Monthly Archives: October 2015

Friday Night Telehealth

injured soccor player TelemedicineMy freshman year, I started the year playing three sports at my Southern California High School. By the end of October, I was down to two sports, after my quarterbacking days were cut short by a larger-than-me-linebacker who purged my offensive line and took me out at the knees. Thank the good Lord that no “real damage” was done (at the time, but the winter provides a tougher haul on my knees now than the summer months!)  I then walked away to concentrate on baseball and education.

High school sports are getting as competitive as college and the players are getting bigger and bigger. With the size and speed of these players today, minor injuries can turn major without the immediate treatment of a doctor during our Friday Night Lights adventures. See what one state is doing about that, and ask if Texas will be far behind…

“Set! Green 80, Green 80! Hut-Hut!” The quarterback takes the ball and falls back into the pocket, he scans his eyes downfield and to the right as his receiver puts a move on the cornerback and peels away toward the end zone.  The quarterback’s eyes are wide with excitement as he loads the ball with his arm and rockets it into the waiting hands of his receiver.  The crowd erupts in celebration, and it is not until several seconds later, that everyone notices that the quarterback has not joined the game winning celebration.  He is down on the field from a crushing blow, delivered as he released the ball.  In any other state, he would need to be taken to the locker room, seen by the team doctor, and potentially sent to a specialist for a evaluation of his ankle.  But luckily for this quarterback and his parents observing anxiously from the stands, he is in Washington State, where 50 high schools utilize telemedicine on the sidelines for rapid evaluation of potentially dangerous blows like this one.

It’s amazing how the continuing acceptance of telemedicine by doctors, patients, and insurance companies alike is changing the way that we experience healthcare. For the Seattle area schools that have embraced telemedicine for player injury evaluations, they are saving time and money while offering players, coaches and families better peace of mind.

The cost for an emergency room visit for an ankle sprain is up to $1,400, compared to a telemedicine consultation, which is typically $50.”

The proliferation of devices with cameras and cellular and WiFi connections make this technology extremely portable an accessible as well.

“That means students injured while playing a sport will be able to access a doctor virtually using a cellphone or computer.”

Currently, parameters are in place that require more serious injuries like concussions to be evaluated in person and in more serious cases utilizing a more traditional 911 strategy, however, as technology gets better and less expensive, this may change as well.

We need only look to the NFL for the potential applications of technology in assessing serious player injuries on the field. NFL teams are already using telemedicine in the same way as above for instant access to specialists from the sidelines.  They are also utilizing electronic health records (EHRs) on the sidelines to assure the team doctors’ have access to each player’s unique health history.

However the NFL has gone one step further in evaluating wireless sensors designed to record and communicate the amount of shock put on a player’s helmet during plays in the game. They have also used software to assess the effects of a concussion and its severity based on a player’s eye movement responses to some electronically delivered stimuli.

This year, some of those pilot programs have been put on hold, but not because they were not deemed valuable, but rather that there is still some improvement needed in the accuracy of the sensors. There have also been some concerns about the privacy of the data these sensors transmit and the potential detriment a full history of hard hits to the head may have to a player’s value in the future.  It lends to the question as to whether healthcare should and will have its own internet at some time in the near future to alleviate these types of concerns and HIPPA compliance.

The use of telemedicine in sports is just another example of how technology is enabling healthcare practitioners to provide quality care anywhere at any time. Whether it is used on the sidelines of a football game or in the living room of a remote patient with a chronic illness, telemedicine is an integral part of the future of healthcare.

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://usatodayhss.com/2015/sports-telemedicine-now-available-at-50-seattle-area-high-schools

#2: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/20/sports/football/nfl-suspends-use-of-helmet-sensors.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

#3: http://www.jacoinc.com/blog/bid/246267/Electronic-Health-Records-Ready-to-Make-an-Impact-on-NFL-Sidelines

#4: http://blog.avidexav.com/breaking-through-the-telemedicine-payment-barrier/

#5: http://blog.avidexav.com/next-stop-the-ioh-will-there-be-an-internet-of-healthcare/

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

Choosing the Right AV Partner for Healthcare Facility Design

baylorplano1 “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” ― Abraham Lincoln

There is no substitute for proper planning. Can you imagine building a healthcare facility without first determining the layout of the ER in relationship to the path an ambulance needs to take to enter the hospital? Or building a radiology department without first considering how the MRI machine will be able to get into the room? The truth is that planning is critically important in building a facility that can deliver exceptional care, and a great deal of time, effort and expertise go into the endeavor.

Now ask yourself this question.

thhbp4With technology becoming more and more integral to the delivery of efficient care and positive patient outcomes, can you afford not to plan properly for its integration into the facility?

In today’s world of healthcare, technology is no longer about a paging system in the ER and a TV in the waiting room. There is an interconnected world of equipment that allows data to flow freely between departments and other facilities. The systems of today, more than ever before, are in desperate need of pre-planning to work successfully and perform their valuable functions.

Given all this, partnering with a technology company that understands the ins and outs of the modern healthcare facility and its needs is essential. In choosing a partner to assist in designing the technology for your facility, it is imperative that they understand four underlying principles of any heathcare technology plan.

Distribution- The very nature of today’s interconnected devices means that there has to be some way to get data, audio, and video from one location to another. Camera feeds from the OR may be fed into other areas of the building for recording for insurance purposes.   A simulation lab’s video feed may be pushed off-site for distance learning and collaboration with medical schools. Electronic Health Records, EHRs and MRIs need to flow from radiology to oncology. In any of the above scenarios, there needs to be a plan for distribution of these signals in the facility and beyond.

Bandwidth- Given the flow of information in the facility and to other locations as described above, bandwidth is essential to distribution. Partner with a technology firm that understands how assure that systems operate efficiently and utilize the best methods of distribution that properly allocate bandwidth. Strategies may include separating video streams from data, utilizing both wired and wireless networks, and using higher end cabling like 10G or Fiber for equipment with higher data input and output requirements.

Security- This one may be obvious but needs to be emphasized here none the less. If you are sending data off-site, whether for providing telemedicine services or for sharing information, HIPPA requires your team to make every reasonable effort to keep it secure. Work with partners who understand the differences between consumer teleconferencing applications like Skype and other professional grade, hard codec based video communications. Align yourself with a team who understands how to plan a network that separates wired and wireless networks for public devices like digital signage networks and patient entertainment systems from other devices that may contain sensitive patient data like EHRs.

Management- Any good plan includes an understanding of how the system will be maintained after its implementation. There is a great piece on choosing a long term partner for managed services here that you should take a look at.

Again, there is no substitute for proper planning, and as such, choosing the right partner to assist in this stage is invaluable. Just as you scrutinize the resume, training and education of a new surgeon joining your team, you should seriously evaluate the credentials of your chosen technology partner to make sure they have the proper experience and knowledge to deliver the patient experience you strive for.

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.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/planning

#2: http://blog.avidexav.com/dont-wait-simulate/

#3: http://blog.avidexav.com/just-in-case-vs-just-in-time-effectively-managing-audio-video-systems-in-healthcare/

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

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

Next Stop the IoH??? Will There Be an Internet of Healthcare?

internet of healthcarePolitics and healthcare go hand-in-hand. They haven’t always been that way, but in the world of politics today, you better have a stance on healthcare issues or you will get eaten alive by the media, by the polls and by the people.

Politics and the internet seem to go hand-in-hand since Al Gore invented the internet way back when (okay, the US Army actually designed and initiated the internet, but who cares! Sounds better that the Vice President developed it…)

Now, healthcare and the internet might be teaming up to create their own secured “superhighway” in the future, thus providing security to your personal information AND medical records while allowing for blazing fast connections between patients, doctors and clinics/hospitals, including video, audio and imaging. The way we know healthcare today is evolving into the technology of tomorrow. Will you be ready for this new age of healthcare delivery?

Would it surprise you if I told you that Bush and Obama actually agree on something? Ok so it’s not George W. Bush, but it is his cousin Jonathan Bush, and he agrees at least in part with Obama that the internet will play a huge role in the provision of healthcare services from today into the future. He contends that we’ll have a ‘healthcare Internet’ within five years.” See his interview on CNBC here.

“Evidence suggests the shift may already be underway. While just 15 percent of hospitals used electronic health records [EHRs] in 2010, that number skyrocketed to 59 percent in 2013, according to data from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.”

However the increased use of EHRs doesn’t automatically necessitate the need for a ‘healthcare internet’. And based on the interview, it is unclear exactly what that would entail. There is an obvious need to connect patients to doctors and doctors to other doctors to share information and create better patient outcomes. Whether this requires creating a whole new domain for healthcare providers like a dot org for non-profits, creating a national healthcare data center or cloud, or connecting every healthcare facility on a common VPN is yet to be seen.

The reality is that privacy of healthcare data is a major concern and as more healthcare data is digitized and more medical equipment is connected via the Internet of Things (IoT) that concern grows.

Could a private “healthcare internet’ be the answer?

Bush goes on to site Amazon as an example of a company that created a comfort level for consumers in online shopping and the perceived safety of their financial information. I think he makes a mistake however in his downplaying of the theft of medical information.

“Frankly, I’d rather have the bad guys see my colonoscopy than get my credit card number,” Bush said. “And my credit card and my equities are all online.”

His comment discounts the fact that medical identity theft is a major concern, one the Federal Trade Commission has created a web page for.

“A thief may use your name or health insurance numbers to see a doctor, get prescription drugs, file claims with your insurance provider, or get other care. If the thief’s health information is mixed with yours, your treatment, insurance and payment records, and credit report may be affected.”

With that in mind, it’s no wonder HIPPA is so strict on how we store and protect medical records and history. Maybe a “healthcare internet” of some kind is the answer. Even if it is, Bush believes it is five years away.

So as a healthcare provider, how do you protect data in the meantime as more and more technology hits the network in your facility?

Make sure to work with trusted technology partners when implementing connected devices, digital signage, interactive patient engagement systems, and telemedicine systems.

This will assure that the proper care is given to the design and implementation not only of the required hardware, but also of the connection strategy and access to the facility’s network.

Utilizing things like hardware firewalls, VLANs, and even completely separate WiFi networks for patient and visitor internet access and also for digital signage systems and screen based wayfinding can help separate these pieces of hardware from computers storing confidential patient information. Making sure your technology team is sensitive to network security today will only make things easier if healthcare actually does get its own internet in the future.

 

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.cnbc.com/2015/07/24/health-care-will-have-its-own-internet-soon.html

#2: https://www.healthit.gov/sites/default/files/oncdatabrief16.pdf

#3: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0171-medical-identity-theft

#4: http://medcitynews.com/2015/04/healthcare-really-prepared-amazon-dash-button/

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