Monthly Archives: July 2015

Avidex Achieves InfoComm International AV Provider of Excellence Distinction

APEx Certificate artAvidex has qualified as an InfoComm International AV Provider of Excellence, or APEx. The InfoComm APEx program is a recognition program for integration companies and AV design consulting firms dedicated to upholding industry excellence by providing quality service to customers.

The InfoComm APEx program recognizes companies based on the number of employees holding key industry certifications, including InfoComm’s CTS credential, completion of continuing education classes, and positive customer survey responses. APEx providers must also prove that they meet or exceed the requirements within 2 ANSI/INFOCOMM standards, the Standard Guide for Audiovisual Systems Design and Coordination Processes and the AV System Performance Verification Standard, to foster better communication between the AV provider and the client.

“The APEx designation gives AV companies a mark of distinction in the marketplace,” said David Labuskes, CTS, RCDD, InfoComm International’s Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer. “Customers of APEx companies can be confident of the AV provider’s professionalism and commitment to ongoing training, customer service and dedication to excellence.”

 

About InfoComm International

Now past its 75th year, InfoComm International® is the international trade association representing the professional audiovisual and information communications industries. InfoComm has more than 5,000 members, including manufacturers, systems integrators, dealers and distributors, independent consultants, programmers, rental and staging companies, end-users and multimedia professionals from more than 80 countries. InfoComm International is the leading resource for AV standards, market research and news. Its training, certification and education programs set a standard of excellence for AV professionals. InfoComm International is the founder of InfoComm, the largest annual conference and exhibition for AV buyers and sellers worldwide. InfoComm also produces trade shows in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Additional information is available at www.infocomm.org.

Nancy Peck

About Nancy Peck

Nancy Peck is the Director of Marketing for Avidex. She has been focused on audio visual integration for the past 6 years. Nancy brings a proven record of accomplishment in planning and leading marketing and sales strategies in support of Avidex and is responsible for the overall articulation and branding. Nancy is a member of the North America Marketing Council for Polycom. You can reach Nancy at npeck@avidex.com

There’s more to HIPAA than encryption: Choosing the right VTC platform

thhbp4If you are a regular reader of this blog, you already understand the amazing opportunities telemedicine presents to the modern day medical facility. You also know that the environment for implementing telemedicine is better than ever given changes in the way that telemedicine services are now being categorized. Given all this, you may be primed to implement a telemedicine system in your facility to start to take advantage of these trends.

On the surface, implementation looks fairly intuitive. You invest in some PC hardware, monitors, HD cameras, and quality microphone equipment. You dedicate space in your facility for practitioners to be able to sit and converse with patients. Finally you go about the task of determining which hardware and software platform to use for video teleconferencing.

Here is where things get very confusing.

How do you determine which platforms are actually compliant and assure that the combination of hardware and software you have put in place do not create liability for your organization?

There is a temptation to standardize on a platform already familiar to the patient base as a whole. Given that temptation, solutions like GoToMeeting, Skype, and even FaceTime may initially look attractive. In fact, all of these platforms claim to meet HIPAA compliance in one way or another. They all claim 128 bit AES encryption to protect data to support their cases. However HIPAA requires more than just encryption of the data as it flows through the web.

Anything that is stored in a server is also applicable to HIPAA encryption, and although video is not saved and stored in most cases by these types of providers, things like chat sessions are, and these services do not store those in a HIPAA compliant manner.

There are also requirements for HIPAA Business Associate Agreements between companies, auditing tools to assure compliance, emergency notifications, and encryption of stored data as well, that is suspect at best in these platforms.

Skype has gone so far as to claim that they donot need to be a vehicle that enables compliance  just like your cell phone provider and the postal mail service are not.”

So if they are not the compliance vehicle, who is? Where does the liability lie if a breach happens? Some believe it then lies then on the healthcare provider.

“Since it is relatively easy to choose a Safeguard that allows you to be more fully compliant with HIPAA when video conferencing, it would be neglectful to instead use Skype for this purpose…you must be able to justify your decision in your internal HIPAA compliance reviews and be prepared to answer pointed questions from auditors, should the need arise.”

The bottom line is that better options exist that are fully compliant and that mitigate the liability of non-compliance with HIPAA. These solutions may utilize more reliable encryption methods through dedicated hardware that also enables audits and emergency notifications. These companies also offer the Business Associate Agreements required as well.

Of course, as with any innovative hardware technology solution, working with a trusted partner who is well versed in both the hardware and the specifics of HIPAA compliance is invaluable as well.

Avidex AV is revolutionizing the way healthcare facilities and doctors are delivering care. Their 20 years of experience is being leveraged to drive down the cost of care while promoting positive healthcare outcomes. Is your organization looking for a new kind of technology partner? Connect with one of our Account Executives today to learn more.

Resources:

#1: http://www.telehealthtechnology.org/sites/default/files/documents/HIPAA%20for%20TRCs%202014.pdf

#2: http://www.zdnet.com/article/facetime-calls-are-encrypted-and-hipaa-compliant-when-using-proper-encryption/

#3: http://l1.osdimg.com/online/dam/pdf/en/resources/wp/GoToMeeting-HIPAA-Compliance-Guide-brief.pdf

#4: http://onlinetherapyinstitute.com/2011/03/01/videoconferencing-secure-encrypted-hipaa-compliant/

#5: https://luxsci.com/blog/is-skype-hipaa-compliant-if-not-what-is.html

#6: http://telehealth.org/video/

Bob Higginbotham

About Bob Higginbotham

Bob Higginbotham, CTS-I, CTS-D, is the Avidex National Manager of Healthcare AV. Bob has spent his 30 year career in leadership positions in the AV industry including extensive design and build work in healthcare facilities. He owned and operated a successful AV business in Texas with multiple offices in several cities where he managed a staff of over 100 employees. Bob has served as a technical consultant for a major AV manufacturer, led the technical sales team for a national video conferencing provider and provided technology auditing services for several private education facilities. He has a unique working knowledge of audiovisual technology as well as multiple certifications in audio engineering, acoustics, AV design, CQT system commissioning and video transmission systems. Bob holds a BA in communications and has recently served as board chair for a large private school. He brings his years of technical knowledge and leadership experience to Avidex where he leads the national healthcare AV team. Contact Bob at bobh@avidexav.com

Creating Better Patient Outcomes through Interactive Technology

The last 54 hours have not been easy. Your son was taken to the hospital unexpectedly. He was first brought to the emergency room, then was admitted into the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), and finally admitted into the hospital. A battery of tests, 2 days of observation, and 2 nights sleeping in the chair next to his bed later, it’s finally time to be discharged. The doctor comes in and quickly goes over care instructions at home, warning signs to look for, prescriptions to collect, and follow up visits to schedule with a Primary Care Physician (PCP) and specialists. The problem is now that you’re driving home, you remember very little of those instructions.

Given how important these instructions are and how much effort the patient put into understanding and remembering them, why would this happen? The answer is actually fairly intuitive.

First, these instructions are given during or directly after a situation that has caused a lot of stress. Studies show the “negative impact of stress and anxiety” on the ability of a person to learn and retain information. Unfortunately, much of this information and many of the after-care instructions may perhaps being delivered at the worst possible time for absorption.

Secondly, the instructions are typically given verbally or in written form by the physician or a member of the hospital staff. OSHA has done studies that show people only remember 10% of what they read and 20% of what they hear, which means if they read along while the physician is speaking, they may remember about 30% of it. However people will remember 50% of what they see and hear together, and that goes up to 70% if a task is involved as well.

Considering these two hurdles, how can a hospital or healthcare facility better deliver important patient education to reduce readmissions and promote more positive patient outcomes?

Enter interactive patient education systems.

An interactive patient education system takes important patient discharge information, after care instructions, and frequently asked questions and puts them into a digital format including video. The patient is then given access to this media via the in room entertainment system and/or their personal devices like tablets and phones. This allows the patient to learn at their pace when they are ready, helping mitigate the potential for low retention during a time of high stress or anxiety. They also allow hospital staff to launch pieces of information to each patient remotely, creating a more efficient method of delivery, as opposed to using “sneaker-net” to walk a DVD or tape to each room.

Another benefit of using an interactive patient engagement system is that it puts the patient in the driver seat. Given that people naturally remember more when doing tasks associated with the information being relayed, making the information interactive and navigable by the patient increases their retention and promotes better patient outcomes. It also reinforces the learning experience, which means not only do these systems promote better outcomes, but they also promote better patient satisfaction. Many times the information, once digitized can also be accessed and reviewed once the patient returns home, anytime and anywhere, reducing the chances of complications and readmissions.

Many systems also utilize surveys for patients to share input about their care as well, giving the facility an opportunity to improve on the fly and better understand individual patient needs.

For the healthcare provider, interactive patient education systems assure a consistent approach in the delivery of information. They can also interact with other hospital ADT and EMR systems to automatically create records and automate documentation of what information was shared and when, further reducing liability.

In the final analysis, interactive patient engagement solutions are easy to deploy and offer an extremely high ROI when considering better outcomes and increased satisfaction for patients, and increased efficiency, reduced readmissions, and reduced liability for healthcare providers. Just another way that technology is helping healthcare improve in the modern age.

Avidex AV is revolutionizing the way healthcare facilities and doctors are delivering care. Their 20 years of experience is being leveraged to drive down the cost of care while promoting positive healthcare outcomes. Is your organization looking for a new kind of technology partner? Connect with one of our Account Executives today to learn more.

 

Resources:

#1: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/neuroscience-behind-stress-and-learning-judy-willis

#2: https://www.osha.gov/dte/grant_materials/fy07/sh-16600-07/training_techniques2.ppt

#3: https://www.telehealth.com/interactive-solutions

#4 https://www.telehealth.com/interactive-solutions/tigrap

Joel Harris

About Joel Harris

Joel Harris brings invaluable insight to the Avidex team in his role as CEO, with years of experience leading national technology, healthcare and business organizations. You can reach Joel at jharris@avidexav.com

Look Mom! No Hands! Voice Control in Healthcare.

patient in sterile roomThere is a growing body of evidence—and countless real-world examples—that demonstrate how so-called “disinfected” medical devices are not as clean as we think.

Given the recent potential outbreaks of everything from MRSA to Ebola, that is a chilling statement. It is hard to believe that in the world or modern disinfectants and sterilization techniques, that 86 percent of “disinfected” devices may still be contaminated. This reality has caused many to embrace shifts towards disposable single use devices in the medical facilities. That approach may be fine for inspection instruments and personal items, however, electronic equipment and medical monitoring devices will never be disposable items.

Many of these devices have NEMA rated coatings and enclosures to mitigate the chances of liquids and particles entering into and contaminating them. This makes them easier to clean, but doesn’t eliminate contamination potential on high touch surfaces. So if coatings and enclosures only protect what is underneath, and many disinfection techniques are falling short to clean the surfaces commonly touched, how do we assure these devices stay free of contamination? The answer? Don’t touch them at all.

Many healthcare facilities are making the leap toward voice recognition systems to help eliminate cross contamination in their facilities. There are three major opportunities in the patient journey where this cutting edge technology can be used.

Admissions

The admissions process typically involves the collection of a patient’s personal and insurance information by a medical professional as well as the crucial retrieval of the patient’s health history. Today, most of this information is digitized when collected, and once this occurs, becomes part of the patient’s Electronic Medical Records (EMR). Voice transcription software allows the medical professional to input all of this information verbally as well as search for EMRs all without having to touch a keyboard or tablet.

Examination and Evaluation

There are a variety of devices used during the examination and evaluation of a patient. As stated above, many of these devices are tools that can be either sterilized or disposed of. However, the modern medical facility also has a plethora of computerized, electronic equipment that is touched constantly to help in the examination. This makes sterilization near impossible and disinfection problematic.

However, the same computerized, electronic nature of the equipment also means there is the opportunity for voice control. Several software companies and control system manufacturers are capitalizing on this fact to empower medical professionals to control these devices with their voice. Everything from endoscopy and radiology equipment to diagnostic systems to laboratory and operating room devices are being controlled today through the use of control system hardware and custom software solutions.

The Patient Room

Contamination and the need for disinfecting do not stop once a patient is admitted into the hospital. The patient room is another area where there are a lot of electronic devices used by the patients themselves. Remotes for TVs, switches for lighting, and nurse call buttons are high use items provided to empower the patient to control their own comfort. These items are also hard to sterilize, and the risk of contamination here can be greatly reduced by eliminating the need for the patient to touch them altogether, and instead, control them with their voice.

There is no doubt that in modern medicine, healthcare professionals are equipped to deal with potential infection better than any time in the past. Disinfectants, sterilization techniques, and even antibiotics have all aided in this endeavor. However any time a piece of equipment is touched, it is potentially exposed to some type of contamination. Turning high touch devices into no touch devices, through the power of voice recognition and voice control systems, are the next logical step in assuring that patients get the best quality of care modern technology can provide.

Avidex AV is revolutionizing the way healthcare facilities and doctors are delivering care. Their 20 years of experience is being leveraged to drive down the cost of care while promoting positive healthcare outcomes. Is your organization looking for a new kind of technology partner? Connect with one of our Account Executives today to learn more.

Resources:

#1: http://medicaldesign.com/components/value-single-use-devices-emergency-department

#2: https://www.nema.org/Products/Documents/nema-enclosure-types.pdf

#3: http://www.1stproviderschoice.com/medical-voice-recognition-software.php

#4: http://www.governmentvideo.com/article/crestron-introduces-wireless-controller-with-voice-command-recognition/115410

#5: http://www.semvox.de/branchenloesungen/134/6/voice-control-for-health-care-solutions.html

 

Bob Higginbotham

About Bob Higginbotham

Bob Higginbotham, CTS-I, CTS-D, is the Avidex National Manager of Healthcare AV. Bob has spent his 30 year career in leadership positions in the AV industry including extensive design and build work in healthcare facilities. He owned and operated a successful AV business in Texas with multiple offices in several cities where he managed a staff of over 100 employees. Bob has served as a technical consultant for a major AV manufacturer, led the technical sales team for a national video conferencing provider and provided technology auditing services for several private education facilities. He has a unique working knowledge of audiovisual technology as well as multiple certifications in audio engineering, acoustics, AV design, CQT system commissioning and video transmission systems. Bob holds a BA in communications and has recently served as board chair for a large private school. He brings his years of technical knowledge and leadership experience to Avidex where he leads the national healthcare AV team. Contact Bob at bobh@avidexav.com