Health Plan to its 13k Employees

What You Should Know:

– Publicly traded logistics company ArcBest announced its
deal with Doctor On Demand to introduce its virtual-first health plan to its
13,000 employees, who are largely “essential workers” as long-haul
truckers.

– Employees appreciated the convenience and safety of 24/7 virtual care – from their homes, from the road – and ArcBest is now doubling down on virtual care for 2021 – and offering a holistic, virtual-first primary care health plan – one where patients see the same PCP time and time again virtually and can receive many of the same services virtually that they’d typically receive in-person.


Doctor
On Demand
, the nation’s leading virtual care provider,
and ArcBest, a
multibillion-dollar leader in supply chain logistics, announced a partnership
to offer a new Virtual Primary Care health plan benefit to its employees and
their dependents nationwide. The partnership expands on the existing urgent
care and behavioral health services that Doctor On Demand has been providing to
ArcBest since 2017.

Virtual Primary Care Benefit

ArcBest is getting creative in how they deliver healthcare benefits to their thousands of field employees – many of whom are on the road or reside in rural areas throughout the country. As the pandemic hit, it became increasingly difficult or unsafe to seek in-person medical or mental health care, so ArcBest promoted the use of its telemedicine offering of urgent care and mental healthcare.

The new Virtual Primary Care benefit will be available to all 8,000 members who are covered under ArcBest’s medical plan starting December 1st. This benefit comes at a critical time as COVID-19 cases are spiking again, and as the country simultaneously heads into cold and flu season. As a provider of essential freight and logistics services, ArcBest has a large field employee population that operates 24/7, making it challenging to access routine in-person care.

Virtual Primary Care Improves Access to Care

ArcBest believes that investing in this new virtual health
plan upfront will have a major impact on employees’ health long term –
promoting preventative healthcare and driving down long-term costs associated
with employees waiting until their chronic back pain or chronic disease
warrants more costly interventions.

“At ArcBest, we have a unique set of healthcare benefit needs, and Doctor On Demand’s existing urgent and behavioral health care services have been invaluable, especially this year,” said Rich Krutsch, Vice President, People Services at ArcBest. “The pandemic has also prompted us to double-down on our investments in virtual care, and we’re excited to expand our program with Doctor On Demand to include much more holistic, integrated virtual care for our employees.” 

Employees Can Select Primary Care Doctor Through Doctor
on Demand

Eligible ArcBest employees and their dependents will now be able to select a primary care provider through Doctor On Demand and access a comprehensive set of services to support whole-person health, including preventive wellness check-ups, vaccination referrals, nutrition consultations, chronic condition management, and more. Additionally, members are able to continue to see the same physician over time, allowing them to build a consistent, trusted relationship via video.

Virtual Engagement During COVID Pushes Paradigm Shift for Physician Training and Patient Care

Virtual engagement during COVID pushes paradigm shift for physician training and patient care
Shalini Shah, MD is Vice-Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Care, and Enterprise Director of Pain Services, UC Irvine Health

The dominant presence of COVID-19 has not meant the absence of cancer, ear infections, heart attacks, chronic pain, or other illnesses that need attention and care. Physicians have continued treatment for all types of maladies, and physician training has continued as well. But this treatment and this training look much different these days. Despite the challenges that came with major COVID shutdowns and changing requirements, the healthcare system and patients have been both creative and resilient in finding robust “temporary” solutions to these challenges. It is now looking like some of these COVID-era transitional steps will be preserved and play a lasting role in the future of medical education and telemedicine. What must be sacrificed to reap the benefits of these new protocols?

The rapid adoption of technology and virtual engagement tools has been both impressive and interesting to watch – Zoom meetings between medical association boards of directors, FaceTime calls between isolated patients and their family members at home, telehealth phone appointments with family practice physicians, or virtual medical conferences through Webex – the increasing reliance on these tools has pushed boundaries and exposed both opportunities and challenges with technology use for the future of healthcare.

As COVID-19 has significantly accelerated the feasibility and acceptance of telehealth care by physicians, patients, and payors, we now see healthcare systems navigating in real-time the complex issues with cybersecurity and patient privacy. Due to waivers, everyday technologies can be utilized right now, including FaceTime, Skype, Facebook Messenger video chat, Google Hangouts, and Zoom, but new regulatory guidance may be needed to develop safe, secure, and patient-friendly telehealth applications for the future. Cyber-security, already an important priority in the healthcare information space, is going to become that much more essential as doctor’s offices and clinics implement even more telehealth protocols faster than they ever would have normally planned or budgeted for.

These changes in practice and patient care have also impacted how controlled substances are prescribed. The Drug Enforcement Agency has modified policies to allow for the remote prescribing of controlled substances during the pandemic. Online counseling, informed consent, and follow-up with patients can be done in a virtual setting. Pill counts can be done in a video call and patients can still have their questions answered regarding their pain therapy, although it is likely that after the crisis, prescribing certain controlled substances may return to in-person visits.   It is important that the regulatory climate continues to evolve at the pace needed to address the changing needs and realities of telehealth in the time of COVID.

While we have all become more comfortable on telehealth platforms, there continues to be an important role for in-person visits. Patients may appreciate the convenience of telemedicine; however, they must understand that it can limit a physician’s ability to perform a thorough examination and possibly reduce the chances of a physician detecting an unexpected complication or condition. 

Moving forward, I expect there will be much greater reliance on telehealth strategies even post-COVID, but it will always have to be balanced with old-fashioned office visits.

Residency training has also experienced a profound shift this year. Conventional teaching approaches have either been cut back or have been canceled due to COVID risks, and reduced access to personal protective equipment (PPE) has limited the amount of time spent with patients being cared for during residency and fellowship programs. But we can’t stop training for the next generation of physicians or providing quality Continuing Medical Education (CME) for practicing physicians. E-learning techniques, such as webinars and online skills training, certainly play a role – and these may offer ways to actually enhance cross-departmental or multidisciplinary collaborative educational sessions. E-learning may be more cost-effective and easier to participate in than traveling to conferences or symposia, but the hands-on learning and deep discussions that can occur in breakout sessions or clinical training modules will need to be replaced somehow. And there must be careful vetting of online content in order to avoid a proliferation of commercially biased information, plagiarized materials, or simply false information. As we all adjust to new settings and styles for learning, there must be purposeful strategies to ensure online lectures are still supported with opportunities for learning from direct patient contact and collegial support.

Despite these concerns and challenges, new models for CME activities actually pose a great opportunity for increased access, cost-effectiveness, and practicality for busy clinicians.

Even before the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed, technological innovation had already begun to change education, healthcare, and even social relationships. The COVID-19 crisis has simply accelerated the drive and interest in these new tools. But while the technological tools and platforms to a large extent existed years before COVID-19, they have never been used as purposefully, as rapidly, or with such intentionality as they are being used now.

I am sure the shift toward technology and virtual engagement in medicine will not go away when we finally get past the COVID-19 crisis. There will likely be lasting changes with the reliance on distance-medicine techniques for both patient care and physician training. But we must keep a close eye on regulatory frameworks that need to be updated, and make extra efforts to build and maintain patient-physician relationships.


About Shalini Shah, MD

Shalini Shah, MD is Vice-Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Care, and Enterprise Director of Pain Services, UC Irvine Health.  Dr. Shah completed her residency in Anesthesiology from NYP-Cornell University and a combined fellowship in Adult and Pediatric Chronic Pain at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess and Children’s Hospital of Boston, Harvard Medical School. 

NLP is Raising the Bar on Accurate Detection of Adverse Drug Events

NLP is Raising the Bar on Accurate Detection of Adverse Drug Events
 David Talby, CTO, John Snow Labs

Each year, Adverse Drug Events (ADE) account for nearly 700,000 emergency department visits and 100,000 hospitalizations in the US alone. Nearly 5 percent of hospitalized patients experience an ADE, making them one of the most common types of inpatient errors. What’s more, many of these instances are hard to discover because they are never reported. In fact, the median under-reporting rate in one meta-analysis of 37 studies was 94 percent. This is especially problematic given the negative consequences, which include significant pain, suffering, and premature death.

While healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies conduct clinical trials to discover adverse reactions before selling their products, they are typically limited in numbers. This makes post-market drug safety monitoring essential to help discover ADE after the drugs are in use in medical settings. Fortunately, the advent of electronic health records (EHR) and natural language processing (NLP) solutions have made it possible to more effectively and accurately detect these prevalent adverse events, decreasing their likelihood and reducing their impact. 

Not only is this important for patient safety, but also from a business standpoint. Pharmaceutical companies are legally required to report adverse events – whether they find out about them from patient phone calls, social media, sales conversations with doctors, reports from hospitals, or any other channel. As you can imagine, this would be a very manual and tedious task without the computing power of NLP – and likely an unintentionally inaccurate one, too. 

The numbers reflect the importance of automated NLP technology, too: the global NLP in healthcare and life sciences market size is forecasted to grow from $1.5 billion in 2020 to $3.7 billion by 2025, more than doubling in the next five years. The adoption of prevalent cloud-based NLP solutions is a major growth factor here. In fact, 77 percent of respondents from a recent NLP survey indicated that they use ​at least one​ of the four major NLP cloud providers, Google is the most used. But, despite their popularity, respondents cited cost and accuracy as key challenges faced when using cloud-based solutions for NLP.

It goes without saying that accuracy is vital when it comes to matters as significant as predicting adverse reactions to medications, and data scientists agree. The same survey found that more than 40 percent of all respondents cited accuracy as the most important criteria they use to evaluate NLP solutions, and a quarter of respondents cited accuracy as the main criteria they used when evaluating NLP cloud services. Accuracy for domain-specific NLP problems (like healthcare) is a challenge for cloud providers, who only provide pre-trained models with limited training and tuning capabilities. This presents some big challenges for users for several reasons. 

Human language very contexts- and domain-specific, making it especially painful when a model is trained for general uses of words but does not understand how to recognize or disambiguate terms-of-art for a specific domain. In this case, speech-to-text services for video transcripts from a DevOps conference might identify the word “doctor” for the name “Docker,” which degrades the accuracy of the technology. Such errors may be acceptable when applying AI to marketing or online gaming, but not for detecting ADEs. 

In contrast, models have to be trained on medical terms and understand grammatical concepts, such as negation and conjunction. Take, for example, a patient saying, “I feel a bit drowsy with some blurred vision, but am having no gastric problems.” To be effective, models have to be able to relate the adverse events to the patient and specific medication that caused the aforementioned symptoms. This can be tricky because as the previous example sentence illustrates, the medication is not mentioned, so the model needs to correctly infer it from the paragraphs around it.

This gets even more complex, given the need for collecting ADE-related terms from various resources that are not composed in a structured manner. This could include a tweet, news story, transcripts or CRM notes of calls between a doctor and a pharmaceutical sales representative, or clinical trial reports. Mining large volumes of data from these sources have the power to expose serious or unknown consequences that can help detect these reactions. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for this, new enhancements in NLP capabilities are helping to improve this significantly. 

Advances in areas such as Named Entity Recognition (NER) and Classification, specifically, are making it easier to achieve more timely and accurate results. ADE NER models enable data scientists to extract ADE and drug entities from a given text, and ADE classifiers are trained to automatically decide if a given sentence is, in fact, a description of an ADE. The combination of NER and classifier and the availability of pre-trained clinical pipeline for ADE tasks in NLP libraries can save users from building such models and pipelines from scratch, and put them into production immediately. 

In some cases, the technology is pre-trained with tuned Clinical BioBERT embeddings, the most effective contextual language model in the clinical domain today. This makes these models more accurate than ever – improving on the latest state-of-the-art research results on standard benchmarks. ADE NER models can be trained on different embeddings, enabling users to customize the system based on the desired tradeoff between available compute power and accuracy. Solutions like this are now available in hundreds of pre-trained pipelines for multiple languages, enabling a global impact.

As we patiently await a vaccine for the deadly Coronavirus, there have been few times in history in which understanding drug reactions are more vital to global health than now. Using NLP to help monitor reactions to drug events is an effective way to identify and act on adverse reactions earlier, save healthcare organizations money, and ultimately make our healthcare system safer for patients and practitioners.


About David Talby

David Talby, Ph.D., MBA, is the CTO of John Snow Labs. He has spent his career making AI, big data, and data science solve real-world problems in healthcare, life science, and related fields. John Snow Labs is an award-winning AI and NLP company, accelerating progress in data science by providing state-of-the-art models, data, and platforms. Founded in 2015, it helps healthcare and life science companies build, deploy, and operate AI products and services.

SPAC Mergers with 2 Telehealth Companies to Form Public Digital Health Company in $1.35B Deal

SPAC Mergers with 2 Telehealth Companies to Form Public Digital Health Company in $1.35B Deal

What You Should Know:

– GigCapital2 Inc has agreed to merge with UpHealth Holdings Inc and Cloudbreak Health LLC to create a public digital healthcare company valued at $1.35 billion, including debt, the blankcheck acquisition company said on Monday.

– The combined company will be named UpHealth, Inc. and
will continue to be listed on the NYSE under the new ticker symbol “UPH”.

Blank check acquisition
company GigCapital2 agreed to merge
with Cloudbreak Health, LLC, a unified telemedicine and video medical
interpretation solutions provider and UpHealth
Holdings
, Inc., one of the largest national and international digital
healthcare providers to form a combined digital health company. The deal is valued
at $1.35 billion, including debt. the combined company will be named UpHealth, Inc. and will continue to be
listed on the NYSE under the new ticker symbol “UPH”.

Following the merger, UpHealth will be a leading global
digital healthcare company serving an entire spectrum of healthcare needs and
will be established in fast growing sectors of the digital health industry.
With its combinations, UpHealth is positioned to reshape healthcare across the
continuum of care by providing a single, integrated platform of best-in-class
technologies and tech-enabled services essential to personalized, affordable,
and effective care. UpHealth’s multifaceted and integrated platform provides
health systems, payors, and patients with a frictionless digital front door
that connects evidence-based care, workflows, and services.

“We are excited to partner with UpHealth and Cloudbreak through our Private-to-Public Equity (PPE)™ platform. The combined UpHealth has all the hallmarks we look for in a successful partnership, including a world-class executive team and an exceptional business model with scale, strong growth, and profitability margins in the digital healthcare industry. We are particularly excited about the opportunity to provide our Mentor-Investor™ discipline in partnership with an exceptional global leadership team, as well as participate in a high-tech integrated platform that comprises a variety of cutting edge disciplines, such as the Artificial Intelligence platform being developed by Global Telehealth in conjunction with the tech-enabled Behavioral Health divisions. We are confident UpHealth is at the inflection point and positioned for accelerated growth.” – Dr. Avi Katz – Founder and Executive Chairman of GigCapital2

Combined Company Offerings

SPAC Mergers with 2 Telehealth Companies to Form Public Digital Health Company in $1.35B Deal

Upon closing the pending mergers and the combination with Cloudbreak, UpHealth will be organized across four capabilities at the intersection of population health management and telehealth:

1. Integrated Care Management: Thrasys Inc. (“Thrasys”) has reinvested $100M of customer revenue to
develop its innovative SyntraNet Integrated Care technology platform. The
platform integrates and organizes information, provides advanced
population-based analytics and predictive models, and automates workflows
across health plans, health systems, government agencies, and community
organizations. The platform plans to add at least 40 million lives to UpHealth
in the next 3 years to support global initiatives to transform healthcare.

2. Global Telehealth: will consist of a U.S. division and an international division
that, together, are anticipated to grow revenues by an additional $47 million
in 2021.

The U.S. division of
Global Telehealth following the combination, Cloudbreak, is a leading unified
telemedicine platform performing more than 100,000 encounters per month on over
14,000 video endpoints at over 1,800 healthcare venues nationwide. The
Cloudbreak Platform offers telepsychiatry, telestroke, tele-urology, and other
specialties, all with integrated language services for Limited English Proficient
and Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing patients. Cloudbreak’s innovative, secure platform
removes both distance and language barriers to improve patient care,
satisfaction, and outcomes.

The international
division of Global Telehealth following the combination, Glocal Healthcare
Systems Pvt. Ltd (“Glocal”), is a global provider of virtual consultations and
local care spanning the care continuum. It has designed proven, affordable and
accessible solutions for the delivery of healthcare services globally. The
platform provides a full suite of primary and acute care services, including an
app-based telemedicine suite, digital dispensaries, and hospital centers. The
platform has signed several country-wide contracts with government ministries
across India, Southeast Asia, and Africa.

3. Digital Pharmacy: MedQuest Pharmacy (“MedQuest”) is a leading full-service manufactured and compounded pharmacy licensed in all 50 states that pre-packages and ships medications direct to patients. The company also offers lab services and testing, nutraceuticals, nutritional supplements, education for medical practitioners, and training for organizations, associations, and groups. MedQuest serves an established network of 13,000 providers. The MedQuest platform is poised for strong growth via targeted product expansion and expansive eCommerce capabilities for the entire provider network. UpHealth and MedQuest have mutually executed a merger agreement, the closing of which is awaiting regulatory approval for the transfer of licenses expected by the end of 2020 or early 2021.

4. Tech-enabled Behavioral Health: TTC Healthcare, Inc. (“TTC Healthcare”) and
Behavioral Health Services LLC (“BHS”) offer comprehensive services
specializing in acute and chronic outpatient behavioral health, rehabilitation
and substance abuse, both onsite and via telehealth. UpHealth’s Behavioral
Health capabilities have dramatically expanded use of telehealth for medical
and clinical services and are leveraging UpHealth’s platform to increase
volumes across its services. UpHealth and TTC Healthcare have mutually executed
a merger agreement, the closing of which is awaiting regulatory approval for
the transfer of licenses expected prior to the end of 2020.

Global Financial Impact and Reach

UpHealth will have agreements
to deliver digital healthcare in more than 10 countries globally. These various
companies are expected to generate approximately $115 million in revenue and
over $13 million of EBITDA in 2020 and following the combination, UpHealth
expects to generate over $190 million in revenue and $24 million in EBITDA in
2021.

Cerner Launches Video Visit Platform for CommunityWorks Clients

What You Should Know:

– Cerner launches new Video Visit platform for CommunityWorks clients at no cost through 2021 to support rural health organizations.


Today in honor of National Rural Health Day, Cerner has announced the launch of their new telehealth offering to support rural health organizations through these tough times. The Video Visit platform will be offered to Cerner CommunityWorks℠ clients at no cost through 2021. The platform, which was announced at a virtual event for community and critical access hospitals earlier this week, aims to help make it easier for those living in rural areas to see providers. Initial sites have already started to go-live and are seeing strong adoption.

The CDC estimates about 46 million Americans live in rural
areas, which face distinctive challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Key
features of Cerner’s NEW CommunityWorks Video Visit Trial Program
include:

•  Video visits are part of a comprehensive suite
of virtual healthcare solutions that enable organizations to provide near
real-time, interactive communications between consumers and clinicians from any
location.

•  Delivers a comprehensive, integrated experience
that empowers consumers to be active participants in their health and care.

•  Consumers receive convenient, quality care
using their modality of choice.

•  FREE and rapid implementation and trial
of Cerner Video Visits until 12/31/21.

•  Expedited implementation taking place in days,
not weeks or months.

“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen a significantly increased desire from both consumers and health care providers for virtual health solutions and rapid innovation and adoption of existing products. One of those products is Cerner’s Virtual Visit solution that we are now offering free of charge to our eligible CommunityWorks clients through the end of 2021. This trial program delivers a comprehensive, integrated experience that empowers consumers to be active participants in their health and care. I am excited to formally launch this on the 10th annual National Rural Health Day as we celebrate the Power of Rural and I look forward to helping our clients provide another way to adapt to, and overcome, challenges presented by this pandemic in order to provide the best care and experience for their patients,” said Mitchell Clark, President, Cerner CommunityWorks, Senior Vice President at Cerner in a release statement.

Facebook Live: Helping COVID’s Secondary Victims: Grieving Families and Friends

Can’t see the video player? View the video here.

The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 246,000 people in the U.S., but it also has left hundreds of thousands of others grieving, and often feeling as if they have been robbed of the usual methods for dealing with the loss. For every person who dies of the virus, nine close family members are affected, researchers estimate. In addition to deep sadness, the ripple effects may linger for years as survivors deal with traumatic stress, anxiety, guilt and regret.

As the holidays approach, millions of people will be experiencing these losses afresh, as well as disruptions to comforting routines and beloved traditions.

Judith Graham, author of KHN’s Navigating Aging column, hosted a discussion on these unprecedented losses and dealing with the bereavement on Facebook Live on Monday. She was joined by Holly Prigerson, co-director of the Center for Research on End-of-Life Care at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, and Diane Snyder-Cowan, leader of the bereavement professionals steering committee of the National Council of Hospice and Palliative Professionals.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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This story can be republished for free (details).

Amwell Launches New Offerings to Increase Doctor-to-Patient Virtual Connectivity

Amwell Launches New Offerings to Increase Doctor-to-Patient Virtual Connectivity

What You Should Know:

– Amwell just announced some new offerings Amwell Now, Touchpoint
Tablet software, and C500 to help increase doctor-to-patient virtual
connections as patient and doctor preferences change in light of the pandemic.

– The new solutions (a quick-to-deploy video visit offering, new tablet software, and a telemedicine cart) are designed to be easy-to-use but fully integrated in the provider’s systems and secure.


Amwell, a
national telehealth
leader, today announced new connectivity, device and cart offerings, all
tailored to meet the evolving needs of care teams and patients. Spurred by the
impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amwell is introducing Amwell Now,
new Touchpoint
Tablet software
, and the C500
telemedicine cart to help health systems and other healthcare organizations
easily leverage telehealth as a safe, quality care option.

Amwell Now
and Amwell’s latest Carepoint tablets and carts are designed to make it easier
for providers to quickly onboard patients and use virtual care. These tools can
be integrated within and scaled across organizations’ current systems and
devices, making it simple to embed and launch telehealth across various
specialties and serve an entire care organization. New offerings include:

Amwell Now

Amwell Now

Amwell Now
enables a simple connectivity experience for patients and providers,
streamlining entry to the Amwell platform, which is purposefully designed for
healthcare interactions. Amwell Now addresses physicians’ needs for easy, fast
video visits, all on Amwell’s HIPAA compliant, clinically tailored platform. It
delivers simple reporting functionality and the ability for organizations to
put forward their own brand versus that of Amwell. Providers can deploy Amwell
Now with only a few clicks, invite patients by text or email, launch an instant
video connection, and experience an adaptable video visit workflow that is easy
for both themselves and their patients.

Touchpoint Tablet Software

Connect Patients to Remote Providers & Family

Amwell’s Touchpoint Tablet software offers a new and simple
way to connect remote providers to on-site patients and providers. With it,
health systems can use (existing or new) iPads to facilitate bedside video
connectivity and collaboration in a secure, reliable, HIPAA-compliant way. The
Touchpoint Tablet software is integrated with Amwell Fleet Monitoring, enabling
health systems to track their tablets as part of their Carepoint fleet.

C500: Lightweight Telemedicine Cart

Performance that Lasts

The C500
is Amwell’s latest-generation, lightweight telemedicine cart that empowers providers
to conduct efficient, high-quality remote exams across a variety of
specialties. Featuring an embedded 4K camera that responds immediately to user
commands and smart sensors that make the cart environment-aware, the C500
provides a seamless care experience that is fully integrated with the Amwell
telehealth platform.

Why It Matters

“Amid COVID-19, healthcare organizations’ needs for and expectations surrounding telehealth have fundamentally changed,” said Ido Schoenberg, Chairman and Co-CEO, Amwell. “Increasingly, virtual care is being used as core to all types of care delivery, whether it’s to safeguard care teams, limit unnecessary exposure for patients, or to prioritize the home as a go-to care setting. Our latest offerings are responsive to industry calls for simplicity, integration, and quality, and in service to the evolving landscape of healthcare and our lives overall.”

Health Innovators: David Van Sickle on digital innovation in respiratory medicine

In the first episode of our Health Innovators series, Paul Tunnah speaks to David Van Sickle, CEO of Propeller Health about how digital technologies are revolutionising the field of respiratory medicine.

The post Health Innovators: David Van Sickle on digital innovation in respiratory medicine appeared first on .

Eko Lands $65M to Expand AI-Powered Telehealth Platform for Virtual Pulmonary and Cardiac Exam

Eko Lands $65M to Expand AI-Powered Telehealth Platform for Virtual Pulmonary and Cardiac Exam

What You Should Know:

– Cardiopulmonary digital health company Eko raises $65M
in Series C funding to close the gap between virtual and in-person heart and
lung care.

– The latest round of funding will enable Eko to expand
in-clinic use of its platform of telehealth and AI algorithms for disease
screening and to launch a monitoring program for cardiopulmonary patients at
home.

Eko, a
cardiopulmonary digital
health
company,
today announced $65 million in Series C funding led by Highland Capital
Partners and Questa Capital, with participation from Artis Ventures, DigiTx
Partners, NTTVC, 3M Ventures, and other new and existing investors. The new
funding will be used to expand in-clinic use of the company’s platform of telehealth
and AI
algorithms for disease screening, and to launch a monitoring program for
cardiopulmonary patients at home.

Eko was founded in 2013 to improve heart and lung care for
patients through advanced sensors, digital technology, and novel AI algorithms.
The company reinvented the stethoscope and introduced the first combined
handheld digital stethoscope and electrocardiogram (ECG). Eko’s FDA-cleared AI
analysis algorithms help detect heart rhythm abnormalities and structural heart
disease. Eko seeks to make AI analysis the standard for every physical exam. The
company recently launched Eko AI and Eko Telehealth to combat the needs of the COVID-19
pandemic.

Eko Telehealth delivers:

– AI-powered and FDA-cleared identification of heart murmurs
and atrial fibrillation (AFib), assisting providers in the detection and
monitoring of heart disease during virtual visits

– Lung and heart sound live-streaming for a thorough virtual
examination

– Single-lead ECG live-streaming, enabling providers to
assess for rhythm abnormalities

– Embedded HIPAA-compliant video conferencing, or can work
alongside the video conferencing platform a health system has in place

Symptoms of valvular heart disease and AFib often go
undiagnosed during routine physical exams. With the development of Eko’s AI
screening algorithms, clinicians are able to harness state-of-the-art machine
learning to detect heart disease at the earliest point of care regardless if
the patient visit is in-person or remote.

“We are thrilled that our new investors have joined our journey and our existing investors have reaffirmed their support for Eko,” said Connor Landgraf, CEO and co-founder at Eko. “The explosion in demand for virtual cardiac and pulmonary care has driven Eko’s rapid expansion at thousands of hospitals and healthcare facilities, and we are excited for how this funding will accelerate the growth of our cardiopulmonary platform.”

4 Ways to Combat Hidden Costs Associated with Delayed Patient Care During COVID-19

Matt Dickson, VP, Product, Strategy, and Communication Solutions at Stericycle
Matt Dickson, VP, Product, Strategy, and Communication Solutions at Stericycle

COVID-19 terms such as quarantine, flatten the curve, social distance, and personal protective equipment (PPE) have dominated headlines in recent months, but what hasn’t been discussed in length are the hidden costs of COVID-19 as it relates to patient adherence.  

The coronavirus pandemic has amplified this long-standing issue in healthcare as patients are delaying routine preventative and ongoing care for ailments such as mental health and chronic disease. Emergency care is also suffering at alarming rates. Studies show a 42 percent decline in emergency department visits, measuring the volume of 2.1 million visits per week between March and April 2019 to 1.2 million visits per week between March and April 2020. Patients are not seeking the treatment they need – and at what cost?

When the SARS outbreak occurred in 2002, particularly in Taiwan, there was a marked reduction in inpatient care and utilization as well as ambulatory care. Chronic-care hospitalizations for long-term conditions like diabetes plummeted during the SARS crisis but skyrocketed afterward. Similar to the 2002 epidemic, people are currently not venturing en masse to emergency rooms or hospitals, but if history repeats itself, hospital and ER visits will happen at an influx and create a new strain on the healthcare system.

So, if patients aren’t going to the ER or visiting their doctors regularly, where have they gone? They are staying at home. According to reports from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 28 percent of Americans polled said they or a family member delayed medical care due to the pandemic, and 11 percent indicated that their condition worsened as a result of the delayed care. Of note, 70 percent of consumers are concerned or very concerned about contracting COVID-19 when visiting healthcare facilities to receive care unrelated to the virus. There is a growing concern that patients will either see a relapse in their illness or will experience new complications when the pandemic subsides. 

Rather than brace for a tidal wave of patients, healthcare systems should proactively take steps (or act now) to drive patient access, action, and adherence.

1. Identify Who Needs to Care The Most 

Healthcare providers should consider risk stratifying patients. High-risk people, such as an 80-year-old male with comorbidities and recent cardiac bypass surgery, may require a hands-on and frequent outreach effort. A 20-year-old female, however, who comes in annually for her physical but is healthy, may not require that level of engagement. Understanding which patients are at risk for the potential for chronic conditions to become acute or patients who have a hard time staying on their care plan may need prioritized attention and a more thorough engagement effort. 

For example, patients with a history of mental health issues may lack motivation or momentum to seek care. Their disposition to be disengaged may require greater input to push past their disengagement.  

Especially important is the ability to educate and guide patients to the appropriate venue of care (ER, telehealth visit, in-person primary care visit, or urgent care) based on their self-reported symptoms.  Allowing patients to self-triage while scheduling appointments helps them make more informed decisions about their care while reducing the burden on over-utilized emergency departments.

2. Capture The Attention of The Intended Audience and Induce Action

Once you’ve identified who needs care the most, how do you break through the “information clutter” to ensure healthcare messages resonate with the intended audience? The more data points, the better. It is important to understand the age of the patient, their preferred communication channel, and the intended message for the recipient, but effective communication exceeds those three data points. Consider factors like the presence of mental health conditions, comorbidities, or health literacies. Then, think beyond the patient’s channel of choice and select the appropriate channel of communication (text, phone call, email, paid social media advertisement, etc.), that will most likely induce action. As an organization, also consider running A/B tests to detect and analyze behavior. As you collect more data, determine what exactly is inducing patient action. 

Of note, don’t underestimate the power of repetition. Patients may need to be reminded of the intended action a few times in a few different ways before moving forward with seeking the care they need. Repetition is also shown to decrease no-show rates, a critical metric. Proactive, prescriptive, and tailored communication will help increase engagement. Moving past the channel of choice and toward the channel of action is key.

3. Engage Patients Through Personalized and Tailored Communication 

In addition to identifying the right communication channel, it’s also important to ensure you deliver an effective message.  Communication with patients should be relevant to their particular medical needs while paying close attention to where each person is in their healthcare journey. Connecting with patients on both an emotional and rational level is also important. For example, sending a positive communication via phone, email, or text to lay the foundation for the interaction shows interest in the patient’s wellbeing. 

A “Hey, here’s why you need to come in” note makes a connection in a direct and personalized way. At the same time, and in a very pointed manner, sharing ways providers and health systems are keeping patients safe (e.g., telehealth, virtual waiting rooms, separate entrances, and mandating masks), also provides comfort to skittish patients. Additionally, consider all demographic information when tailoring communications. And don’t forget to analyze if changes in content impact no-show rates. Low overall literacy may impact health literacy and may require simpler and more positive words to positively impact adherence. 

It may sound daunting, especially for individual health systems, to personalize patient communication efforts, but the use of today’s data tools and technological advancements can relieve the burden and streamline efforts for an effective communication approach. 

4. Use Technology to Your Advantage (With Caution)

Once you have developed your communication strategy, don’t stop there.  Consider all aspects of the patient journey to drive action.  A virtual waiting room strategy, for example, can help ease patient concerns and encourage them to resume their care. Health systems can help patients make reservations, space out their arrival times, and safeguard social distancing measures—all while alleviating patient fears. Ideally, the patient would be able to seamlessly book an appointment and receive a specific arrival time, allowing ER staff to prepare for the patient’s arrival while minimizing onsite wait time.

When implemented properly, telehealth visits can also improve continuity of care, enhance provider efficiency, attract and retain patients who are seeking convenience, as well as appeal to those who would prefer not to travel to their healthcare facility for their visit. Providers need to determine which appointments can successfully be resolved virtually. Additionally, some patients might not have the means for a successful telehealth visit due to a lack of internet access, a language barrier, or a safe space to talk freely.

To ensure all patients receive quality care, health systems should make plans to serve patients who lack the technology or bandwidth to participate in video visits in an alternative manner. For example, monitor patients remotely by asking them to self-report basic information such as blood sugar levels, weight, and medication compliance via short message service (SMS). This gives providers the ability to continuously monitor their patients while enhancing patient safety, increasing positive outcomes, and enabling real-time escalation whenever clinical intervention is needed.

It is important we ensure all patients stay on track with their health, despite uncertain and fearful times. Health systems can enhance patient adherence and induce action through the implementation of tools that increase patient engagement and alleviate the impending strain on the healthcare system. 


About Matt Dickson

Matt Dickson is Vice President of Product, Strategy, and General Manager of Stericycle Communication Solutions, a patient engagement platform that seamlessly combines both voice and digital channels to provide the modern experience healthcare consumers want while solving complex challenges to patient access, action, and adherence. . He is a versatile leader with strong operational management experience and expertise providing IT, product, and process solutions in the healthcare industry for nearly 25 years. Find him on LinkedIn.

Sony Updates NUCLeUS Medical Imaging Platform to Support Remote Patient Observation

Sony Updates NUCLeUS Medical Imaging Platform to Support Remote Patient Observation

What You Should Know:

– Today, Sony announced an update to our NUCLeUS medical
imaging platform, which improves support for remote patient observation.

– NUCLeUS has added new functionality and features,
including powerful bi-directional telestration capabilities allowing multiple
remote users to simultaneously annotate, draw or highlight areas of interest in
a live stream video or still image.

Sony today
announced an update to its vendor-neutral medical imaging platform NUCLeUS. The latest release introduces Remote
Patient Monitoring (observation) functionality with recording functionalities
for use in the operating room (OR), Intensive Care Units (ICU), endoscopy
suites, procedure rooms or anywhere else in the hospital.

The Smart Digital Imaging Platform for Medical Environments

Sony Updates NUCLeUS Medical Imaging Platform to Support Remote Patient Observation

Developed in consultation with leading surgeons and with vendor
neutrality in mind, NUCLeUS guides clinical staff through the planning,
recording and sharing of video, still images and other patient-related data.
Seamlessly linking Sony and third-party devices, applications, video and most
importantly, people, NUCLeUS focuses on hospital staff requirements and use
cases, adding value to imaging workflows.

New
Bi-Directional Telestration Capabilities

NUCLeUS has added
new functionality and features, including powerful bi-directional telestration
capabilities allowing multiple remote users to simultaneously annotate, draw or
highlight areas of interest in a live stream video or still image. This can be
securely shared with authorized viewers to discuss as a group in real time,
ideally suited for socially distanced environments.  Equipped with a full
set of recording functionalities, NUCLeUS is also a valuable tool for
hospitals, outpatient surgery centers and private practices serving a variety
of specialties including Urology, ENT, Obstetrics, Ophthalmic, Plastic surgery,
and Robotics

New NUCLeUS Functionality Features

New functionalities of NUCLeUS include:

Mosaic
Video Wall,

presenting video streams from image sources in multiple ORs and ICUs
simultaneously on a single display, thus providing a situational overview of
activity in a tiled or mosaic format.

An
iPad Streaming function,
allowing clinical staff to access images from any modality via
an iPad in virtual real time within the OR, so medical staff can follow the
intervention on their handheld device.

High
quality 4K conversion
, allowing any HD resolution video content to be converted to 4K
using advanced resolution-augmentation algorithms superior to conventional
upscaling, giving a crisp ultra-high resolution view of converted video
footage.

Customizable
Expanded Patient Distraction
– helping to reduce patient anxiety through music tracks and
video imagery that can be played in the OR to create a more relaxing and
comfortable atmosphere.

Patient
Time-Out Functionality
, featuring checklists that simplify time out of safety
standards at the start, during and end of an operation.

Enhanced
Printing capabilities
, allowing hard copies of still images captured by NUCLeUS to be
created inside the OR using an optional UP-DR80MD A4 digital color printer. The
Auto Print function also extends CMS (Content Management System) print
functionality to collect a preconfigured number of stills, printing them
automatically.

Full
compatibility
with the latest Sony PTZ and fixed cameras including HD and 4K
models.

“Sony is committed to developing NUCLeUS to suit the needs of patients and medical staff at all times,” said Theresa Alesso, pro division President, Sony Electronics.  “The Remote Patient Monitoring capabilities within NUCLeUS are a primary example of this and were developed to help hospitals manage day-to-day requirements through the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are committed to helping hospitals and healthcare providers reinvent their workflows and provide medical staff with the tools they need to continue delivering excellent patient care.”

GSK and eosinophil research: the pharmaphorum podcast

GlaxoSmithKline’s Nucala (mepolizumab) last month became the first and only biologic treatment approved in the US for Hypereosinophilic Syndrome (HES).

It’s part of the company’s focus on eosinophil-driven diseases, and ahead of that regulatory milestone I spoke with Tiffany Robinson-Smith, global medical affairs lead for biologics at GSK, about eosinophils and why they’re an important element of her company’s research programmes.

We also spoke in this episode of the podcast about some of the research challenges GSK faces with eosinophils and where they fit into the pharma company’s current product portfolio.

You can listen to episode 25 of the pharmaphorum podcast in the player below, download the episode to your computer or find it – and subscribe to the rest of the series in iTunes, Spotify, acast and Stitcher.

 

The post GSK and eosinophil research: the pharmaphorum podcast appeared first on .

XRHealth to Launch Virtual Reality Telehealth Clinic in Israel In November

XRHealth Launches Virtual Reality Telehealth Clinic in Israel

What You Should Know:

– XRHealth announce it will launch a new virtual reality telehealth clinic in Israel, slated to open on November 1st.

– The VR-driven telehealth clinic treats patients in
Israel for symptoms related to Stress & Anxiety, ADHD, Motor &
Cognitive Rehabilitation, post-COVID-19, Parkinson’s, Brain Injury, and more.


XRHealth, a Boston, MA-based provider of extended reality therapeutic applications, today announced a new virtual reality telehealth clinic in Israel, opening on November 1, 2020. The virtual reality telehealth clinic treats patients in Israel for symptoms related to Stress & Anxiety, ADHD, Motor & Cognitive Rehabilitation, post-COVID-19, Parkinson’s, Brain Injury, and more.

The Israeli-based clinic will provide patients with a VR headset at home to access different virtual treatment rooms with various therapeutic exercises. Patients are paired with a licensed clinician who evaluates them, creates a treatment plan, monitors their progress, and adjusts the treatment plan based on the patients’ actual outcomes. Patients can communicate with their clinicians and track their progress using the XRHealth mobile app.

The clinic will be powered by leading medical centers in
Israel and around the world and employs licensed clinicians who are trained in
VR treatment, including physical therapists, occupational therapists,
psychologists, and more.

“In the era of COVID-19, there’s an essential need to provide healthcare services remotely and VR technology enables us to offer a wide variety of telehealth treatments that far exceed a simple video call,” says Eran Orr, CEO of XRHealth. “Now, patients in Israel have access to the highest-quality healthcare treatments, all from the comfort of their homes.”

Insurance Coverage

The company’s medical applications are approved by the
Ministry of Health and the treatments are reimbursable through insurance
providers and HMOs (based on individual coverage).


Florida Health System to Implement Fully Digital Patient Smart Rooms

Florida Health System to Implement Fully Digital Patient Smart Rooms

What You Should Know:

– Healthcare innovators NCH Health Systems and eVideon, have partnered to transform the health systems’ patient rooms into an immersive digital experience.

eVideon’s Smart Room solution includes smart TVs, tablets, digital whiteboards, and more to be implemented across NCH hospitals to improve patient engagement, education, and entertainment.

– The technology will also benefit the NCH Health
System’s clinical staff by improving workflows and automating administrative
tasks.


eVideon,
a leader in interactive patient
engagement
and digital workflow solutions, today announced that NCH Healthcare System, one of the largest
healthcare systems in Southwest Florida, will be implementing the company’s
full suite of solutions in 576 patient rooms across its two hospitals. This
implementation will provide a fully immersive patient experience with smart
TVs, touchscreen tablets, digital patient door displays, digital whiteboards,
and the HELLO video
visitor solution for a complete Patient Smart
Room
. The partnership marks eVideon’s official entry into the Florida
market for the patient engagement technology provider.


Fully Immersive Patient Experience Platform and Virtual
Visit Solution Across Hospitals

The NCH Healthcare System will be equipping its hospitals
with eVideon’s entire patient engagement and workflow offerings for a fully
immersive patient experience. All hospital rooms will be transformed into
Patient Smart Rooms featuring smart TVs paired with a companion tablet
experience, digital patient door displays, digital whiteboards, and a virtual
visit solution designed just for healthcare. Patients will be able to
communicate with clinical staff, order their meals, fill out surveys, and
conduct virtual visits with loved ones, while also enjoying the benefits of
entertainment, education, and relaxation content.

Additionally, by transitioning processes that were once manual to a digitally integrated platform, clinical staff will have the advantage of real-time updates on patient goals and conditions via the digital displays in and around the patient room. They will also have the flexibility to share hospital announcements and policies and help patients make direct requests to a department, such as Pastoral Care, without having to rely on the nurse to do that for them. 


“It’s been an absolute pleasure working with eVideon as we make plans for the implementation of the company’s full patient engagement offerings,” said Andrew Cooper, Executive Director, Information Technology for NCH. “After careful consideration, and drawing from the insights provided by KLAS Research’s findings for the top patient engagement service providers, eVideon was the clear choice. We could not be more thrilled with our decision to work with them as they have been a true partner from the very beginning, and we are looking forward to hitting the ground running with the full solution suite by year end.”


CareLinx, Doctor on Demand Partner to Bring In-Home Virtual Care to Seniors

CareLinx, Doctor on Demand Partner to Bring In-Home Virtual Care to Seniors

What You Should Know: 

– Doctor On Demand and CareLinx, one of the largest professional networks for in-home care, have announced a collaboration to bring in-home virtual care services to CareLinx clients. 

– At a time when seniors have been encouraged to stay home to avoid exposure to COVID, Doctor On Demand’s partnership with CareLinx will vastly improve their opportunity to receive comprehensive healthcare while remaining safe. 


After being the first and only telemedicine provider to roll out medical care for Medicare Part B beneficiaries, Doctor On Demand is doubling down on their efforts to support seniors in their homes. Doctor On Demand, the nation’s leading virtual care provider, and CareLinx, a nationwide, professional network for in-home care, today announced a partnership to bring in-home virtual care services to CareLinx clients. 

Supporting High-Risk Patients at Home

The partnership aims to expand CareLinx’s in-home care offerings and improve health outcomes for their clients, geriatric and high-risk patients who need support at home. Today, CareLinx tech-enabled caregivers have digital care plans on their smartphones — enabling quality delivery of everyday care services such as bathing and meal prep, as well as direct communication to a patient’s family. 

Doctor On Demand will augment these existing services by connecting CareLinx clients with virtual care providers in real-time. CareLinx caregivers will support the Doctor On Demand registration process and assist with in-home follow-ups and care coordination recommended by Doctor On Demand’s board-certified physicians as well. 

CareLinx Clients Receive Access to Virtual Visits, Powered by Doctor on Demand

Eligible CareLinx clients will receive initial visits with board-certified physicians through Doctor On Demand at no cost. These virtual visits can be used to treat a spectrum of health issues, including diagnosis and testing of COVID-19, typical ailments like infections, rashes, cold and flu, and ongoing chronic diseases like asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and thyroid issues. Doctor On Demand physicians can also fill prescriptions and order lab work, and patients can see the same physician time and time again, building a trusted, personal relationship via video.

Why It Matters

“Now more than ever, finding high-quality, in-home care is pivotal during a time when seniors and high-risk patients are being encouraged to stay at home to minimize risk and exposure to COVID-19. Our partnership with Doctor On Demand enables CareLinx to continue equipping caregivers with digital tools and technologies to make caregiving easier, more transparent, and higher quality,” said Sherwin Sheik, CEO, CareLinx. “Additionally, this partnership is helping to supplement in-home activities of daily living with a telehealth option for our clients, who may not otherwise realize they have the option to see a provider virtually for medical ailments.  Combined with the in-home care they are receiving, these services can help provide an expanded continuum of care to help them stay healthy and safe where they want to be — at home.”

Rural Hospital Execs Can Beat COVID-19 By Shifting From Reactive to Proactive Care

The COVID-19 virus is ravaging the planet at a scale not seen since the infamous Spanish Flu of the early 1900s, inflicting immense devastation as the U.S. loses more than 200,000 lives and counting. According to CDC statistics, 94% of patient mortalities associated with COVID-19 were simultaneously suffering from preexisting conditions, leaving a mere 6% of victims with COVID-19 as their sole cause of death. However, while immediate prospects for a mass vaccine might not be until 2021, there is some hope among rural hospital health information technology consultants where the pandemic has hit the hardest. 

The fact that four in ten U.S. adults have two or more chronic conditions indicates that our most vulnerable members of the population are also the ones at the greatest risk of succumbing to the pandemic. From consultants laboring alongside healthcare administrators and providers, all must pay close attention to patients harboring 1 of 13 chronic conditions believed to play major roles in COVID-19 mortality, particularly chronic kidney disease, hypertension, diabetes, and COPD.

Vulnerable rural populations must be supervised due to their unique challenges. The CDC indicates 80% of older adults in remote regions have at least one chronic disease with 77% having at least two chronic diseases, significantly increasing COVID-19 mortality rates compared to their urban counterparts.

Health behaviors also play a role in rural patients who have decreased access to healthy food and physical activity while simultaneously suffering high incidences of smoking. These lifestyle choices compound with one another, leading to increased obesity, hypertension, and many other chronic illnesses. Overall, rural patients that fall ill to COVID-19 are more likely to suffer worsened prognosis compared to urban hubs, a problem only bolstered by their inability to properly access healthcare. 

Virus Helping Push New Technologies

COVID-19 has shown the cracks in the U.S. healthcare technology system that must be addressed for the future. As the pandemic unfolds, it’s worth noting that not all lasting effects will be negative. Just as the adoption of the Affordable Care Act a decade ago spurred healthcare organizations to digitize their records, the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating overdue technological shifts crucial to providing better care.

Perhaps the most prominent change has been the widespread adoption of telehealth services and technologies that connect patients with both urgent and preventive care without their having to leave home. Perhaps the most prominent change has been the widespread adoption of telehealth services and technologies that use video to connect patients with both urgent and preventive care without their having to leave home.

Even if COVID-19 were to fade away on its own, the next pandemic may not. Furthermore, seasonal influenza serves as a reminder that healthcare is not a skirmish, but a prolonged war against disease. Rather than doom future generations to suffer the same plight our generation has with the pandemic, now is the time to develop innovative IT strategies that focus on protecting our most vulnerable citizens by leveraging existing healthcare initiatives to focus on proactive responses instead of reactive responses.

On the Right Road

While some of the most vulnerable people are the elderly, rural residents, and the poor, the good news for them is that CMS has long advocated the use of preventive care initiatives such as Chronic Care Management (CCM) and Remote Physiologic Monitoring (RPM) to track these geriatric patients. To encourage innovation in this sector, CMS preventive care initiatives provide generous financial incentives to healthcare providers willing to shift from conventional reactive care strategies to a more proactive approach focused on prevention and protection. This should attract rural hospital CEOs who have been struggling even more than usual because of the virus.

These factors led to the creation of numerous patient CCM programs, allowing healthcare executives and providers to remotely track the health status of geriatric patients suffering from numerous chronic conditions. The tracking is at a rate and scope unseen previously through the use of electronic media. Interestingly enough, the patients already being monitored by CCM programs overlap heavily with populations susceptible to COVID-19. To adapt existing infrastructure for the COVID-19 pandemic is a relatively simple task for hospital CIOs. 

As noted earlier, one growing CCM program that could be retrofitted to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic are the use of telehealth services in rural locations. Prior to the pandemic, telehealth services were one of the many strategies advocated by the CDC to address the overtaxed healthcare systems found in rural locations. 

Better Access, Funding and User Experience for Telehealth

Today, telehealth is about creating digital touchpoints when no other contact is possible or safe. It offers the potential to expand care to people in remote areas who might have limited or nonexistent access, and it could let other health workers handle patient screening and post-care follow-up when a local facility is overwhelmed. As a study published last year in The American Journal of Emergency Medicine affirms, virtual care can cut the cost of healthcare delivery and relieve strain on busy clinicians.

Telehealth has also gotten a boost from the $2 trillion CARES Act stimulus fund, which provides $130 billion to healthcare organizations fighting the pandemic. The effort also makes it easier for providers to bill for remote services.

The reason for the CDC and hospital administrators’ interest in telehealth was that telehealth meetings could outright remove the need for patients to travel and allow healthcare providers to monitor patients at a fraction of the time. By simply coupling existing telehealth services with CMS preventive care initiatives focused on COVID-19, rural healthcare providers could detect early warning signs of COVID-19. 

Integration Key to Preemptive Detection

This integration at a faster and far greater scale could mean much greater preemptive virus detection through routine telehealth meetings. The effect of telehealth would be twofold on hospitals serving rural and urban health communities. It could slow the spread of COVID-19 to a crawl due to decreased patient travel and improved patient prognosis through early and intensive treatment for vulnerable populations with two or more chronic health conditions.

This integrated combination would shift standard reactive care to patient infections to a new monitoring methodology that proactively seeks out infected patients and rapidly administers treatment to those most at risk of mortality. This new combination of preventive care and telehealth services would not only improve patient and community health but would relieve the financial burden incurred from the pandemic due to the existing CMS initiatives subsidizing such undertakings.

In conclusion, preventative care targeting patients with pre-conditions in rural locations are severely lacking in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. By leveraging CMS preventive care initiatives along with telehealth services, healthcare providers can achieve the following core objectives.

First, there are financial incentives with preventive care services that will relieve the burden on healthcare systems. Second, COVID-19 vulnerable populations will receive the attention and focus from healthcare providers that they deserve to slow the spread through the use of early detection systems and alerts to their primary health provider. Third, by combining with telehealth service, healthcare providers can efficiently and effectively reach out to rural populations that were once inaccessible to standard healthcare practices.

5 Trends Driving The Future of Healthcare Real Estate in 2020 & Beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed patient expectations for healthcare delivery, including offered services and health office operations. Although health systems have remained dynamic in adopting telehealth capabilities, their long-term capital, like real estate and supply chain management (SCM) protocols, have not adapted to match these expectations. Health systems must be aware of current trends in both areas to inform their future decisions. 

Divesting in healthcare real estate is also key to reducing unnecessary costs to a health system, especially if optimal use of these spaces is already lacking. The overwhelming costs of ownership and management lock money away in underutilized and obsolete real estate spaces. Divesting provides more capital liquidity, and frees capital to go towards investment in telehealth, diagnostic technology, and emerging specialties, assets that go towards increasing patient and workforce engagement and satisfaction. In addition, eliminating unused real estate assets allows freedom from liabilities and human capital investments, like facility maintenance and upkeep, not to mention the increased frequency of deep cleaning necessary in the post-COVID-19 bi-lateral operations era.

Further, years of mergers and acquisitions in the healthcare industry have left many health systems with the unwanted result of increases in real estate assets. This has led to increased consolidation of these assets, a trend that has been exacerbated by the pandemic pressure on health system funds. Future consolidation and reevaluation of assets should be informed by trends in patient expectations as well as trends in the market.

Here are five emerging trends driving the future of healthcare real estate and assets. Each encourages divestment out of health system real estate ventures or restructuring of existing spaces in order to better cater to forever changed patient expectations.

1. Rise of Telehealth

According to the Department of Health & Human Services, telehealth use is up around 50% in primary care settings since the beginning of the public health emergency and is projected to remain high in the time following. Most recently, in-person visits have increased and as a result, telehealth visits have declined due to the state’s reopening, and thereby some critics posit that this trend may not continue. However, that could not be further from the truth.

Moving forward, despite health system fear regarding long-term reimbursement may be lacking from federal, state, and commercial health plan payers for virtual care delivery, leveraging telehealth to augment traditional healthcare delivery will become a necessity because consumers will demand it and physicians in some studies have shown satisfaction with their video visit platforms. This will no doubt have an impact on office layout and services.

2. Convenience of Outpatient Services

Motivated in part by telehealth utilization, patients seek convenience and accessibility in their healthcare now more than ever. Health system expansion may therefore mean satellite offices in high traffic areas to cater to the patient’s need for accessibility, marking a movement away from the traditional, centralized hospital campuses.

3. Value-Based Care Transitions

As legislation and CMS regulation moves more towards a value-based care system, trends show a natural move towards lower-cost facilities that provide preventive care. These could also contribute to continued trends to more off-campus real estate and planning for alternative care delivery options, for example, mobile vans reaching more vulnerable, at-risk populations for care such as life-saving vaccinations. 

4. Pandemic Precautions

Bilateral operations are likely to be maintained for some time even after more normal operations return, and healthcare real estate, especially with consolidation, will need to accommodate this precaution, and others like it in all locations.

5. Technology

New diagnostic and testing tools are constantly being released, forcing health systems to reevaluate their current assets and make room for new ones which contributes to wasted space. Furthermore, remote monitoring apps will continue to proliferate in the market and become more affordable and accessible to consumers while advancing interoperability standards and federal information blocking requirements will allow information to flow more freely.  

Strategies to Optimize Healthcare Real Estate & Strategy

In order to unlock money trapped in assets, health systems should look to make their assets work better in response to current trends and patient expectations. To accommodate patient demands and changes to health industry regulation and reimbursement, it makes sense to ensure efficient use of all facilities and optimize real estate and assets using the following strategies:

– Divest underutilized assets of any kind: Begin with real estate and move smaller to reduce unneeded capital investment.

– Remove or reduce administrative spaces: Transition non-clinical workforces to partial or complete work from home status, including finance, legal, marketing, revenue cycle, and other back-office functions. Shared space or “hotel” workspaces are popular.

– Reconfigure medical office or temporary care buildings: As these are often empty several days a week, they must be consolidated. 

– Get out of expensive leases for care that can be given remotely or in lower-cost options or by strategic partners: Take full advantage of telehealth capabilities and eliminate offices that have become obsolete. 

Integrate telehealth into real estate only where it makes sense: Telehealth is more applicable to some services and care modalities than others. Offices should reconfigure to meet these novel needs where necessary, even if it means forgoing leases for the near term. 

– Assess other expensive assets: Appraise assets like storage and diagnostic tools. Those not supportive of the new post-COVID-19 care model or prioritized service lines and are otherwise not producing revenues should be sold or outsourced to strategic partners.

– Diversify with off-campus offices: Provide convenient access to outpatient care and new outpatient procedures by investing in outpatient medical offices in high foot traffic locations. 

– Create space for services in high demand: Services like preventive care and behavioral health should be given physical or virtual space in the system to cater to patient needs. 


About Moha Desai

Moha Desai is a Principal of Healthcare Strategy and Transformation where she focuses on driving forward strategic, planning, financial, revenue cycle, operational improvement, and patient engagement healthcare projects for providers, federal government health agencies, and various firms requiring growth, business development, and project implementation and management. She has previously served in leadership roles at Partners HealthCare, Deloitte Consulting, Bearing Point, etc. Moha received her B.A. in Economics and her M.B.A. at Yale University.

Veterans Affairs Expands Telehealth Services Using Nuance Dragon Medical One

Veterans Affairs Expands Telehealth Services Using Nuance Dragon Medical One

What You Should Know:

– Nuance Communications, Inc. announced the U.S.
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is using the Nuance Dragon Medical One
speech recognition cloud platform and its mobile app, PowerMic Mobile.

– The solution helps VA doctors better document patient
care in-person, and now remotely through expanded telehealth services necessary
in the COVID-19 era.


Nuance® Communications, Inc. today announced that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is using the Nuance Dragon® Medical One speech recognition cloud platform and PowerMic Mobile microphone app to help physicians document patient care provided through dramatically expanded VA telehealth services since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Helping Physicians Document Care During Virtual Visits

The cloud-based technology allows VA physicians to use their voices to capture and document patient stories securely, accurately, and more efficiently during virtual visits conducted by phone and the widely deployed VA Video Connect platform. Nuance Dragon Medical One is the leading medical speech recognition solution today used by over 550,000 physicians. Compatible with the VA CPRS and Cerner Millennium, it is a key productivity component in EHR solutions throughout the Federal Government, including Veterans Affairs and the Military Health System. Because the VA first standardized on Nuance cloud-based Dragon Medical solutions system-wide in 2014, physicians could readily adopt the added capabilities and mobile flexibility of Dragon Medical One for telehealth services.

“Helping frontline clinicians at the VA and other major health systems has been our highest priority since the pandemic began,” said Diana Nole, executive vice president and general manager of healthcare, Nuance. “The combination of our cloud-based platforms, organizational agility and deep experience working with the VA health system made it possible for us to act quickly and deliver the technology solutions needed to protect and assist physicians treating patients remotely. While our strong sense of mission and purpose in serving critical healthcare organizations and businesses already is very clear, it becomes amplified knowing that our technology solutions are playing a role in caring for our nation’s Veterans.”

Getting Beyond the Telehealth ‘Stop-Gap’ Mentality

Getting Beyond the Telehealth's ‘Stop-Gap’ Mentality
Roland Therriault, President, InSync Healthcare Solutions

Since COVID-19 emerged as a major health threat, virtual care has taken off. As many as 46% of patients reported in late April that they had used telehealth to replace a canceled healthcare visit in 2020, while 48% of physicians said they had started using telehealth to treat patients.  

While a shift in care models was necessary to address business continuity amid the pandemic, these trends also represent positive movements as a growing body of evidence supports the real-life benefits of telehealth. Remote models of care are connected to safe and effective consultations across many use cases, low exposure to viruses, and much-needed access to care.  

Yet the fact that physician adoption isn’t higher suggests two things:

1) Physicians may be taking a ‘wait and see’ approach in the hopes that patients will want to return to in-person care as economies reopen; or

2) Some physicians haven’t yet figured out their long-term telehealth strategy. In truth, many providers are treating telehealth as a “stop-gap” — or temporary — solution until life returns to normal.

But given the increasingly positive data around telehealth as a safe alternative to in-person care, as well as its track record in successfully treating patients, it’s time for providers to reframe their thinking. In the future, practices will need a healthcare strategy that balances virtual with in-person care.

Rethinking Telehealth 

As recently as ten years ago, telehealth reimbursement was largely limited to patients in rural areas, as payers didn’t yet see the value of compensating doctors for virtual encounters. 

Today, most payers and providers recognize the value of telehealth on some level amid rising demand for services and severe professional shortages. In particular, remote care models have proven their worth during the pandemic as an effective means of preventing the spread of disease. Greater acceptance of telehealth is further demonstrated by the recent decision to relax HIPAA requirements by HHS’ Office of Civil Rights (OCR), allowing more providers and patients to virtually connect through FaceTime, Zoom, or other two-way communications systems during the current pandemic. 

This is an important first step, although many providers remain resistant to change for a variety of valid reasons. Some of these include discomfort with remote care models, reimbursement concerns, and the cost of deploying telehealth. 

Performing medicine in a way that doesn’t align with one’s training feels unnatural, and some providers have said that virtual encounters feel less personal. The fact is that most clinicians weren’t trained to diagnose patients remotely or engage over a screen and are simply hesitant to embrace this approach to care.

Also, providers may have trepidation about not getting paid. While CMS and private payers have expanded coverage, multiple healthcare providers have reported that bills are being delayed or only partially paid by health plans. 

With limited insight into the potential return on that investment, concerns over the cost of implementing telehealth are also reasonable. A physician who is consulting with patients remotely through FaceTime, for example, might wonder if the investment in a more secure, robust telehealth platform will make sense in 12 months, should a COVID-19 vaccine materialize. 

Yet by not adopting a more permanent telehealth solution, providers may be hurting themselves down the road. Patients increasingly believe virtual care is highly effective, and some even prefer it. According to a SYKES consumer survey administered in March, 60% of 1,441 respondents said the COVID pandemic has increased their willingness to try telehealth.  

Also, while HHS has relaxed HIPAA enforcement at the moment, there’s no indication this will continue. Healthcare organizations will need to ensure that the platform or program they’re using is designed to keep protected health information (PHI) safe.  

Investing in the Future

Given the upward trajectory of telehealth, it benefits providers to thoughtfully invest in the right strategies and solutions now to extract the greatest value and return on investment down the road. Here are four steps to take, when shifting to a long-term telehealth strategy:  

– Identify needs. Many primary-care practices may have seen a bump in interest in telehealth due to COVID-19, while specialty practices may see increases stay steady, even when fears of the coronavirus fade. When planning long-term, put patient needs first: In what ways can telehealth improve care delivery, going forward? Look at data, such as virtual-visit utilization patterns, to see where there are opportunities to grow telemedicine (e.g., expanding chronic care management) based on needs.

– Consider workflows. The ideal telehealth program doesn’t interrupt clinical workflows – it enhances them. If you’re using a ‘stop-gap’ video conferencing solution to provide telemedicine, is it easy to integrate practice notes with your EHR? Or, do you have to take extra steps to document patient encounters for clinical and billing departments? 

Seek supportive partners. You can use any number of technology platforms to conduct telemedicine encounters, but not all platforms are created equal. When looking at implementing a telehealth platform, consider not only ease of use, and interoperability, but also what a particular vendor is offering: How well the telehealth platform in question can accommodate the needs of a particular specialty? What are existing clients are saying about things like training, vendor support, and the patient experience?

– Proactively engage. Your patients have most likely heard of telehealth, but they may not realize that telehealth is multifaceted and can be used to diagnose conditions such as skin disorders or allergies and can be just as effective as in-person visits. Educating patients about telehealth’s benefits, and making it easy for them to try telehealth, is essential to success.  

Expanding telehealth’s role in the medical practice benefits everyone, from physicians to patients to payers. Moving past the “stop-gap” mentality now will reap greater benefits in the future, regardless of whether we’re in the midst of a pandemic, or simply trying to provide excellent care on a day-to-day basis.


About Roland Therriault

Roland Therriault
is the President and Executive Vice President of Sales at InSync Healthcare Solutions, a provider
of integrated EHR and practice management software, revenue cycle management
services and medical transcription to thousands of healthcare professionals
throughout the United States. Roland Therriault manages all operations of the
company, driving its go-to-market strategy and overseeing all sales activities.
His experience in healthcare and technology includes more than 20 years of
direct and channel sales, strategic planning and business development. Prior to
joining InSync, Roland served as Vice President of Sales for MD On-Line, a
provider of acute and ambulatory clinical and practice management solutions.


Amwell, Tyto Care Expand Partnership to Power Augmented Virtual Care Experiences

Amwell, Tyto Care Expand Partnership to Power Augmented Virtual Care Experiences

What You Should Know:

Tyto
Care
 and Amwell® announced an expanded partnership, allowing
the companies to develop new integrations to enhance virtual care offerings for
providers.

– By pairing Tyto Care’s TytoHome device and platform
with Amwell’s platform, the two companies will together provide patients
and providers with augmented virtual care experiences and
broadly enrich the capabilities and satisfaction with healthcare organizations’
virtual care applications.


Telehealth
provider Amwell, today
announced it is expanding its partnership with Tyto Care, the
healthcare industry’s first all-in-one modular device and examination platform
for AI-powered, on-demand, remote medical exams. Together the companies will
introduce exclusive integrations and newly designed workflows and tools to
enhance the ability for providers using the Amwell platform to examine and
diagnose patients virtually. Additionally, Amwell will become a reseller of Tyto Care’s
integrated devices
.   

Tyto Care Background

Tyto Care seamlessly connects people to clinicians to provide
the best virtual home examination and diagnosis solutions. Its solutions are
designed to enable a comprehensive medical exam from any location and include a
hand-held, all-in-one tool for examining the heart, lungs, skin, ears, throat,
abdomen, and body temperature; a complete telehealth platform for sharing exam
data, conducting live video exams, and scheduling visits; a cloud-based data
repository with analytics; and built-in guidance technology and machine
learning algorithms to ensure accuracy and ease of use for patients and
insights for healthcare providers.

Conduct Exams and Diagnoses

By pairing the TytoHome handheld examination
device – which enables on-demand examinations of the heart, lungs, abdomen,
skin, throat, ears, heart rate, and body temperature – with Amwell’s telehealth
platform, providers can guide patients through
virtual health examinations and together gain real-time insight into a
patient’s health data and status directly in the visit. For patients and
providers, this will augment the virtual care experience and more broadly
enrich the capabilities and overall satisfaction associated with healthcare
organizations’ virtual care applications. This enriched workflow will be available to
thousands of Amwell hospitals, health systems, health plans
and employer clients who collectively serve millions of patients.  

“As COVID-19 wages on and more patients and providers adopt telehealth, it’s critical that we accelerate the depth of care that can be provided in the home – to keep patients and providers safe,” said Roy Schoenberg, President and Co-CEO, Amwell. “Our latest integration with Tyto Care will allow providers to clinically come closer than ever before to patients during telehealth encounters, allowing them to see, interact, examine and deliver care in ways that growingly resemble in-person care.”

Offering More Holistic Care for Patients

“Our longstanding partnership with Amwell exemplifies our shared goal of providing deeply integrated telehealth solutions that put health in the hands of consumers, creating a more impactful and seamless healthcare experience for both patients and providers,” said Dedi Gilad, CEO and Co-Founder, Tyto Care. “The integration with TytoHome will enable Amwell to offer more holistic care for patients, especially for urgent and primary care needs, as well as help to enable better adherence to treatment plans. We look forward to continuing our work together as we realize the full potential of clinic-quality, at-home care in this new era of telehealth.”

4 Areas Driving AI Adoption in Hospital Operations and Patient Safety

4 Reasons Why Now Is the Time for Hospitals to Embrace AI
Renee Yao, Global Healthcare AI Startups Lead at NVIDIA

COVID-19 has put a tremendous burden on hospitals, and the clinicians, nurses, and medical staff who make them run. 

Many hospitals have suffered financially as they did not anticipate the severity of the disease. The extended duration of patient stays in ICUs, the need for more isolated rooms and beds, and the need for better supplies to reduce infections have all added costs. Some hospitals did not have adequate staff to check-in patients, take their temperature, monitor them regularly, or quickly recruit nurses and doctors to help.

AI can greatly improve hospital efficiency, improve patient satisfaction, and help keep costs from ballooning. Autonomous robots can help with surgeries and deliver items to patient’s rooms. Smart video sensors can determine if patients are wearing masks or monitor their temperature. Conversational tools can help to directly input patient information right into medical records or help to explain surgical procedures or side effects.

Here are four key areas where artificial intelligence (AI) is getting traction in hospital operations and enhancing patient safety:

1- Patient Screening

We’ve become familiar with devices in and around our homes that use AI for image and speech recognition, such as speakers that listen to our commands to play our favorite songs. This same technology can be used in hospitals to screen patients, monitor them, help them understand procedures, and help them get supplies.

Screening is an important step in identifying patients who may need medical care or isolation to stop the spread of COVID-19. Temporal thermometers are widely used to measure temperatures via the temporal artery in the forehead, but medical staff has to screen patients one by one. 

Temperature screening applications powered by AI can automate and dramatically speed up this process, scanning over 100 patients a minute. These systems free up staff, who can perform other functions, and then notify them of patients who have a fever, so they can be isolated. Patients without a fever can check-in for their appointments instead of waiting in line to be scanned. 

AI systems can also perform other screening functions, such as helping monitor if patients are wearing masks and keeping six feet apart. They can even check staff to ensure they are wearing proper safety equipment before interacting with patients.  

2. Virtual Nurse Assistant 

Hospitals are dynamic environments. Patients have questions that can crop up or evolve as circumstances change. Staff have many patients and tasks to attend to and regularly change shifts. 

Sensor fusion technology combines video and voice data to allow nurses to monitor patients remotely. AI can automatically observe a patient’s behavior, determining whether they are at risk of a fall or are in distress. Conversational AI, such as automatic speech recognition, text-to-speech, and natural language processing, can help understand what patients need, answer their questions, and then take appropriate action, whether it’s replying with an answer or alerting staff.

Furthermore, the information recorded from patients in conversational AI tools can be directly inputted into patients’ medical records, reducing the documentation burden for nurses and medical staff.

3. Surgery Optimization 

Surgery can be risky and less invasive procedures are optimal for patients to speed up recovery, reduce blood loss, and reduce pain. AI can help surgeons monitor blood flow, anatomy, and physiology in real-time. 

Connected sensors can help optimize the operating room. Everything from patient flow, time, instrument use, and staffing can be captured. Using machine learning algorithms and real-time data, AI can reduce hospital costs and allow clinicians to focus on safe patient throughput.

But it’s not just the overall operations. AI will allow surgeons to better prepare for upcoming procedures with access to simulations beforehand. They will also be able to augment procedures as they happen, incorporating AI models in real-time, allowing them to identify missing or unexpected steps.

Contactless control will allow surgeons to utilize gestures and voice commands to easily access relevant patient information like medical images, before making a critical next move. AI can also be of assistance following procedures. It can, for example, automatically document key information like equipment and supplies used, as well as staff times. 

4. Telehealth

During COVID-19, telehealth has helped patients access their clinicians when they cannot physically go to the office. Patients’ adoption of telehealth has soared, from 11% usage in 2019 in the US to 46% usage in 2020. Clinicians have rapidly scaled offerings and are seeing 50 to 175 times the number of patients via telehealth than they did before. Pre-COVID-19, the total annual revenue of US telehealth was an estimated $3 billion, with the largest vendors focused on the “virtual urgent care” segment. With the acceleration of consumer and provider adoption of telehealth, up to $250 billion of current US healthcare spend could potentially be virtualized.

Examples of the role of AI in the delivery of health care remotely include the use of tele-assessment, telediagnosis, tele-interactions, and telemonitoring.

AI-enabled self-triage tools allow patients to go through diagnostic assessments and receive real-time care recommendations. This allows less sick patients to avoid crowded hospitals. After the virtual visit, AI can improve documentation and reimbursement processes.

Rapidly developing real-time secure and scalable AI intelligence is fundamental to transforming our hospitals so that they are safe, more efficient, and meet the needs of patients and medical staff. 


About Renee Yao

Renee Yao leads global healthcare AI startups at NVIDIA, managing 1000+ healthcare startups in digital health, medical instrument, medical imaging, genomics, and drug discovery segments. Most Recently, she is responsible for Clara Guardian, a smart hospital ecosystem of AI solutions for hospital public safety and patient monitoring.


Alnylam, gene-silencing and biotech in 2020: the pharmaphorum podcast

Alnylam’s Brendan Martin joined the pharmaphorum podcast for episode 23 to talk about his company’s work in gene-silencing and how it could offer a route to target the current coronavirus pandemic.

Brendan joined Alnylam in 2016 as one of the company’s first Europe-based employees and has helped to build and establish a presence in the region that now includes 11 offices.

Now acting head of Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Canada for Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, as well as general manager at Alnylam UK and Ireland, he also discusses just what it means to be a biotech in 2020 and his own approach to biotech leadership.

With the impact of COVID-19 still inescapable in so many ways around the globe, we also touched on its impact on Alnylam and how the company works.

You can listen to episode 23 of the pharmaphorum podcast in the player below, download the episode to your computer or find it – and subscribe to the rest of the series in iTunes, Spotify, acast and Stitcher.

 

The post Alnylam, gene-silencing and biotech in 2020: the pharmaphorum podcast appeared first on .

Lyra Health Reaches $1.1B Valuation After $110M Series D to Meet Demand for Teletherapy

Lyra Health Reaches $1.1B Valuation After $110M Series D to Meet Demand for Teletherapy

What You Should Know:

– Mental health benefits provider Lyra Health raises $110M
in Series D funding, bringing its valuation to $1.1 billion.

– Lyra has grown significantly in 2020. So far this year,
the company has added more than 800,000 new members to the population eligible
to receive Lyra benefits, bringing its total member population to more than 1.5
million. 

– Amid, the COVID-19 pandemic, Lyra is focused on
expanding its enhanced teletherapy offering — Lyra Blended Care — which pairs
video therapy sessions with personalized digital lessons and exercises based on
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) principles.


Lyra
Health
, a Burlingame, CA-based provider of mental healthcare benefits for
employers, today announced a Series D financing round of $110 million. Addition
led the round and was joined by Adams Street Partners and existing investors,
including Starbucks chairman emeritus and former CEO Howard Schultz, Casdin
Capital, Glynn Capital, Greylock Partners, IVP, Meritech Capital Partners,
Providence Ventures, and Tenaya Capital. This financing enables Lyra to invest
more aggressively in innovative, tech-enabled mental health treatments; to
partner with more customers; and to expand and diversify its high-quality
provider network.

Accessing and receiving mental healthcare is notoriously
challenging for many Americans today. Cost, social stigma, and navigating the
mental health system make it daunting for individuals to get the care they need.
In addition, only a small fraction of therapists in traditional health plans
are practicing proven methods and accepting new patients.

Founded in 2015, Lyra connects employees to high quality, effective mental health providers, and gives employees the flexibility of in-person care, live video therapy, and digital self-care tools. Lyra’s therapists only practice evidence-based therapies, like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and are available for appointments in just a few days.

Expanded Teletherapy Offering

The company is also focused on expanding its enhanced
teletherapy offering — Lyra Blended Care — which pairs video therapy sessions
with personalized digital lessons and exercises based on Cognitive Behavioral
Therapy (CBT) principles. Lyra Blended Care provides a scalable, tech-enabled
solution optimized for better care quality and clinical outcomes. In July, new
peer-reviewed Lyra research was published demonstrating the effectiveness
of this treatment program for clients with depression and anxiety. The company
plans to continue the expansion of Blended Care to serve Lyra members —
including couples and adolescents — who are experiencing a range of mental
health challenges. Lyra’s solution offers a simple and supportive member
experience, ensures immediate access to care, and prioritizes fast and durable
symptom improvement.

Why It Matters

American workers are experiencing a surge in mental health
challenges as they grapple with historic adversity amid the COVID-19 pandemic,
economic uncertainty, and a national reckoning with racial injustice. Arecent
study
 led by Lyra Health and the National Alliance of Healthcare
Purchaser Coalitions found that 83 percent of U.S. employees today are
experiencing mental health issues.

“Whether you’re dealing with a preexisting mental health condition that has intensified or new symptoms that have arisen during the pandemic, these are challenging times for many people. We are proud to support employers that are prioritizing mental health and will use this new funding to help even more organizations support the mental health and well-being of their most important asset — their people,” said David Ebersman, Lyra Health CEO and co-founder

Recent Traction/Milestones

Lyra has grown significantly in 2020. So far this year, the company has added more than 800,000 new members to the population eligible to receive Lyra benefits, bringing its total member population to more than 1.5 million. Lyra also is on track to surpass a milestone this month by delivering the one-millionth session of care through its exceptional provider network. In the last several months, leading employers in the retail, tech, energy, financial services, and the food and agriculture industries — including Morgan Stanley, Asurion, and Zoom Video Communications — have stepped up to prioritize workforce mental health by partnering with Lyra to offer employees immediate access to proven, evidence-based care from thousands of Lyra providers nationwide. This financing, on top of the Series C round completed earlier this year, positions Lyra to take advantage of the burgeoning market opportunity and the urgent need for better mental health solutions.

Boarding Appointments

The company also announced the addition of Kerry Chandler to its Board of Directors. Chandler is Chief Human Resources Officer at Endeavor, a global entertainment, sports, and content company, and she previously served as a senior executive at Under Armour; Christie’s; the National Basketball Association; ESPN; and ESPN’s parent, The Walt Disney Company. She has also served in human resources leadership roles of increasing responsibility at IBM, Motorola, Exxon, and McDonnell Douglas. Chandler brings an extensive background in human resources operations, strategy, and executive leadership.

Vocera Acquires Secure Communications Platform EASE Applications

Vocera Acquires Secure Communications Platform EASE Applications

What You Should Know:

– Today Vocera Communications acquires EASE Applications,
a provider of a secure communication platform and mobile application that
delivers updates, messages to patients’ loved ones, during surgeries and at
other times.

– The Orlando-based EASE offers a cloud-based service
that is built to improve the patient experience by enabling friends and family
members to receive timely updates about the progress of loved ones in the
hospitals. Care team members can send a patient’s loved ones HIPAA-compliant
texts, photos, and video updates putting them at ease and saving valuable time.


Vocera Communications,
Inc., 
a provider of clinical communication and workflow solutions,
today announced that it has acquired
EASE (Electronic Access to Surgical
Events),
based in Orlando, FL. EASE offers a cloud-based communication
platform and mobile application built to improve the patient
experience by enabling friends and family members to receive timely updates
about the progress of their loved one in the hospital. The EASE app
enables nurses and other care team members to send HIPAA-compliant texts,
photos, and video updates to patients’ loved ones, putting them at ease and
saving valuable time.

Patients can add friends and family members to their distribution list; and with a simple tap, caregivers can keep them informed and ease their concerns. Messages, pictures, and videos sent disappear 60 seconds after being viewed, and nothing is saved on the mobile device, providing an additional layer of security and privacy. The application also provides secure two-way video conferencing between patients’ families and care teams. Additionally, EASE enables care team members to customize in-app surveys, offering a quick way to track and improve patient engagement and satisfaction in real-time, and giving feedback and support for the caregivers.

Return on Investment

With more than 1.6 million sent messages, the EASE
application has demonstrated improved patient and family satisfaction and
reduced the number of phone calls from loved ones to the hospital. In one study
with approximately 2,500 family members, 98% said that EASE reduced their
anxiety, and 81% reported that the availability of EASE would influence their
choice of hospital. Additionally, patient satisfaction scores increased by an
average of 6% for patients who used EASE compared to patients who did not use
the application.

Issuance of Restricted Stock Units

As part of the onboarding process, Vocera will issue
restricted stock units totaling approximately 60,000 shares of Vocera common
stock to approximately eleven employees of EASE. These restricted stock units
will vest over three years after the closing and will be made from an
inducement plan adopted by the company’s board of directors pursuant to the
inducement exemption provided under the NYSE listing rules.

Genesis Health Taps Bright.md to Power New Telehealth Offering

Genesis Health Taps Bright.md to Power New Telehealth Offering for Patients

What You Should Know:

– Genesis Health System has signed a partnership agreement
with Bright.md to offer patients in the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois access
to its Bright.md’s SmartExam solution.

– The new virtual care offering offers an affordable way to get care for hundreds of low-acuity conditions, mental health, urinary tract infections, and upper respiratory infections including the flu and COVID-19. 


Genesis Health System, today
announced it has selected Bright.md’s SmartExam solution to power its new telehealth offering
as part of an effort to expand its digital health strategy. Patients in the
bi-state region of the Quad Cities metropolitan area and the surrounding
communities of Iowa and Illinois will now have access to another convenient,
affordable way to get care for hundreds of low-acuity conditions.

How SmartExam Works

Bright.md’s care-delivery platform, SmartExam, works like a virtual physician’s assistant. The AI-powered platform automates 90% of a primary or urgent care visit, boosting provider efficiency 15x and increasing the capacity to treat hundreds of patients in a single provider shift. Healthcare systems use SmartExam to deliver treatment for hundreds of conditions, such as flu, pediatrics, dermatology, muscular-skeletal, and behavioral health issues.

By intelligently and automatically combining patient-intake data, interview information, electronic health records, and clinical-workflow integration, the platform enables providers to rapidly diagnose and treat patients with low-acuity conditions, escalating those with more serious conditions to a higher level of care.

Why It Matters

“Demand for virtual care options was growing even before people around the country were asked to stay home due to COVID-19,” said Dr. Kurt Andersen, Senior Vice President, Physician Operations/Chief Medical Officer President of Genesis Health System. “With Bright.md’s innovative telehealth delivery platform and our umbrella of convenient care services, we’re well-positioned to address the situation at hand—for both coronavirus-infected patients and those with other conditions—and be prepared to serve the needs of our patients in a post-COVID-19 landscape.”

The pandemic has shone a light on digital health and in particular telehealth. $5.4 billion has been invested in the digital health sector this year, and analysts predict that telehealth appointments could top $1 billion by year-end. Increased demand for virtual care solutions is fueling this funding frenzy. 

Genesis has offered virtual video visits with their providers since 2015. However, Dr. Andersen and his team recognized the demand for more innovative telehealth tools to complement their current convenient care of services, especially in times of high-demand due to the pandemic. “SmartExam gives Genesis patients another telehealth option and provider’s a greater ability to navigate, triage, and treat patients virtually,” said Dr. Andersen. “And because the automation built into SmartExam streamlines provider workflows, we know our providers will also agree it is a great tool to treat our patients.”

Behind the Byline: The Count — And the Toll

 

Although the coronavirus pandemic shut down many organizations and businesses across the nation, KHN has never been busier ― and health coverage has never been more vital. We’ve revamped our Behind the Byline YouTube series and brought it to Instagram TV.

Journalists and producers from across KHN’s newsrooms take you behind the scenes in these bite-size videos to show the ways they are following the story, connecting with sources and sorting through facts — all while staying safe.

Lydia Zuraw: The Count — and the Toll

The Guardian and KHN are documenting the lives of U.S. health care workers who have died of COVID-19 complications after being exposed to the coronavirus on the job. Profiles from the Lost on the Frontline project are updated twice a week. So, for months, California Healthline producer Lydia Zuraw has spent endless hours preparing photos, managing text and gathering assets to make sure the posts look great for publication. As the countless faces pass her desk, the death toll is sometimes “emotionally draining,” Zuraw said. But the work has also been a reminder that each person had a family, hobbies and people who loved them, she said.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

USE OUR CONTENT

This story can be republished for free (details).

COVID-19 Underscores Why Certain Aspects of the American Healthcare System Should Change Forever

Medsphere CEO Talks Affordable Healthcare IT and Future of EHRs
Irv Lichtenwald, President & CEO of Medsphere Systems Corporation

In the late 1940s, the United Kingdom was busily reassembling country and what remained of the empire in the aftermath of World War II. Among many revelations, the war had convinced Britain’s leaders of the need to provide healthcare for all in the event of calamity upending the basic functions of a civilized society. With that, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) was born.

In 2020, all perspectives about quality and the time it takes to see a provider aside, the NHS remains quite popular among UK citizens and is an enduring source of national pride.

With the United States in the midst of its own upheaval, it’s for a related question: Might the current COVID-19 situation give rise to significant changes to the American healthcare system? 

Virtually no one thinks the correct answer is ‘No.’ Things will change. The question is how and to what extent. The healthcare system in place in the United States now is dramatically more complex than that in use by Britons after WW II. There are so many moving parts, so many things that can break. 

So, in which aspects of the current American healthcare system are we likely to see changes after COVID-19 is dealt with?

Telehealth: Someone always benefits in a catastrophe. In this case, that someone may be Zoom shareholders.

From 10 million daily users in December, Zoom rocketed to 200 million in March and nearly 300 million a month later. Much of that was healthcare related. 

Of course, Zoom is not the only direct beneficiary of coronavirus as venerable meeting platforms like WebEx and Skype, among others, have also experienced dramatic growth.

Hospitals and health systems were incrementally implementing telehealth services prior to the coronavirus outbreak, but there was no sense of urgency that accompanies a rapidly spreading virus. Since then, the federal government, states and insurance companies have allocated funds and rewritten regulation to expand the use of telehealth. 

But there are more telehealth related-issues to address, some of which have thorns. Service and payment parity across insurance companies is an issue. If telehealth is going to be a regular component of healthcare, technology gaps will have to be addressed, especially in rural areas. 

This is something the federal government recognizes. The White House recently drafted an executive order oriented around improving rural health by expanding technology access, developing new payment models and reducing regulatory burdens. The EO tasks the secretaries of health and human services and agriculture to work with the Federal Communications Commission to “develop and implement a strategy to improve rural health by improving the physical and communications healthcare infrastructure available to rural Americans.” But until Congress gets involved and provides funding for something like this, it will probably never get out of the proposal phase. 

In fact, there are enough concerns—parity, technology gaps, added costs—associated with telehealth to wonder if it will endure after coronavirus is in the rear view. Enough about telehealth benefits both providers and patients for it to stick and proliferate, but that could also be said about any number of healthcare initiatives that seem to languish for lack of coordination and political will. 

Health Insurance: This is where the NHS analogy is the most relevant. Many millions of workers are furloughed or simply laid off with the impact of COVID-19 on frontline jobs like restaurant worker, massage therapist and barista. Those who had insurance through work may not have it anymore, leaving them doubly vulnerable—no coverage, no income—to illness or accident. 

Mass unemployment episodes reveal, each time, the weakness in the patchwork employment-based healthcare insurance system we’ve sort of made peace with for decades. Sure, Medicaid exists to fill the gaps, but it may make sense to render Medicaid unnecessary, especially since its value is questionable in particular states.

“You notice the number of band-aids that Congress is having to apply to help people who have lost their jobs,” said former CMS Administrator Don Berwick, MD. “What we have now is a whole series of band-aids and special measures. What if instead, we just had universal health insurance?”

What if, indeed. Will COVID-19 be the straw that burns the bridge of employer-based health insurance, to mangle a metaphor? That may depend on how long the pandemic lasts, who is president sometime after November 3 and how much damage is done to the national fabric before economy and society start a process of repair.

Payment Models: For years now, hospitals have been in the middle of slow shift from fee-for-service care to value-based care and alternative payment models. That transition didn’t happen quickly enough to prevent most hospitals from falling into a financial chasm. If elective procedures are a big part of revenue, it follows that revenue will fall if those procedures disappear. 

To be fair, the hit to hospital finances has been catastrophic enough—more than $200 billion in losses over four months, according to the American Hospital Association—that federal government support would have been necessary even if a full pay-for-quality model had been in place.  

But the pandemic spotlights the downside of treating essential services like healthcare as though they are mere services one selects or rejects. And it exposes the folly of not making sure everyone has insurance coverage (a payer) when the individual costs for COVID-19-related hospital admission can range from $20,000 to $88,000. 

End-of-Life Care: According to one analysis, 42 percent of COVID-19 deaths have occurred in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. The families of those unfortunate souls who’ve died while in a facility have generally endured the agony of saying goodbye outside a window or over a video link. It’s hard to believe, after COVID-19, that the assisted living industry will continue as before. 

“The crisis surely will lead nursing home administrators to reconsider the way patients are cared for,” says Modern Healthcare. “Among the ideas Harvard’s [Professor David] Grabowski believes will get a longer look in the wake of the pandemic are using telemedicine services, creating specialized Medicare Advantage plans for the homes and pursuing smaller settings.”

Perhaps. And perhaps a son or daughter that remembers coronavirus will simply choose not to risk everything by putting their parent in a home. Could enough of them make such a decision that the industry contracts? Is forced to take quality care more seriously? Attracts more serious federal regulation? 

As the deaths mount, it’s hard not to give every option serious consideration. 

Supply Chain: These days we’re bickering in public and on social media (looking at you, maskless Karen throwing food in Trader Joes) about whether or not masks should be mandated. Look back with me  to February, however, and you’ll fondly recall concerns about there being enough masks at all. 

Back then we learned that the United States had exactly one mask manufacturer, and that all other masks are sourced from overseas. That it takes longer to get stuff from China than from Amarillo creates obvious potential problems when a crisis hits, but it also pits hospitals and government entities against one another and guarantees that the winner will pay more for supplies than they would in less-critical times. 

It also creates weird, unnecessary scenarios that could be avoided using coordination and leadership. The governor of Maryland, for example, used his wife’s connections to South Korea (her country of birth) to secure 500,000 coronavirus tests, which he then put in an undisclosed location and protected using national guard troops. 

What’s the remedy? 

Modern Healthcare has called for a national supply chain czar, which in other times may have just been the head of FEMA. The suggestion, however, highlights the need for a coordinated central clearing house where supplies can be ordered, managed and dispersed based on need. 

Individual hospitals, clinics and health systems can also help themselves by using a robust supply chain software system that keeps track in real time of available supplies, covers all ordering systems and methodologies, and reacts swiftly to certain thresholds. 

The uniquely unfortunate aspect of the American political system among western democracies is that, for the most part, it responds to the demands of special interests. Think about your local representative. Chances are good the shouts of specific business interests are ringing in his or her hears so loudly that little else is audible. 

As such, there is a significant danger that the American healthcare system will return, post-COVID-19, to the same dynamic it had when the virus arrived, which will be unfortunate. What we need post-pandemic is not necessarily specific changes to hospitals, clinics, insurance companies, etc., though they could be part of an overall solution. What will be necessary is an examination of where every aspect of the healthcare system overall, inasmuch as there is one, didn’t do its job.   

Disasters are social sodium pentothal that, while active, force groups of people to take an honest look at their failures. Once the disaster is passed, however, there is a danger that Upton Sinclair’s maxim—“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it”—will rule the day. 

No one hopes for more dramatic damage to the American economy and social fabric, but the irony is that necessary change sometimes only comes when reality is undeniable, as in a shellshocked Britain instituting the NHS. If COVID-19 doesn’t shock us sufficiently into making substantial changes to the healthcare system, it’s a pretty safe bet the same disaster will occur again.

Ginger Lands $50M to Expand On-Demand Mental Health Support Platform

Ginger Lands $50M to Expand On-Demand Mental Health Support Platform

What You Should Know:

– Ginger announces $50 Million in Series D funding to expand
access to its on-demand mental healthcare system led by Advance Venture
Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners; joined by Cigna Ventures and existing
investors.

– Company has more than tripled revenue over the past year, now brings access to on-demand mental healthcare to millions around the world through 200+ employer clients and leading health plans.


Ginger, a San Francisco, CA-based provider of on-demand
mental healthcare, today announced a $50 million Series D funding round led by
Advance Venture Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners. Additional participants
include Cigna Ventures and existing investors such as Jeff Weiner, Executive
Chairman of LinkedIn, and Kaiser Permanente Ventures. This latest round of
investment brings the company’s total funding to over $120 million. 

On-Demand Mental Health Support

Founded in 2011, Ginger’s on-demand mental healthcare system
brings together behavioral health coaches, therapists, and psychiatrists, who
work as a team to deliver personalized care, right through your smartphone. The
Ginger app provides members with access to the support they need within
seconds, 24/7, 365 days a year. Millions of people have access to Ginger
through leading employers, health plans, and its network of partners.

By delivering evidence-based behavioral health coaching,
therapy and psychiatry right from a smartphone, Ginger is the only end-to-end
telemental health provider designed to meet this skyrocketing demand at a
fraction of the cost of traditional care.

Key benefits of Ginger’s on-demand mental health platform
include:

On-demand, anywhere: On average, members in 30
countries around the world can text with a Ginger behavioral health coach
within 44 seconds, 24/7, 365 days per year; first available video appointments
with a therapist or psychiatrist are available on average within 10.5
hours. 

Measurement-based: The company’s proprietary
collaborative care model has been proven to be more than twice as effective as
standard therapeutic interventions; 70 percent of people using Ginger
experience an improvement in their depression symptoms within 10-14
weeks. 

Loved by members: Ginger members give an average
rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars after each session.  


COVID-19 Underscores Record Demand for Mental Health
Support

This announcement comes at a time when the world’s mental
health crisis has reached an all-time high following the onset of the COVID-19
pandemic. According to Ginger’s 2020
Workforce Attitudes Toward Mental Health Report
, nearly 70 percent of U.S.
workers believe this is the most stressful period of their careers, including
major events like the September 11 terror attacks, the 2008 Great Recession and
others. Ginger has observed record-high demand for mental health support;
during July 2020, weekly utilization rates were 125% higher for coaching and
265% higher for therapy and psychiatry when compared to pre-COVID-19 averages.

Recent Traction/Milestones

Millions of people have access to Ginger through the
company’s partnerships with innovative employers, health plans, and strategic
partners. Today, over 200 companies ranging from startups to Fortune 100s,
including Delta Air Lines, Sanofi, Chegg, Domino’s, SurveyMonkey, and Sephora,
partner with Ginger to cost-efficiently provide employees with high-quality
mental healthcare. Ginger members can also access virtual therapy and
psychiatry sessions as an in-network benefit through the company’s
relationships with leading regional and national health plans, including Optum
Behavioral Health, Anthem California, and Aetna Resources for Living.  

The company recently announced the formation of the Ginger Advisory Board, bringing together world-renowned experts from MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the University of Washington to advance mental health research and innovation. 

“Our mental healthcare system has long been inadequate. But in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and a tumultuous sociopolitical climate, we’re facing uncharted territory,” said Russell Glass, CEO, Ginger, “People are demanding better care, and the largest payers of healthcare are recognizing the need to respond. Ginger is uniquely able to reverse the course of this crisis at scale. With this investment, we can accelerate our work to deliver incredible mental healthcare at a fraction of the cost to the hundreds of millions of people around the world who deserve it.”

Why Now Is The Time to Reimagine Healthcare Through Technology

The Tech Isn’t New – It’s Time to Embrace It (How Patient Comforts Improve All of Healthcare)
Jeff Fallon, CEO, eVideon

It wasn’t that long ago that people went to the bank on a Friday to cash their paper paychecks. Maybe they’d put some in checking and take some out in cash. They’d go to the grocery store over the weekend and maybe write one of those checks. Everyone always had to have a pen with them.

It wasn’t that long ago that people would call the ticket agent and discuss flight options for vacation. They’d send a paper ticket in the mail. When it was time to go, people would carry that ticket with them through the airport and onto the plane. (Of course, people could also keep their shoes on and could bring as much shampoo as their heart desired).

It wasn’t that long ago that if someone needed surgery, they’d have to call to schedule it. The hospital would call again the day before to tell them what time to come. People would travel there, fill out a bunch of paperwork, and be wheeled around to several different areas and talk to several different people. Eventually, they’d wake up post-surgery in a hallway with a bunch of other people and hopefully a family member. They’d wheel the person to their room where they’d have a small TV for entertainment, a dry erase board with some names on it and maybe the room number, and a stack of papers on the bedside table – cafeteria menus, instructions, important phone numbers and the like.

Oh wait – that time is now.

Better, more convenient systems are a no brainer for industries like banking and travel, but the hospital experience is still rife with paper handouts, basic cable packages, and manual dry erase boards with markers that don’t work half the time. Patients shouldn’t settle for that, and in this era when COVID-19 has led healthcare to embrace lots of other conveniences (like telehealth for remote doctors’ appointments), they won’t settle for it anymore.

Imagine a new kind of hospital room. While nobody should take a patient’s TV away, there’s so much more that can be done with patient TV. Most people have smart TVs in their homes that serve as a complete hub for their entertainment. Add a smartphone to the mix, and people can do nearly anything from their couch. A hospital bed should be no different.

Since EMRs became mandatory years ago, hospitals have relied on them as the source of truth for patient records and information. But EMRs paired with additional technology can do so much more. Now, hospitals can pull information from the EMR to personalize the patient experience. Imagine a hospital room TV greeting you by name with soothing music and welcoming imagery. Imagine the pillow speaker handset transforming into a smart TV remote where you can peruse movies on demand, live TV, or Netflix. Take it a step further – imagine that TV can talk to your EMR, so you can watch educational content just for you based on your condition, so you can learn about your care, treatment, and how to recover when you go home. 

Imagine adding more systems. Integrate dietary systems (in concert with the EMR) to let patients order their meals without sifting through paper and dialing phone numbers – as they do at home when they’re using DoorDash. Imagine letting patients dim the lights, request a blanket, or turn the thermostat up if they’re cold, without climbing out of bed and risking a fall. Imagine letting patients use their phones to input important information for the care team to know, or to video chat with a “visitor,” even during a pandemic when in-person visits aren’t allowed – even if the person on the other end doesn’t have a Zoom account or an iPhone for FaceTime.

Imagine never seeing a dry erase board in a patient room again. Instead, a digital display automatically updates with all the patient’s latest information, based on what’s in the EMR. 

Imagine up-to-the-minute precautions displayed instantly and digitally outside each patient’s room so care teams know what PPE they need before they go in.

Technology exists to do all these things. The early adopters are already seeing increased patient satisfaction scores that seem to consistently climb. Beyond that, especially now when nurse retention and preventing care team burnout are paramount, these technologies alleviate the burden on them. Streamlining, digitizing, and virtualizing all aspects of care and a patient’s time in the hospital benefits staff, too. When nurses don’t have to search all over to find markers that work or run back and forth to the printer to get pages of hand-outs for patients, they can spend more quality face time with patients and operate at top of license. 

When patient education is delivered in the right way, at the right time to the bedside, you’re not just saving printer paper – you’re giving patients the tools to succeed at home and avoid costly readmissions. It’s time to reimagine healthcare, and there’s no better time than now when the window to adopt new technology is wide open.


About Jeff Fallon

Jeff Fallon brings over 30 years of experience in healthcare technology, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and diagnostics to eVideon as their Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining eVideon, he helped distinguished organizations such as Johnson & Johnson and patient experience technology companies forge innovative strategic relationships and strategies.

AstraZeneca, Eko Collaborate to Advance Innovation Around Heart Failure

FDA Breakthrough Status Granted for Heart Failure Algorithm by Eko

What You Should Know:

– Eko today announced a global collaboration with
AstraZeneca to accelerate the development of digital health tools for the
earlier screening of cardiovascular diseases, including heart failure. 

– Through the collaboration, AstraZeneca and Eko will explore accelerating the development of Eko algorithms, enhancing clinical trials with Eko technology, and potentially building new heart failure detection solutions.


Eko, a digital health company building AI-powered screening and telehealth solutions to fight cardiovascular disease, today announced with AstraZeneca to accelerate the development of digital health tools for the earlier screening of cardiovascular diseases, including heart failure. Through the collaboration, AstraZeneca and Eko will explore accelerating the development of Eko algorithms, enhancing clinical trials with Eko technology, and potentially building new heart failure detection solutions.

Why It Matters

Heart failure is one of the leading causes of morbidity and
mortality, affecting approximately 64 million people worldwide. Heart failure
happens when the heart cannot pump enough blood into the body and is most
commonly detected by echocardiogram imaging tests that are not normally
conducted during a physical exam. Because of the limited access to
echocardiography or other diagnostic tests, heart failure is frequently
diagnosed late, making life-prolonging treatment more challenging. Heart
failure remains as fatal as some of the most common cancers and is the leading
cause of hospitalization for those over the age of 65, representing a
significant clinical and economic burden.

Eko’s AI-Powered telehealth platform for virtual pulmonary
and cardiac exams, providing clinicians within-person level exam capabilities
during video visits. The platform is already deployed by more than 200 health
systems for telehealth, the platform goes beyond standard video conferencing to
facilitate stethoscope audio, ECG live-streaming, and FDA-cleared
identification of atrial fibrillation (AFib) and heart murmurs.

“Eko was founded to provide a better way to understand our heart and lung health and to improve cardiopulmonary care for patients through digital technology and novel algorithms,” said Connor Landgraf, CEO and co-founder of Eko. “Eko’s collaboration with AstraZeneca will allow us to expand the capability of our technology, generate real-world data, and explore disease management solutions while leveraging AstraZeneca’s global expertise and existing relationships across the treatment continuum for heart failure.”

The Adoption of Telehealth During the Pandemic will Shape Healthcare’s New Normal

Beyond Interoperability: Data Activation and Artificial Intelligence for Healthcare
Abhinav Shashank, CEO and Co-founder of Innovaccer Inc.

COVID-19 has presented healthcare with a challenge like no other, with nearly nine million cases all over the world and over 470,000 lives lost. The speed of the outbreak and the disruption caused by it has created unforeseen challenges for communities and economies, and it’s especially apparent in healthcare delivery. Healthcare systems in nations around the globe have dedicated substantial resources to respond to the pandemic and the growth has only somewhat stymied. 

While the U.S. healthcare brings all hands on deck to treat the COVID-19 patients, we have seen a massive acceleration in the use of telehealth to make sure care delivery is not delayed for other patients. The U.S. telehealth market is expected to reach around $10 billion by the end of the year- a dynamic that will remain on its course after the pandemic as well. According to a report, the telehealth market is set to be valued at $175.5 billion by 2026. 

During this period, hospitals across the country will invest more in telehealth solutions to create familiarity with virtual care. However, virtual care encompasses many more benefits than video conferencing with patients. While many health systems have stepped up to leverage telehealth, there is still a long way to go. 

COVID-19 has led to wide-spread telehealth adoption

COVID-19 has certainly changed the outlook towards telehealth. While it was already experiencing significant momentum prior to the pandemic, it has gone from a ‘good-to-have’ to a vital component of care delivery today for providers and patients alike. A McKinsey survey revealed that the number of patients that had used telehealth increased from 11 percent in 2019 to 76 percent in 2020. Even the providers have witnessed 50 to 175 times the number of patients via telehealth than before. 

One of the most important considerations behind the increase in telehealth adoption is that while a significant number of the U.S. population is under stay-at-home orders, this is the only way people can communicate with their physicians. Additionally, the adoption of telehealth can also be instrumental in mitigating the competition for healthcare resources. The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) can be saved for medical staff on the line while other providers can care for their patients from the safety of their homes or clinics. Importantly, the recent CARES Act waived the historical restrictions of telehealth availability to patients in rural areas, and that these services could only be offered from an institutional setting. Telehealth can now be provided to patients at any location with physicians connecting with them from their preferred location.

Another important development is the relaxed HIPAA privacy standards to allow the use of standard video conferencing apps such as Zoom, Skype or FaceTime. As long as the use of these applications gives providers the flexibility to connect with patients remotely, this selective regulation could be in good faith. 

However, this begs the question: could non-HIPAA compliant solutions be a viable, long-term solution? Does the telehealth domain extend as far as video conferencing? How can telehealth be modified to suit the new normal in healthcare? 

Extending the use of telehealth to engage healthcare in a broader way

While the surge in telehealth adoption was somewhat dramatic, the shift to a new normal has to be step-wise and planned for a more efficient healthcare system. There are still factors to consider that could be a potential challenge in the adoption of telehealth, such as lack of awareness of telehealth offerings, poor infrastructure or access to support virtual care and suitable insurance coverage. 

The applications of telehealth can be leveraged in multiple ways. Healthcare organizations can leverage telehealth as an alternative to emergency departments (ED) and urgent care visits. Patients can connect with their physicians remotely regarding their immediate concerns such as an unexplained stomach ache or unusual skin rash to avoid a trip to the ED or urgent care. This could prove extremely important in reducing the number of ED visits and subsequently, lower the cost of care. 

Building on that, virtual consultations with an established provider can also be considered. These consultations can include primary care visits for regular check-ups for chronic conditions, a common cold or psychotherapy. Providers can also conduct follow-up visits and decide later if the patient requires in-person care. This combination of virtual care along with in-person care can help in devising a dynamic care plan for patients and better manage population health

Combining telehealth with a healthcare data platform can be the foundation of a connected care framework that can focus on improving access to care and its continuity. A platform that is HIPAA-compliant can be easily used by the providers to connect with their patients and is an optimal way to have effective virtual consultations. Ideally, providers and patients should connect on a platform that gives providers access to their patients’ previous clinical information from across the continuum of care. This would help in reducing the time that goes into shuffling patient files, gathering patient histories, and keying it back into electronic health records.

A virtual, connected care framework could be crucial in connecting all the dots in care. With virtual visits and remote monitoring being conducted on the same platform, providers can coordinate care among each other to ensure minimal friction in the care for patients. For example, real-time changes in the vital signs of a patient diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes can be recorded by the primary care physician and be communicated to the care team. The care team can devise a care plan to address the needs of the patient or direct them to an urgent care clinic to be further assessed. This could be followed by a virtual check-in call with the physician and appropriate follow-up care. 

Preparing for the new normal in healthcare

Amid the urgency of the pandemic, it is important to consider what the U.S. healthcare system may look like after the pandemic is over and how the strategies we have implemented during this time will evolve. 

For healthcare systems to truly embrace the potential for virtual care, physicians have to realize that telehealth is not just a substitute for face-to-face care delivery but a way of enhancing the care experience. To have telehealth as a concrete foundation for virtual care, all digital capabilities and patient information have to be accessible in real-time. Virtual care in healthcare has emerged as an enabler of change and healthcare organizations should sufficiently leverage this opportunity to improve their outcomes, their management of population health, and enhance the health of all of their patients.

COVID-19 will alter our healthcare permanently. The demand for care has changed and any future value-based care efforts will likely be accelerated. The goal is to achieve a lower cost of care while improving the quality of care leading to a healthier population- telehealth is an important tool to achieve that goal. The future of healthcare will be dependent on taking on risk, delivering care to patients in real-time and implementing strategies that are focused on providing care using the most efficient technologies. 


About Abhinav Shashank

Abhinav Shashank is the CEO and Co-founder of Innovaccer Inc., a leading healthcare data activation platform. In his role as the CEO, Abhinav has laid the foundation for Innovaccer’s success as a leading data activation platform company and registering a 400% y-o-y growth. Abhinav has also been given a coveted spot in ‘Forbes- 30 Under 30 Asia 2017: Enterprise Tech’ and recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the ‘Top 50 rising leaders in US healthcare under 40.’”


Novartis, company culture and COVID-19: the pharmaphorum podcast

Novartis’ Steven Baert joined the pharmaphorum podcast for episode 22 to discuss how COVID-19 will change the face of company culture, now and in the future.

We also looked at how Novartis’ own operations had to change in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the considerable challenges that presented him as its chief people and organisation officer.

It’s a role that sees him responsible for the physical and mental wellbeing of 130,000 employees around the world, huge numbers of which had to rapidly transition to new ways of remote working.

Steven also talked about how his company’s culture has already changed in response to COVID-19 and what he thinks the virus means for pharma’s future working practices.

You can listen to episode 22 of the pharmaphorum podcast here, download the episode to your computer or find it – and subscribe to the rest of the series in iTunes, Spotify, acast and Stitcher.

The post Novartis, company culture and COVID-19: the pharmaphorum podcast appeared first on .

How COVID-19 is Driving Changes in Hospital Safety Through Technology

How COVID-19 is Driving Changes in Hospital Safety Through Technology
Scott Heather, VP of Professional Services US, Bits In Glass

COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on all of us, and it’s likely that many aspects of our daily lives will never return to “normal.” In the same way that we scoff at the notion of driving cars without seatbelts today, we’ll likely feel the same about many other previously normal things we did pre-pandemic. 

This will most certainly include the way we manage high-risk spaces where there’s close contact and a higher than average risk of infection – like hospitals, airports, retail stores, restaurants, gyms, and more. These spaces could require the addition of constant monitoring using sensors and IoT devices to track people, temperatures, movements, and items. This would make it possible to monitor environmental health risks in real-time.

This approach may sound extreme at first, but in places such as hospitals, it becomes crucial, because these spaces host vulnerable populations, infected individuals, as well as healthcare workers. The importance of keeping healthcare workers healthy has never been more top of mind. With shortages of masks, gloves, and other protective equipment, as well as international efforts to “flatten the curve,” we now recognize a critical weakness in the healthcare system as it has been forced to scale in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic. 

Healthcare workers are the most likely to be infected with COVID-19 within a healthcare facility. Between February 12 and April 9, among 315,531 COVID-19 cases reported to the CDC, 9,282 or (19%) were identified as healthcare professionals. Additionally, 20% of positive tests in Ohio, have been healthcare workers. This can be especially dangerous because symptoms may not appear for up to two weeks, meaning healthcare workers can transmit the virus to non-COVID-19 patients who have pre-existing health conditions. 

Aside from maintaining a plentiful inventory of protective equipment such as masks and gloves, technological advancements can create “smart” hospitals with the ability to sense, analyze, and enable real-time human-machine collaboration to take immediate action on events. “Smart” hospitals provide a proactive and accurate way to maintain cleanliness standards, adhere to sanitation protocols, and monitor patients, employees, and assets to keep everyone safe. 

Stopping the spread

While COVID-19 patients in hospitals are often secluded to private rooms, they may need to be brought to other areas for imaging or other services, potentially contaminating other areas.  COVID-19 spreads primarily from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, which are expelled when the person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. These droplets can be inhaled by healthy individuals, but they can also land on objects and surfaces such as doorknobs and handrails, and it’s possible to become infected by touching these surfaces and then touching one’s eyes, nose, or mouth. 

We know that in hospitals it’s crucial to ensure that there is an established plan to keep infected individuals from having unnecessary contact with non-infected individuals. It’s also important that there’s a thorough cleaning and disinfecting of spaces, facilities, or machines for patients with non-COVID-19 care needs. 

Contact tracing becomes extra important when an infection is present, but in practice can be challenging. Typically, staff must work with the patient to help them recall everyone they’ve had close contact with during the time they may have been infectious. This can be difficult and is easy for patients to forget encounters, particularly as they come down with the infection. 

To improve this process in high-risk areas like hospitals, an electronic real-time tracking system can be used using sensors and cameras throughout a hospital to keep track of who and what each person comes into contact with. This could be other patients, equipment, or simply the areas they have spent time throughout the facility to help reduce the risk of contamination and infection spread.

Further, the system could also be configured so that when a patient comes in contact with a piece of equipment, an alert such as a text message or email can be triggered to ensure that the equipment is cleaned. This can also be performed retroactively if the patient is only known to be infected after the fact.

Sanitation and physical distancing 

Sanitation and physical distancing have been a cornerstone of successful virus containment within our communities. So naturally, this responsibility must be extended to healthcare facilities to protect both healthcare workers and our most vulnerable. Hospitals can measure the effectiveness of protocols and identify areas of the facility that require additional security or increased signage.

IoT devices such as bio-stickers can be used to capture a patient’s temperature or other vitals to be streamed to the care teams’ laptops, tablets, or mobile devices. This reduces the need for staff to come in physical contact with infected patients. 

Tracking physical distancing and facial covering requirements can be done using cameras, whereas hand sanitization compliance can be tracked by relating staff sensor locations to IoT-enabled dispensers. Based on individual hospital policies and CDC recommended guidelines, when a staff member comes within proximity of a hand sanitizer dispenser in key areas requiring sanitation, sensors within the dispenser can trigger an alert to be sent to the employee’s device reminding them to sanitize their hands. Sinks and handwashing stations however would require video or other visual tracking to verify compliance.

This global COVID-19 pandemic has opened our eyes to ways we need to better support our hospitals and the essential frontline workers risking their lives to keep us healthy and safe. As technology and digital solutions are part of our everyday lives, they are also here to help ease the burden on our healthcare system and build smarter, more connected hospitals that will ultimately benefit all of us, every day. 


About Scott Heather

Scott Heather, Vice President of Professional Services US, Bits In Glass

As Bits In Glass’ Vice President of Professional Services in the US and Practice Lead for Blue Prism and VANTIQ, Scott is responsible for the overall performance and execution of these lines of business, as well as the strategy for implementation and customer success. He has over 19 years of Information Technology experience with a focus on deploying business process solutions on a variety of enterprise software platforms.


How COVID-19 is Driving Changes in Hospital Safety Through Technology

Scott Heather, Vice President of Professional Services US, Bits In Glass

COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on all of us, and it’s likely that many aspects of our daily lives will never return to “normal.” In the same way that we scoff at the notion of driving cars without seatbelts today, we’ll likely feel the same about many other previously normal things we did pre-pandemic. 

This will most certainly include the way we manage high-risk spaces where there’s close contact and a higher than average risk of infection – like hospitals, airports, retail stores, restaurants, gyms, and more. These spaces could require the addition of constant monitoring using sensors and IoT devices to track people, temperatures, movements, and items. This would make it possible to monitor environmental health risks in real-time.

This approach may sound extreme at first, but in places such as hospitals, it becomes crucial, because these spaces host vulnerable populations, infected individuals, as well as healthcare workers. The importance of keeping healthcare workers healthy has never been more top of mind. With shortages of masks, gloves, and other protective equipment, as well as international efforts to “flatten the curve,” we now recognize a critical weakness in the healthcare system as it has been forced to scale in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic. 

Healthcare workers are the most likely to be infected with COVID-19 within a healthcare facility. Between February 12 and April 9, among 315,531 COVID-19 cases reported to the CDC, 9,282 or (19%) were identified as healthcare professionals. Additionally, 20% of positive tests in Ohio, have been healthcare workers. This can be especially dangerous because symptoms may not appear for up to two weeks, meaning healthcare workers can transmit the virus to non-COVID-19 patients who have pre-existing health conditions. 

Aside from maintaining a plentiful inventory of protective equipment such as masks and gloves, technological advancements can create “smart” hospitals with the ability to sense, analyze, and enable real-time human-machine collaboration to take immediate action on events. “Smart” hospitals provide a proactive and accurate way to maintain cleanliness standards, adhere to sanitation protocols, and monitor patients, employees, and assets to keep everyone safe. 

Stopping the spread

While COVID-19 patients in hospitals are often secluded to private rooms, they may need to be brought to other areas for imaging or other services, potentially contaminating other areas.  COVID-19 spreads primarily from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, which are expelled when the person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. These droplets can be inhaled by healthy individuals, but they can also land on objects and surfaces such as doorknobs and handrails, and it’s possible to become infected by touching these surfaces and then touching one’s eyes, nose, or mouth. 

We know that in hospitals it’s crucial to ensure that there is an established plan to keep infected individuals from having unnecessary contact with non-infected individuals. It’s also important that there’s thorough cleaning and disinfecting of spaces, facilities, or machines for patients with non-COVID-19 care needs. 

Contact tracing becomes extra important when an infection is present, but in practice can be challenging. Typically, staff must work with the patient to help them recall everyone they’ve had close contact with during the time they may have been infectious. This can be difficult and is easy for patients to forget encounters, particularly as they come down with the infection. 

To improve this process in high-risk areas like hospitals, an electronic real-time tracking system can be used using sensors and cameras throughout a hospital to keep track of who and what each person comes into contact with. This could be other patients, equipment, or simply the areas they have spent time throughout the facility to help reduce the risk of contamination and infection spread.

Further, the system could also be configured so that when a patient comes in contact with a piece of equipment, an alert such as a text message or email can be triggered to ensure that the equipment is cleaned. This can also be performed retroactively if the patient is only known to be infected after the fact.

Sanitation and physical distancing 

Sanitation and physical distancing have been a cornerstone of successful virus containment within our communities. So naturally this responsibility must be extended to healthcare facilities to protect both healthcare workers and our most vulnerable. Hospitals can measure the effectiveness of protocols and identify areas of the facility that require additional security or increased signage.

IoT devices such as bio-stickers can be used to capture a patient’s temperature or other vitals to be streamed to the care teams’ laptops, tablets, or mobile devices. This reduces the need for staff to come in physical contact with infected patients. 

Tracking physical distancing and facial covering requirements can be done using cameras, whereas hand sanitization compliance can be tracked by relating staff sensor locations to IoT-enabled dispensers. Based on individual hospital policies and CDC recommended guidelines, when a staff member comes within proximity of a hand sanitizer dispenser in key areas requiring sanitation, sensors within the dispenser can trigger an alert to be sent to the employee’s device reminding them to sanitize their hands. Sinks and handwashing stations however would require video or other visual tracking to verify compliance.

This global COVID-19 pandemic has opened our eyes to ways we need to better support our hospitals and the essential frontline workers risking their lives to keep us healthy and safe. As technology and digital solutions are part of our everyday lives, they are also here to help ease the burden on our healthcare system and build smarter, more connected hospitals that will ultimately benefit all of us, every day. 

About Scott Heather, Vice President of Professional Services US, Bits In Glass

As Bits In Glass’ Vice President of Professional Services in the US and Practice Lead for Blue Prism and VANTIQ, Scott is responsible for the overall performance and execution of these lines of business, as well as the strategy for implementation and customer success. He has over 19 years of Information Technology experience with a focus on deploying business process solutions on a variety of enterprise software platforms.

Virtual Behavioral Health Could Reduce Costs, Improve Patient Outcomes, Report Finds

What You Should Know:

– A new Accenture report called “Breakthrough Behavioral
Health Access: Think Virtual” finds that the use of virtual behavioral health could
expand care for more than 53 million Americans facing these conditions.

– Demand for behavioral health specialists significantly outweighs current availability; in addition to severe wait times of 25 days for first clinical appointments, we are projected to have a shortage of 250,000 behavioral health and mental health professionals by 2025.

– Just a 1% increase in treatment for these disorders would save $2.4 billion annually and could yield as much as $2.4 billion in medical cost savings annually.


The use of virtual delivery channels could expand treatment
to 53 million Americans suffering from behavioral health issues, according
to a new report from Accenture. The
report, “Breakthrough Behavioral Health Access: Think Virtual,” is
based on a survey of more than 3,400 people in the U.S. diagnosed with or
having symptoms related to specific behavioral health conditions such as
anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress syndrome, attention deficit disorder
or reported themselves as having addiction or substance abuse issues.

Access to Behavioral Healthcare Barriers

Access to behavioral healthcare is especially challenging.
Beyond the burden on individuals, the challenges of accessing and delivering
behavioral health services have a ripple effect across healthcare. Payers,
providers, employers, government and life sciences companies are all impacted
differently.

“The behavioral health crisis in the U.S. isn’t new, but the pandemic is clearly exacerbating it,” said Rich Birhanzel, a senior managing director at Accenture who leads the company’s Health practice globally. “The rapid expansion of virtual care models during lockdown in the current pandemic created new expectations for effective and reliable healthcare at a distance. While our research found that only 38% of respondents hadn’t been widely using a virtual channel for such treatment in the prior three years, they’re now overwhelmingly willing to do so.”

Virtual Health Can Shatters Barriers

Virtual Behavioral Health Could Reduce Costs, Improve Patient Outcomes, Report Finds

Current data indicates that nearly 58 million adults and
8 million youth between the ages of six and 17 in the U.S. have mental
health and/or substance use disorders, yet only 43% of affected adults are receiving
treatment for them. Four in five respondents (81%) of the Accenture survey said
they would either definitely or probably engage in a virtual channel to manage
their behavioral health condition. Applying this finding to the 66 million
adults and youths impacted by these disorders suggests that virtual channels
could expand care to approximately 53 million people. Furthermore, the number
of people with such conditions is likely to rise due to the current environment
of COVID-19, record unemployment, and widespread social unrest.
 
Among the channels respondents said they’d be willing to use include on-demand
videos (cited by 55%), webchat (63%), individual therapy via voice (59%) and
individual therapy via voice plus video (56%).

The research shows younger patients are much more likely
than older ones to engage in virtual behavioral health services. The report
notes that this is critical insight for employers as they develop their
workforce and talent strategies, particularly since millennials comprise the
largest percentage of the U.S. labor force, followed by Gen Zers.

In addition to improving people’s lives, better access to
care and treatment is a potential breakthrough in terms of overall outcomes and
medical spending as behavioral health patients typically have co-occurring
medical conditions and as a result, can have two to three times the amount of
associated health expenditures. Related Accenture analysis shows that even a 1%
increase in treatment for behavioral health disorders in the U.S. could yield
as much as $2.4 billion in medical cost savings annually, due largely to the
fact that individuals with behavioral health conditions often have other
medical conditions.

From Tipping Point to Transformation

The report notes three fundamental factors that healthcare
providers should consider to remain relevant and responsive to consumers’
needs:

· Control the personal cost. Four in 10 respondents
(44%) said they would only use such channels if the services are provided at
low or no cost to them. Public and private organizations sponsoring these
solutions will need to think through how to lower costs to
consumers—particularly those in need. 

· Orbit around experience. Beyond cost, consumers want convenience and positive user experience. While consumers are hungry for behavioral health services through virtual channels, the design of the programs and consumers’ experiences will make or break adoption no matter the demand.

· Make all the connections. Coordination and integration of care with a whole-person approach is critical. Services should be offered in the context of individuals’ physical health, and data-sharing and interoperability among different healthcare stakeholders are critical to providing the most effective care.

Report Background/Methodology

For the Accenture 2020 Behavioral Health Consumer Survey,
Accenture surveyed 3,448 US consumers ages 13 and over to better understand
attitudes and behaviors related to virtual health options for treating mental
health conditions and substance abuse issues. All survey respondents were
either diagnosed with and/or had symptoms related to specific mental health
conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, ADD/ADHD, or reported themselves
as having addiction issues. Survey respondents received anonymity and
represented a cross-section of the population based on age, location,
ethnicity, insurance coverage, gender and income. The survey was conducted by
Dynata in May and June 2020.

Central Maine Healthcare, Innovaccer Partner to Power Data-driven Telehealth Capabilities

Central Maine Healthcare, Innovaccer Partner to Power Data-driven Telehealth Capabilities

What You Should Know:

– Innovaccer has recently partnered with Central Maine
Healthcare (CMH), an integrated healthcare delivery system that serves over
400,000 people in the central, western, and mid-coast regions of the state, to
connect providers with their patients through data-driven telehealth, powered
by its FHIR-enabled Data Activation Platform.

– The care delivery system will conduct data-enabled
virtual visits to assist its providers with efficient, remote care amid the
COVID-19 crisis and beyond.


Innovaccer, Inc., a
San Francisco, CA-based healthcare technology company, has partnered with Central Maine Healthcare (CMH), an integrated
healthcare delivery system that serves over 400,000 people in the central,
western, and mid-coast regions of the state, to connect providers with their
patients through data-driven telehealth,
powered by its FHIR-enabled Data Activation Platform. The collaboration will
empower physicians at CMH with the ability to care for their patients with
real-time virtual visits and remote consultation experiences during the
pandemic.

When many patients are reluctant to visit the clinic to
avoid potential exposure to the coronavirus, healthcare organizations are
implementing virtual exam rooms and data-enabled telehealth visits for
chronically-ill patients in their care. 

With Innovaccer’s Virtual Care solution built on top of its
FHIR-enabled Data Activation Platform and its data-driven telehealth
capabilities, the providers at CMH can conduct online patient consultations as
seamlessly as traditional onsite visits. The care teams at CMH can streamline
their workflows with the solution’s automated bulk messaging and outreach
capabilities. The platform will also assist providers in expediting the
follow-up process through telehealth consultations with secure messaging and
improve patient engagement with the health system. 

In addition to scheduling HIPAA-compliant HD video visits,
the solution’s virtual patient examination room can empower providers at CMH to
send and receive pre-visit assessments, texts, and email through secure
messaging.

Providers at CMH will be using the Virtual Care solution to
provide educational material for their patients, conduct smart outreach and
enable pre-visit planning with accurate patient self-assessments. With the
solution, providers at CMH can manage post-call logs to streamline their care
management approach.  

Given the situation we are all in, healthcare needed a new approach to tackle the pandemic. Central Maine Healthcare adopted a modern approach to care delivery where our primary focus was to offer our patients a virtual care option to make it easier for them to seek care, wherever they may be. Innovaccer’s FHIR-enabled Data Activation Platform expertise will be helpful for us in strengthening our virtual care and it will be a good addition to our strategy going forward,” says Steven Martel, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer, CMH

Provider Pilot Uses Video Games as Therapy for Children with Autism

Provider Pilot Uses Video Games as Therapy for Children with Autism

What You Should Know:

– Magellan Health launches a pilot program for a group of
providers that will begin using video games as therapy for children with autism
and other behavioral health conditions. 

– As part of the pilot program, patients will be given
access to the video platform developed by Mightier, a digital health company
born out of Boston Children’s’ Hospital and Harvard. 

– The games include a wearable heart rate monitor &
tablet loaded with 25 different games, each designed to help children learn how
to regulate their emotional reactions and manage stress, anxiety through deep
breathing, etc.


Magellan Health,
Inc.,
one of the nation’s leaders in behavioral health, today
announced a collaboration between Magellan Healthcare (Magellan), the
behavioral and specialty healthcare segment of the company, and Neuromotion,
Inc., developer of Mightier, an
in-home digital platform that empowers children to learn lifelong emotional
skills through play, to make Mightier available to certain Magellan members in
a pilot program.

“Children are increasingly being diagnosed with behavioral
health disorders and the impact is felt by the entire family,” said Matthew
Miller, senior vice president, behavioral health, Magellan Healthcare. “We are
proud to launch this pilot with Mightier as a cost effective,
outcomes-based treatment. By teaching children how to navigate daily challenges
through visual technology they learn how to cope and properly manage their
stress in a meaningful and fun way.”

Pilot Program Details

Developed at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical
School, the Mightier program pairs video games with clinically validated
emotion calming skills to help kids learn through play. In addition to the
video game platform, caregivers are supported with a personalized dashboard to
track progress, access to the Mightier Parent community, and 1-1 coaching with
a licensed, master’s level clinician to tailor the program to
their individual family needs.

Over the last three years, Mightier has reached more than
25,000 families worldwide, with thousands of new families being added every
month. Over 75 percent of families report improvement made possible by an
unwavering commitment to building an engaging experience supported by clinical
expertise.

By combining Magellan’s market-leading clinical experience and network of providers specializing in autism with Mightier’s innovative technology, children and families participating in the pilot will receive high-quality care focused on positive outcomes.

Jason Kahn, PhD, Mightier’s Chief Scientific Officer says the collaboration will set the stage to positively impact families and improve outcomes for children with ASD. “Mightier is a new tool that supports the increasing diagnoses of autism and other behavioral health disorders. Our solution meets kids and families where they are: at home. The pandemic amplifies this need even further, we need new ways to support kids and families. Our digital program can play a significant role by providing evidenced-based, personalized interventions from the comfort of home.”

Eko Awarded $2.7M NIH Grant for Heart Murmur & Valvular Heart Disease Detection Algorithms

FDA Breakthrough Status Granted for Heart Failure Algorithm by Eko

What You Should Know:

– The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has granted next-generation
cardiac AI company Eko an award totaling $2.7 million to support continued
collaborative work with Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute

– The grant will focus on validating algorithms and help
more accurately screen for heart murmurs and valvular heart disease during
routine office visits with Northwestern Medicine.

– By incorporating data from tens of thousands of heart
patterns into Eko sensors and algorithms, clinicians will have
cardiologist-level precision in detecting subtle abnormalities from normal
sounds.


Eko, a digital health company
building AI-powered screening
and telehealth solutions to
fight cardiovascular disease, today announced it has been awarded a $2.7
million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant by the National
Institutes of Health (NIH). The grant will fund the continued collaborative
work with Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute to validate
algorithms that help providers screen for pathologic heart murmurs and valvular
heart disease during routine office visits.

Eko and Northwestern first announced their collaboration in
March 2019 to provide a simpler, lower-cost way for clinicians to identify
patients with heart disease without the use of screening tools such as
echocardiograms which are typically only available at specialty clinics. By
incorporating data from tens of thousands of heart patterns into the
stethoscope and its algorithms, clinicians will have cardiologist-level
precision in detecting subtle abnormalities from normal sounds.

“Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and valvular heart disease often goes undetected because of the challenge of hearing murmurs with traditional stethoscopes, particularly in noisy or busy environments. A highly accurate clinical decision support algorithm that is able to detect and classify valvular heart disease will help improve accuracy of diagnosis and the detection of potential cardiac abnormalities at the earliest possible time, allowing for timely intervention,” said James D. Thomas, MD, director of the Center for Heart Valve Disease at Northwestern Medicine and the clinical study’s principal investigator. “Our work with Eko aspires to extend the auscultatory expertise of cardiologists to more general practitioners to better serve our patient community, playing a pivotal role in growing the future of cardiovascular medicine.”

Recent FDA Clearance and Telehealth Platform Launch

This recognition comes on the heels of several key company
milestones, including the clearance
of Eko’s cardiac AI algorithms by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the
launch
of Eko’s AI-powered telehealth
platform. Eko’s ECG-based deep learning algorithm, developed on a large
clinical dataset in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic, can help efficiently
identify signs of possible heart failure in patients.

Eko’s AI-Powered telehealth platform for virtual pulmonary and cardiac exams, providing clinicians within-person level exam capabilities during video visits. The platform is already deployed by more than 200 health systems for telehealth, the platform goes beyond standard video conferencing to facilitate stethoscope audio, ECG live-streaming, and FDA-cleared identification of atrial fibrillation (AFib) and heart murmurs.

Virtually or In-Person, Automation Improves The Healthcare Experience

Virtually or In-Person, Automation Improves The Healthcare Experience
Muthu Alagappan, MD, Medical Director at Notable Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented shift in the way consumers view and access a variety of goods and services—and healthcare is no exception. Recent studies show that many patients, including vulnerable populations like those living with cancer, are delaying recommended care and procedures—and will continue to do so for at least several months amid fears over the safety of in-person visits. In response, reports of providers adapting to offer care virtually are all the more commonplace, with almost half of physicians now treating patients through telemedicine platforms, up from just 18 percent in 2018.

These trends have solidified virtual care as a mainstay, and as a result, the virtual visit has become a commodity—a service that can be provided by many capable vendors. However, the logistics that power the adoption of virtual care are often overlooked. As healthcare administrators turn to telemedicine to resume “non-urgent” healthcare services, we must ensure that best-in-class technology solutions are utilized to improve the virtual care experience—for providers, clinical staff, and, importantly, patients.

Health systems and their networks face significant operational issues when delivering care in a remote setting, due to the range of potential interactions and diversity of devices—adding to the already recognized administrative burden that comes with routine patient care. With each patient visit comes over a dozen manual tasks, including patient intake and registration, in-visit clinical note writing, as well as back-office billing and claims processing. The virtual visit adds even more steps, such as helping patients access the appropriate technology for a two-way video interface or sending custom links to a “virtual waiting room” at the right time.

Facilitating a seamless virtual care experience before, during, and after a patient’s visit should be top-of-mind—particularly as patient expectations have heightened and healthcare has progressed towards a technology-enabled future. Fortunately, the automation of operational workflows can help healthcare administrators smooth the friction around conducting virtual visits at scale.

Intelligent automation extends our capacity in healthcare by enabling us to do more with the same workforce and technology infrastructure. In fact, digital medical assistants can use artificial intelligence to automate repetitive, cognitively tiring, and error-prone tasks. This technology can support the influx of virtual visits by offloading administrative processes, such as co-payment collection, clinical documentation, and pre-population of common clinical orders. 

For patients not as familiar with digital interactions and the variety of telemedicine modalities, which can include platforms like Amwell, Doctor on Demand, and Teladoc or video conference solutions like RingCentral and Zoom, participating in virtual visits can be a daunting change. Additional technological challenges associated with virtual care can result in heightened frustration, increased no-show rates, or decreased activation, so maintaining patient engagement throughout the patient journey is even more important in a virtual environment. Digital medical assistants can automate appointment reminders, offer detailed setup guidance for patients, and provide “just-in-time” virtual visit links to ensure patients and providers can make the most of their time together.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also introduced new variables and risks that patients, providers, and healthcare institutions at-large must consider when seeking and delivering care. Until recently, it was a relatively straightforward process to determine where a patient should receive routine care. Now given the risk of disease spread, providers find themselves considering which patients to see when to see them and whether to see them virtually or in-person.

This creates additional complexity in determining when to schedule patients and in which medium to conduct the visit. Platforms that leverage intelligent automation can help clinical teams to pre-screen all scheduled patients, collect a thorough medical history, intelligently segment patients into risk cohorts and triage each cohort to an individualized destination, be it a return to in-person care or a virtual environment.

In the “virtual exam room,” things also look a little different. From the provider’s perspective, one of the oft-cited drawbacks of virtual visits is the limited ability to measure vital signs, perform a physical exam or order point-of-care diagnostics. At-home diagnostics, wearable devices and remote patient monitoring tools allow providers to collect continuous clinical data that can be gathered asynchronously and quickly, resulting in a more comprehensive picture of a patient’s health. Further, platforms that use intelligent automation algorithms to organize data collected across the care continuum can parse these data streams to identify at-risk patients and then automate outreach and care management to follow clinical care pathways.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given us a unique opportunity to reimagine healthcare using a modern suite of technology for patients, providers and staff that does away with outdated and inefficient processes. But we also have a responsibility to replace them with solutions that improve digital experiences by supporting patients before visits, automating repetitive workflows, and parsing large amounts of data to support clinical decision-making.

Combining intelligent automation with virtual visits creates a powerful tool to efficiently manage patient populations and offer an experience that feels intuitive while enabling healthcare systems to do more with less. By accelerating the digital transformation of healthcare today, we can position ourselves for a future of increased capacity, decreased overhead, and improved quality.


Muthu Alagappan, MD, is an attending physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, a trained engineer, and medical director at Notable Health, a healthcare experience automation company. 

Behind The Byline: ‘Reporting From a Distance’

Although the coronavirus pandemic shut down many organizations and businesses across the nation, KHN has never been busier — and health coverage has never been more vital. We’ve revamped our Behind The Byline YouTube series and brought it to Instagram TV.

Journalists and producers from across KHN’s newsrooms take you behind the scenes in these bite-size videos to show the ways they are following the story, connecting with sources and sorting through facts — all while staying safe.

Anna Almendrala — Reporting From a Distance

KHN reporters have had to change the way they interact with the people during in-person interviews — in order to keep themselves and others safe. Los Angeles correspondent Anna Almendrala takes us with her as she speaks with street vendors across the Los Angeles area. Sometimes the protective layers she wears create, well, social distance: “I’m shocked that people have agreed to talk to me when I’m looking like this,” Almendrala said. An interview with one face mask seller probably would have ended with a hug if it weren’t for COVID-19, she said.

Microsoft Releases Public Preview of Azure IoT Connector for FHIR to Empower Health Teams

Microsoft Releases Public Preview of Azure IoT Connector for FHIR to Empower Health Teams

What You Should Know:

– Microsoft released the public preview of Azure IoT
Connector for FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources), the latest
update to the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare.

– The Azure IoT Connector for FHIR makes it easy for
health developers to set up a pipeline to manage protected health information
(PHI) from IoT devices and enable care teams to view patient data in context
with clinical records in FHIR.


This week, Microsoft released the preview of Azure
IoT Connector for FHIR
—a fully managed feature of the Azure API for FHIR.
The connector empowers health teams with the technology for a scalable
end-to-end pipeline to ingest, transform, and manage Protected Health
Information (PHI) data from devices using the security of FHIR APIs.

Telehealth
and remote monitoring. It’s long been talked about in the delivery of
healthcare, and while some areas of health have created targeted use cases in
the last few years, the availability of scalable telehealth platforms that can
span multiple devices and schemas has been a barrier. Yet in a matter of
months, COVID-19 has accelerated the discussion. There is an urgent need for
care teams to find secure and scalable ways to deliver remote monitoring
platforms and to extend their services to patients in the home environment.

Unlike other services that can use generic video services
and data transfer in virtual settings, telehealth visits and remote monitoring
in healthcare require data pipelines that can securely manage Protected Health
Information (PHI). To be truly effective, they must also be designed for
interoperability with existing health software like electronic medical record
platforms. When it comes to remote monitoring scenarios, privacy, security, and
trusted data exchanges are must-haves. Microsoft is actively investing in
FHIR-based health technology like the Azure IoT Connector for FHIR to ensure
health customers have an ecosystem they trust.

Azure IoT Connector for FHIR Key Features

With the Azure IoT Connector for FHIR available as a feature
on Microsoft’s cloud-based FHIR service, it’s now quick and easy for health
developers to set up an ingestion pipeline, designed for security to manage PHI
from IoT devices. The Azure IoT Connector for FHIR focuses on biometric data at
the ingestion layer, which means it can connect at the device-to-cloud or cloud-to-cloud
workstreams. Health data can be sent to Event Hub, Azure IoT Hub, or Azure IoT
Central, and is converted to FHIR resources, which enables care teams to view
patient data captured from IoT devices in context with clinical records in
FHIR.

Key features of the Azure IoT Connector for FHIR include:

– Conversion of biometric data (such as blood glucose, heart
rate, or pulse ox) from connected devices into FHIR resources.

– Scalability and real-time data processing.

– Seamless integration with Azure IoT solutions and Azure
Stream Analytics.

– Role-based Access Control (RBAC) allows for managing
access to device data at scale in Azure API for FHIR.

– Audit log tracking for data flow.

– Helps with compliance in the cloud: ISO 27001:2013 certified supports HIPAA and GDPR, and built on the HITRUST certified Azure platform.

Microsoft customers are already ushering in the next generation of healthcare

Some of the healthcare organizations who are embracing the technology include:

– Humana will accelerate remote monitoring programs for
patients living with chronic conditions at its senior-focused primary care
subsidiary, Conviva Care Centers.

– Sensoria is enabling secure data exchange from its Motus
Smart remote patient monitoring device, allowing clinicians to see real-time
data and proactively reach out to patients to manage care.

– Centene is managing personal biometric data and will
explore near-real-time monitoring and alerting as part of its overall priority
on improving the health of its members.

Same-Day Pharmacy Delivery NowRx Raises $20M to Expand into Additional Territories

Same-Day Pharmacy Delivery NowRx Raises $20M to Expand into Additional Territories

What You Should Know:

– Same day
pharmacy delivery startup NowRx raises $20 Million in Series B funding to expand
into new U.S. territories and accelerate its technology roadmap, transforming
the way consumers get their prescriptions. 


NowRx
’s competitive
advantage is its proprietary pharmacy management system, which leverages AI and
robotics to fill and deliver prescriptions in record time, including
interfacing with insurance, checking for drug interactions, bottling/labeling
in 30 seconds, offering video chats & text with pharmacists, as
well as safe, reliable and convenient home delivery from NowRx’s HIPAA-trained drivers.

– In the
last year, NowRx has grown its new customer base by 84% and increased
revenues by 78%. Since its first delivery in 2016, it has delivered over
200,000 prescriptions to more than 28,000 customers.


NowRx, a Mountain View,
CA-based same-day pharmacy delivery company experiencing rapid growth during
the coronavirus pandemic, has raised $20 million
in Series B funding round through SeedInvest.com, a leading Regulation A+ crowdfunding platform. This round is the largest
in SeedInvest history and brings the company’s total funding to $30 million.

Retail pharmacy is a $400 billion industry that relies on expensive real estate to drive foot traffic and depends on outdated, legacy software systems to manage prescriptions. Founded in 2015, NowRx exists to provide the most convenient pharmacy experience available, with free, same-day delivery of prescription medications. Expedited one-hour delivery is also offered for a $5.00 charge. All pharmacy services are provided from a low cost, highly automated “virtual pharmacy” location, utilizing end-to-end robotic dispensing (“One-Click Fill”) and artificially intelligent chatbots, coupled with NowRx drivers and plug-in electric vehicles, to provide a more efficient and effective pharmacy experience for busy customers.

“The real reason you are stuck waiting in line for your prescription is that the large chain pharmacies actually want you in their stores so you’ll make other purchases while you’re there,” said NowRx CEO and co-founder Cary Breese. “This flawed strategy ignores the fact that consumers are eager to avoid the hassle and risk of in-store shopping, especially during a pandemic.” According to Breese, these retailers are unable to offer a good customer experience with prescriptions because their legacy software systems and manual processes create bottlenecks and inefficiencies. “By re-engineering pharmacy management software and deploying modern automation technology in our low-overhead, high-tech micro-fulfillment centers, NowRx provides a far better customer experience at the same or better margins than the largest players in the industry,” he added.

How It Works

Customers and physicians are able to use the services through the NowRx app, by text, by telephone, and through virtual assistants such as Google Home. Physicians are able to send prescriptions to NowRx through electronic prescribing, fax, the NowRx app, or telephone. Current services provided include fulfilling new prescriptions or refills, transferring prescriptions from other pharmacies, consulting pharmacists via phone, and applying of drug manufacturer coupons.

NowRx Pharmacy is easy to use and works in 3 simple steps.

1. You or your doctor sends a prescription to NowRx Pharmacy

2. Once NowRx has received your prescription, they will
reach out to you in order to get some basic information (insurance, payment
method, preferred delivery time, etc.).

3. Once everything has been confirmed NowRx will deliver
your medication in under 5 hours for your regular copay.

Quickfill Pharmacy Automation

NowRx’s competitive advantage comes from its proprietary pharmacy management software technology, QuickFill (v3.5), which was built from the ground up to streamline and simplify prescription fulfillment and delivery while reducing costs and improving customer service. QuickFill was recently certified by the nation’s leading health information network, Surescripts Health Alliance Network, which unifies electronic health records (EHR) vendors, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), pharmacies, clinicians, and health plans and connects QuickFill to more than 1.5 million physicians across the U.S.

The Quickfill technology suite includes both a consumer app that provides customers with transparency and control over their prescriptions as they are being processed, as well as Wheelz, the driver app that coordinates delivery by NowRx’s HIPAA-trained drivers, enables delivery signatures and transactions, and tracks deliveries in real-time through GPS.

QuickFill technology also incorporates end-to-end robotic dispensing. When a customer clicks on the button to order a refill, that order is automatically routed to the nearest NowRx micro-fulfillment center, where the robots sort, count, bottle and label each medication in less than 30 seconds. The Quickfill software also streamlines the insurance approval process and even has an automated coupon feature that has saved customers millions of dollars by automatically searching for and applying drug manufacturer coupons. Since deploying its fully automated, end-to-end robotic dispensing technology, NowRx has filled more than 15,000 prescriptions (each in less than 30 seconds)

Traction/Milestones

NowRx recently opened one of its high-tech micro-fulfillment facilities in Burlingame, its fourth in California, and has recently received its pharmacy permit to operate another facility in Arizona. In the last year, NowRx has grown its new customer base by 84% and increased revenues by 78%. Since its first delivery in 2016, NowRx has delivered over 200,000 prescriptions to more than 28,000 customers.

NowRx is on track to achieve profitability even as it
exceeds customer expectations by providing free, same-day delivery. According
to SeedInvest CEO and Co-Founder Ryan Feit, investors on the popular Regulation
A+ crowdfunding platform were quick to grasp the advantages of NowRx even
before the COVID-19 pandemic because so many have first-hand experience with
the hassle of getting prescriptions filled. “Investors understand the
problem NowRx is solving,” he said.  

Fueling Expansion into Additional Territories

The funds will be used to launch more of NowRx’s high-tech micro-fulfillment centers to bring free same-day prescription medication delivery to customers in additional territories. NowRx will also use the funds to accelerate the technology roadmap for its proprietary pharmacy management software and logistics technology to increase efficiencies and improve profitability.

NowRx pharmacy currently has multiple locations throughout the Silicon Valley and Orange County California areas.

COVID-19 Has Permanently Shifted Patient Behavior Towards Virtual Care

Report: How COVID-19 Has Permanently Changed Patient Behavior Towards Virtual Care

What You Should Know:

– The COVID-19 crisis has significantly impacted the
patient care paradigm, and the ripple effects have altered patient behaviors
and expectations, requiring a significant change in how life sciences companies
engage with and support patients

– Accenture surveyed 2700 patients about changes in care
during COVID-19 and found a major shift to virtual care, which patients
embraced.

– Virtual care is here to stay and can be an integral
part of the patient experience with health care providers and as part of
clinical trials.

– With 70% of patients deferring or canceling treatment, virtual tools were widely adopted as an essential lifeline for continuing care.


The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently shifted patient behavior towards virtual care, according to a new survey from Accenture. The Accenture COVID-19 Patient Survey conducted in May across China, France, Germany, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. asked 2,700 oncology, cardiology, or immunology patients globally how patient care has changed during COVID-19. The survey revealed patients have embraced virtual care and communications at very high rates as a result of COVID-19 and nine out of 10 reported the quality of care was as good or better than before.

Patients Chose to Defer and Change their Care

As restrictions came into effect, patients faced difficult choices about whether and how to continue their treatments. Many healthcare providers canceled appointments, and transportation options were shut down. Patients were afraid to risk exposure to COVID-19 by going to their healthcare providers for regular treatment, and many (70%) deferred or canceled at least some elements of their treatment.
 
But nearly half of all surveyed patients also started getting some treatment at home instead of going to their healthcare provider’s office and they began using virtual tools such as video conference calls, online chat, and apps. 1 out of 5 patients switched to a different therapy due to COVID-19, while nearly half considered making a change. Patients were concerned about how treatment might affect their risk of COVID-19, and about the method and timing required for specific treatments.

Sixty-three percent of those who used video conferencing
said it was very good or excellent, an impressive response given 70% were using
video conferencing for treatment for the first time. By using technology to
support communication and care, healthcare providers were largely able to
maintain or even improve on the patient experience.

Other key findings of the survey include:

Trust in the Healthcare Ecosystem Increased

 Forty-seven percent of respondents said they received better, more personalized responses; 41% said quicker responses and 40% said it was more convenient to access through new communications channels.
 
In addition, the overall trust in the healthcare system has increased. Sixty percent of patients surveyed said their trust in healthcare providers has increased, and 45% said their trust in pharmaceutical and medical device companies has increased.

Virtual care helped keep some clinical trials going

Worryingly, many clinical trials were disrupted by COVID-19.
Seventy-seven percent of patients said their clinical trials were suspended or
delayed, which could have a knock-on effect on the speed in which new
treatments come to market.
 
However, for trials that continued, the use of virtual care was critical for
consultations, treatment, and monitoring. Consider that 61% of patients whose
trials continued used some form of virtual communication or care.

Using virtual technologies as a regular part of the clinical trial process would not only improve resilience to disruptions but would help to improve the patient experience.
 
Patients said they want to be consulted more, but they are currently far from the center of the clinical trial design process. As decisions were being made on how to modify clinical trials due to COVID-19, only 14% of surveyed patients were asked about what changes would work for them. This held true across all therapeutic areas and geographies.
 
“Increasing virtual communication and treatment options offers multiple benefits for clinical trials, as one-third of all patients in trials reported that even before COVID-19, they had difficulty making appointments or physically getting to clinics for treatment,” said Michel. “Patients want more video conferencing and fewer clinic visits, which would make clinical trials more convenient and accessible.”

For more information, the full report is available for
download here.

Doctor On Demand Raises $75M to Expand Comprehensive Virtual Care Platform

Doctor On Demand Raises $75M to Expand Comprehensive Virtual Care Platform

What You Should Know

– Doctor On Demand raises $75M in Series D
funding led by General Atlantic to expand comprehensive virtual care.

– Doctor On Demand is seeing record usage
this year – up 139% – for COVID-19 screenings, routine health issues, chronic
conditions and behavioral health.

San Francisco, CA-based Doctor On Demand, today announced it
has raised $75 million in Series D funding led by General Atlantic, a leading
global growth equity firm, with participation from existing investors. The
funds will be used to accelerate Doctor On Demand’s investments in growth and
further expand access to high-quality, comprehensive virtual care for patients
nationwide.

Founded in 2012, Doctor On Demand offers immediate,
video-based access to top physicians and psychologists for just $40 per visit,
with no subscription fees for partners via the iPhone, iPad,Android and
desktop.  With over 98 million covered lives and a 4.9/5 patient
satisfaction rating, Doctor On Demand is the preferred
virtual care provider of consumers, health plans and employers. The company’s
unmatched technology platform and clinical model of fully employed providers
gives patients a continuum of care and the ability to build trusted, personal
relationships with their providers. 

Recent Traction/Milestones

Following robust growth in 2019, Doctor On Demand
experienced accelerated momentum in the first half of 2020, with the COVID-19
pandemic driving increased demand for the company’s integrated medical and
behavioral health services. The company more than doubled its covered lives in
the past six months, propelling Doctor On Demand to its 3 millionth virtual visit.
In response to the public health emergency, the company mobilized quickly to
roll out its critical virtual medical services to 33 million Medicare Part B
beneficiaries across all 50 states, just weeks after the Centers for Medicare
and Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded coverage to allow for the reimbursement of
telemedicine visits for this high-risk patient population.

While COVID-19 has driven a sharp increase in utilization of
Doctor On Demand’s urgent care and behavioral health services, more than half
of the company’s 2020 future growth is focused on the continued expansion of
its Virtual Primary Care offering. This service enables health plans and
employers to deliver cost-efficient, comprehensive virtual care inclusive of
integrated behavioral health, 24/7 everyday & urgent care, and chronic care
management to their populations while reducing costs.

“In April 2019, Humana and Doctor On Demand launched On
Hand™, a first-of-its-kind health plan that centered on comprehensive virtual
primary care,” said Chris Hunter, Segment President, Group and Military
Business at Humana. “This new plan design represented a paradigm shift in
healthcare, and demonstrated that our members can and will build long-term
relationships with primary care providers and care teams in a virtual-first
care setting.” 

“Even before the pandemic, we recognized the importance of
providing integrated, virtual medical and emotional health care for our
associates,” said Adam Stavisky, SVP, US Benefits at Walmart. “Our early
decision to partner with Doctor On Demand helped us respond quickly as the
crisis hit, allowing us to immediately meet the care needs of our associates
and their families where and when they need it.”

VA, Philips to Create World’s Largest Tele-Critical Care System for Veterans

VA, Philips to Create World’s Largest Tele-Critical Care System for Veterans

What You Should Know:

– U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs selects Philips to create the world’s largest tele-critical care system, further integrating tele-health and delivering quality care for veterans.

– The ten-year contract, which enables
VA to invest up to $100 million with Philips for
tele-critical care technology and services, leverages Philips history of innovation, including research into
technologies that can better support veterans, telehealth, tele-critical care
(eICU), diagnostic imaging, sleep solutions and patient monitoring.


U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has awarded a contract to Philips to expand VA’s tele-critical care program, creating the world’s largest system to provide veterans remote access to intensive care expertise, regardless of their location. The ten-year contract, which enables VA to invest up to $100 million with Philips for tele-critical care technology and services, leverages Philips history of innovation, including research into technologies that can better support veterans, telehealth, tele-critical care (eICU), diagnostic imaging, sleep solutions and patient monitoring.

VA’s Committed Focus to Telehealth for Veterans

VA is
the largest integrated healthcare system in the U.S., consisting of more than
1,700 sites and serving nearly nine million veterans each year. It has become a
leader in developing telehealth services in order to improve access to care and
federate care delivery. In fiscal year 2019 alone, VA delivered more than 2.5
million telehealth episodes. Additionally, VA was able to expand video to home
appointments from approximately 10,000 to 120,000 per week between February and
May of 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, the pandemic has increased
the share of Americans participating in telehealth from 11% in 2019 to 46%
today, with healthcare systems reporting a 50 to 175-fold increase in
telehealth volume compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Tele-Critical Care Program

As part
of an overall telehealth
program
, eICU enables a co-located team of specially trained critical
care physicians and nurses to remotely monitor patients in the ICU regardless
of patient location. With VA managing 1,800 ICU beds nationwide, eICU not only
gives patients access to specialists, but also helps them deliver on the
Quadruple Aim: optimizing care costs, enhancing clinician and patient
satisfaction and improving outcomes. Research has shown that patients in eICU
settings spend less time in the ICU and have better outcomes. Moreover,
family members can talk to clinicians via integrated audio and video technology
to support decision making.

“VA’s
relationship with Philips will help to expand
and improve our tele-critical care program,” said Robert Wilkie, U.S.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs. “This is particularly critical to provide
Veterans access to quality health care when and where they need it
and for improving their health outcomes.”

To
date, more than 20% of U.S. adult ICU beds and 1 in 8 adult ICU patients are
monitored by a 24/7 continuous demand model powered by Philips’ eICU Program,
which combines A/V technology, predictive analytics, data visualization and
advanced reporting capabilities [3, 4]. The core of these proven solutions
is Philips eCareManager software, which uses
advanced analytics and AI to synthesize patient data and deliver actionable
insights to support proactive care in coordination with onsite staff.

Today, Philips continues to work closely with the DoD, VA and
academic partners to drive innovations that can better
support care for troops, as well as telehealth technologies that
can bring care closer to home for our nation’s veterans.

“Philips is committed to improving the lives of 3 billion
people a year by 2030 and is working closely with VA to support one of our most
important initiatives: improving the health of our service men and women,” said
Vitor Rocha, Chief Market Leader for Philips North
America. “By connecting advanced telehealth technologies, clinical data, as
well as clinicians, patients and their families, Philips can
help VA make virtual care a reality and deliver quality health care for one of
our most deserving communities: our nation’s veterans.”

Class property employ ancho red multi level mansion

Struggling to sell one multi-million dollar home currently on the market won’t stop actress and singer Jennifer Lopez from expanding her property collection. Lopez has reportedly added to her real estate holdings an eight-plus acre estate in Bel-Air anchored by a multi-level mansion.

The property, complete with a 30-seat screening room, a 100-seat amphitheater and a swimming pond with sandy beach and outdoor shower, was asking about $40 million, but J. Lo managed to make it hers for $28 million. As the Bronx native acquires a new home in California, she is trying to sell a gated compound.

Black farmers in the US’s South— faced with continued failure their efforts to run successful farms their launched a lawsuit claiming that “white racism” is to blame for their inability to the produce crop yields and on equivalent to that switched seeds.

I’m thinking I’m back you want a war or you want to just give me a gun everything’s got a price rusty, I guess. You stabbed price rusty, the Devil in the back how good to see you again.

Steve Jobs

Struggling to sell one multi-million dollar home currently on the market won’t stop actress and singer Jennifer Lopez from expanding her property collection. Lopez has reportedly added to her real estate holdings an eight-plus acre estate in Bel-Air anchored by a multi-level mansion. The property, complete with a 30-seat screening room, a 100-seat amphitheater and a swimming pond with sandy beach and outdoor shower, was asking about $40 million, but J. Lo managed to make it hers for $28 illion. As the Bronx native acquires a new home in California, she is trying to sell a gated compound.

Lopez has reportedly added to her real home in California

Lo managed to make it hers for $28 million. As the Bronx native acquires a new home in California, she is trying to sell a gated compound in the Golden State. The 17,000 square-foot Hidden Hills property with mountain views boasts nine bedrooms, including a master suite with private terrace and an entertainment wing, which includes a 20-seat theater, dance studio and recording studio. China’s youngest female billionaire has unloaded her triplex penthouse in Sydney.

The 17,000 square-foot Hidden Hills property with mountain views boasts nine bedrooms, includin. master suite with private terrace and an entertainment wing .

Following years of white-hot growth, luxury home prices in Sydney declined for the first time in years, slipping 1% between the second quarter and third quarter of 2018, according to the latest report from brokerage Knight Frank.The nearly 6,500-square-foot apartment has sweeping views.

The property, complete with a 30-seat screening room, a 100-seat amp
hitheater and a swimming pond with sandy beach

She is trying to sell a gated compound in the Golden State. The 17,000-square-foot Hidden Hills property with mountain and city views boasts nine bedrooms, including a master suite with private terrace and an entertainment wing, which includes a 20-seat theater

Lopez has reportedly added to her real estate holdings an eight-plus

  • Struggling to sell one multi-million dollar home currently on the market
  • Lopez has reportedly added to her real estate holdings an eight-plus acre
  • The property, complete with a 30-seat screening room, a 100-seat amphit
  • Lo managed to make it hers for $28 million. As the Bronx native acquires

The 17,000-square-foot Hidden Hills property with mountain and city views boasts nine bedrooms, including a master suite with private terrace and an entertainment wing, which includes a 20-seat theater.

Black farmers in the US’s South—faced with continued failure in their efforts to run successful farms their launched a lawsuit claiming that “white racism”