Monthly Archives: August 2015

How Healthy is Your Technology Experience?

horse eatingA year ago, one of my two horses decided to step on my left foot. After applying 1,800 pounds of pressure on my foot, my quarter horse walked away. I was rushed to the hospital for a visit with my ER doctor. I remember them asking about my pain level when I got into the waiting room…then they administered the proper amount of pain meds to make my stay comfortable.  For the hour-and-a-half I waited to get x-rays and a walking cast fitted, my pain started to subside. I was glad I whimped out and told them a “9” because I could not have handled not getting the pain relief sooner than later. If you need some “pain relief” at your hospital, don’t wait until it hurts. Call me now and I’ll give you the right amount of pain meds to make your daily stay at the hospital much more enjoyable!

When assessing a patient complaining of pain, it is always important to qualify the level of pain the patient is feeling in order to properly prescribe the appropriate care and/or medication. Today, most doctors and facilities use a Universal Pain Assessment Tool in order to qualify each patient in a more objective way. These tools ask patients not only to rate their pain on a scale from 1-10, but also allow the doctor to ask questions about daily activities in order to compare the stated pain level with the actual effects the level of pain is having on the patient’s activities.

In the spirit of that same philosophy we’d like to ask you to assess the health of the audiovisual technology in your facility. First, on a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your patients’ technology experience? Is it a 10? Is it a 7? Is it a 2? It may be hard to give yourself a rating. (See how your patients feel when you ask them about their pain?)

Never fear! Just like with the pain assessment tool, we’ve included a small checklist below to help you get an idea of how healthy your experience really is. Take a minute to quickly answer the 10 questions below and find out if your technology experience throughout the patient journey is strong like an ox or flat-lining and in need of some CPR.

1) Does your lobby technology assist patients in checking in and/or navigating your facility? Y N
2) Do you use digital signage to inform patients about your facility or potential services and treatments offered? Y N
3) Do your patient rooms utilize up to date technology equivalent to what patients would have at home? i.e. HD programming, flat panels, etc. Y N
4) Do you use interactive technology to allow patients to control blinds and lighting in their rooms? Y N
5) Does your facility have an interactive patient engagement system to educate patients on things like after care and discharge instructions? Y N
6) Are you using speakers not only for messaging and background music but also for sound masking and privacy? Y N
7) Are you utilizing a patient tracking system to assist both staff and patients’ families in staying up to date on each patient’s progress? Y N
8) Do you leverage technology in the OR or a simulation lab to create opportunities for knowledge sharing and or consulting/training? Y N
9) Are you utilizing video teleconferencing, voice lift systems, and effective video to hold meetings and train remote employees or conference with other facilities? Y N
10) Do you leverage telemedicine to promote better patient outcomes, enhanced aftercare, and reduce readmissions/return visits? Y N

Now count up all of your Yes’s above, giving yourself 1 point for each one. How did your score compare to the rating you gave yourself initially? Use the scale below to get an idea of the overall health of your technology experiences. (Please click on image to enlarge.)

pain tool

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://compass31.org/living-at-an-8/

#2: http://blog.avidexav.com/creating-better-patient-outcomes-through-interactive-technology/

#3: http://blog.avidexav.com/patient-tracking-systems-reducing-the-cost-of-healthcare-and-waiting-room-anxiety/

#4: http://blog.avidexav.com/theres-more-to-hippa-than-encryption-choosing-the-right-vtc-platform/

#5: http://blog.avidexav.com/telemedicine-a-428-million-silver-bullet/

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

Just in Case vs. Just in Time: Effectively Managing Audio Video Systems in Healthcare

Architecht working on drawingsThere is a company in Arizona with a very unusual name. This company specializes in doing 3D renderings and architectural Auto-CAD work for some of the nation’s top home builders. If you are wondering why large production home builders would outsource CAD work, you need look no further than the construction cycle. Builders go through a design phase where they engineer new floor plans for homes. They may do that for several “series” of homes so that they have plans that can work on varying lot sizes in different communities. Once these plans are designed however, there is little CAD work to do during the actual construction phase. Having a full time “in house” architectural team is not actually cost effective. So instead of doing the work “in house”, they hire this company in Phoenix, aptly and playfully named “Outhouse”.

In America today, it seems that “outsourcing” has become a four letter word. However outsourcing doesn’t always mean shipping American jobs abroad. Many companies outsource everything from janitorial services to Human Resources to capitalize on the efficiency of paying for these resources only when they actually need them. It is a strategy very akin to the “just in time” inventory strategy employed by many manufacturing companies.

“Just In Time (JIT) – An inventory strategy company employ to increase efficiency and decrease waste by receiving goods only as they are needed in the production process, thereby reducing inventory costs.”

In healthcare today, practices are very reliant on audio video technology to perform their day to day operations. Go into any given facility and you will see flat panel displays everywhere doing everything from entertaining and informing people in the waiting room, acting as signage for wayfinding, being used by patients in their rooms to learn about their discharge instructions, facilitating a remote consultation between a doctor and a patient, and even displaying the live feed of an endoscopic camera in the operating room. Of course the displays are just the tip of the iceberg, because there are a myriad of devices and a whole network of cables and other infrastructure behind the scenes that feed them.

Depending on the purpose of the technology in question, some systems are obviously more critical than others when it comes to the issue of down time. It can be very costly for a healthcare provider to run a full staff of professionals dedicated to all of these systems “just in case” they go down. So how can a healthcare facility get the benefits of a “just in case” full time staff while capitalizing on the cost efficiency of a “just in time” staffing policy?

Partner with an audio video (AV) specialty company for a managed services agreement.

It may seem like a simple idea on the surface, and in all honesty, choosing the right AV partner can be simple, if you choose a firm with experience in providing managed services to healthcare providers.

Choosing a firm with experience in the healthcare arena will help assure that –

  • The proper Service Level Agreement (SLA) is in place.

An SLA defines the hours available for contacting your support team and the specific time frames for responding to any tickets that may be entered for service. Many systems may be more critical than others, so entering into an SLA that has faster response times for mission critical systems in the ER for example, while defining less aggressive responses to things like displays in the waiting room, can maximize the value in a managed services contract, while assuring necessary operation of important technology.

  • HIPPA concerns are properly addressed.

HIPPA considerations exist anytime that a piece of new technology is connected to the network. Whether the system in question is a new telemedicine system used to reduce readmissions or an interactive patient education system connected to the Wi-Fi network, managing these systems properly with encryption requirements and potential links to other systems that contain confidential patient information like Electronic Health Records (EHR) is of high importance.

  • You receive opportunities for innovation.

One other advantage of hiring an AV company with healthcare experience is that it provides you with a trusted resource that can help your facility stay ahead of the innovation curve. Since your managed services partner supports systems at multiple facilities, they will be able to share ideas on ways to continually improve upon AV systems as new innovations are introduced.

At the end of the day, engaging an AV company in the business of supporting systems in the healthcare domain not only optimizes the cost of system support, but also assures the proper sense of urgency, mitigates liability, and provides a trusted partner to help these systems improve and evolve over time as technology improves.

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://thecontradogroup.com/our_origins.php

#2: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/j/jit.asp

#3: http://blog.avidexav.com/patient-tracking-systems-reducing-the-cost-of-healthcare-and-waiting-room-anxiety/

#4: http://blog.avidexav.com/creating-better-patient-outcomes-through-interactive-technology/

#5: http://blog.avidexav.com/telemedicine-a-428-million-silver-bullet/

Jeff Miller

About Jeff Miller

Jeff has been working in the professional AV integration industry for over twenty years. During that time he has served as Designer, Project Manager and/or Account Executive for hundreds of projects. As an Account Executive at Avidex, he specializes in Medical, Education, and Control Rooms. He can be reached at jmiller@avidex.com

The Doctor’s Watch Just Stole My Medical Records (and Other Strange Tales)

Hi Tech computer imagesJames Bond is stuck. He is 500 feet from safety, bad guys are approaching and all that is keeping him from safety is a large ravine, a wire cable draped across that ravine and those pesky 500 feet. He takes his Omega Sea Master watch, unscrews the crown and out comes a small wire, which he wraps around the hanging draped wire and traverses himself to safety, 500 feet across the Swiss Alps to safety. All from a watch! Imagine what MacGyver could have done with that watch! I am a watch guy…love them and collect them. But helping to save a life or view records of a patient in real time…awesome. Call me to discuss if you too, love the watch and love James Bond or MacGyver! I can hear it now over the paging system…”Doctor MacGyver, Dr. Angus MacGyver, you are needed in OR Two”…

It’s an amazing time to be in the healthcare profession. Every day new innovations in technology are facilitating everything from bio-printing new tissues for a patient to giving surgeons real time, context aware information during surgery. With each new piece of technology comes the need for it to be interconnected with other devices in the facility. New switches, routers, and upgraded WiFi networks are required to keep all of this technology up and running, and IT departments in healthcare are working harder than ever to make sure everything is HIPPA compliant. However, the job may be even bigger than it seems.

“While you were busy updating your WiFi router’s firewall and giving your laptop a strong password, your vacuum cleaner and smart lighting system were conspiring with your phone to steal your online banking information.” –Cleve Adams, AirPatrol

The quote is funny yet somewhat chilling at the same time. As more and more devices hit the network, the importance of securing them becomes ever more important as well.

Take Apple Watch for example. Apple has shared that three hospitals are using the Apple watch: Nebraska Medicine, Ochsner Health System, and London-based King’s College Hospital. These hospitals are utilizing the Apple Watch for everything from communicating with patients, to gathering bio-data, to relaying chart and dosage information to doctors all through the use of customized healthcare apps.

This isn’t the first instance of wearable devices being used in healthcare either. Google Glass has been used to deliver context aware information to surgeons in real time in the OR, all without having to look away from the delicate job at hand. In fact, the potential impact of wearables in the healthcare field has spawned a whole new society aptly named “WATCH”.

What does WATCH stand for? WeArable TeChnolgy in Healthcare.

Given the popularity of the movement and the potential positive impact technology can have on patient outcomes, care providers should not shy away from adopting the devices because of security concerns, but rather create strategies to minimize them.

Of course an awareness of the potential risks, creating multi-layered security protocols, and using secure software and hardware products are all a great start. But is that enough?

Take the well-known security breach of the Target POS system that put an estimated 70-110 million customers’ payment data at risk. Target had strong IT policies, trusted IT a hardware and firewalls, and a tried and true POS hardware and software system in place. The breach came through stealing network credentials from Target’s third party HVAC vendor. For this reason, choosing the right AV technology partners can be just as critical.

If you are looking to integrate technology like Apple Watch, patient tracking and monitoring systems, or telemedicine systems, it is important to choose an audio video integrator with experience in the healthcare vertical.

These partners not only need to understand the technology and how it is being used, but also the potential security risks the devices themselves may present if not secured properly. Going back to Apple Watch for instance, it is important to know that the wearable communicates with the iPhone not only via paired and encrypted Bluetooth, but may also auto-switch over to WiFi to maintain a connection at greater distances. It also may use near field communications (NFC) to talk to other internet enabled devices as well. A partner well versed in this technology and the healthcare vertical is best suited to address these issues ahead of time to create a strategy to secure them

At the end of the day, technology will continue to become an integral part of the evolution of healthcare. Security concerns should not deter facilities from adopting new technologies, but rather make them more selective in the partners they choose to help implement them. Doing so will assure that “bringing your own device” doesn’t mean bringing your own security breach.

 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.watch-society.com/

#2: http://www.watch-society.com/news/news-articles/1019-apple-names-nebraska-medicine-king-s-college-hospital-as-latest-to-use-apple-watch-with-patients

#3: http://www.darkreading.com/endpoint/5-ways-to-prepare-for-iot-security-risks/d/d-id/1319215

#4: http://airpatrolcorp.com/2014/08/04/blackhat/

#5: http://krebsonsecurity.com/2014/02/target-hackers-broke-in-via-hvac-company/

#6: http://www.computerworld.com/article/2898892/apple-watch-and-its-wireless-tech.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