Monthly Archives: December 2015

Have Your Telemedicine Wishes “Granted.” Act Now!

When I was in college, they always talked about “finding money” for a project or a need on Free Money Imagecampus. When I talked to the Business Development guy, he always told me that “using other people’s money is always better than having to use only yours!”

So when the local Polycom Rep contacted me and wanted to talk about customers who might need to get some “free money” for their telemedicine or distance education projects, it sparked an interest within to see if YOU might be one of those in need of money to get a project going. Polycom has a resource that will work with you and in some cases, write the grant for you, to get funded!

Read on and let me know if you want to look into this “free money” and how Avidex and Polycom might help you get your piece of the pie!

Earlier this year, we alerted everyone to a grant opportunity provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture designed to help rural areas build their infrastructure. Since that time, 75 projects across 31 states spanning California to Alaska to Maine to Florida were awarded grants. Funds ranging from $72,000 to $500,000 helped these much needed distance learning and telemedicine projects get off of the ground.  With over $23.4 million at stake, the people running these projects didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity.

Maybe you missed our June blog and weren’t aware of the grant opportunities above. Or maybe the whole grant process is just too convoluted and involved to dedicate your already scarce resources to pursuing with no guarantee of success.  Or maybe you were aware of the opportunities, but your project didn’t qualify because you are not in a rural area.

Whatever the reason, if you weren’t one of the 75 projects funded by the USDA, you still have an opportunity to get some much needed grant funding for your telemedicine projects!

“How?” you ask. Well the federal government has dozens of programs and may just have funds set aside for projects like yours.  They range across different federal departments and initiatives and can many times be much harder to identify than programs like the USDA grants above.  For this reason, these other programs are many times under-utilized and funds can go unused.

Don’t let that happen.

We rarely mention a specific product manufacturer in any of our posts here. First, because the needs of our clients vary so widely, we don’t lead with product first but rather design solutions to fit those specific needs.  Second, because this blog is not an infomercial or an e-commerce site, it is genuinely designed to be a resource for you to keep up with technology trends and opportunities in the healthcare vertical.

However in this case, we have to break our own rule in order to let you know about an opportunity, not a product.

Polycom is a trusted partner of ours and they run a Grant Assistance Program that tracks funding from 26 U.S. federal grant-making agencies, as well as numerous state and foundation funding sources. Not only do they track the funding, they actually help you get those funds for your projects. They take on the sometimes overwhelming task of assessing your projects ability to be funded and then help take the project from application to funding, navigating the entangled web of bureaucracy.

The opportunity is now.

Polycom has asked us to assist in identifying projects just like yours between now and February 2016, so together we can assure that the funding available is awarded to you and your telemedicine wishes are “granted” in 2016.

Contact us today to get started and potentially join the list of telemedicine projects funded! Then we can all do a little victory dance together.

 For more than 20 years Avidex AV has provided innovative technologies that drive business outcomes for our clients. 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://blog.avidex.com/are-you-getting-your-part-of-the-19-million-dollar-giveaway/

#2: http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/DLTAwardees_2015.pdf

#3: http://www.healthcare-informatics.com/news-item/usda-awards-234m-grants-rural-telemedicine-projects

#4: http://www.polycom.com/content/www/en/solutions/solutions-by-industry/education/education-programs/grant-assistance.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

Are You Ready? The Tele-Med Act of 2015

dr on video conferenceMy parents taught me a few things growing up: open the door for all females (no matter the age); be polite; say “thank you”, “please” and “your welcome” when needed; and never talk religion and politics in social settings. Okay, so some of them I do all the time, and one of them, talking politics in a social setting, I will break today!

Having lived in rural areas for most of my adult life and having family in Montana, Idaho and Wisconsin, rural medical practices are an area near and dear to my heart. My family utilizes telemedicine with the great folks at Eastern Montana Telemedicine Network, and I hope to see a time when one of the fantastic doctors at the Billings Clinic will be able to work on my brother-in-law in Wisconsin when he slips in the boat an gashes his leg, gets a hook stick in his body or any of the dozens of accidents that occur on their family outings to the lakes.

Medicine is medicine, and if you graduated Med School and are a doctor, you should have every ability to treat your patients wherever they are – on vacation, winter living or hiking. Laws are in place for telemedicine as guidelines and the time has come to allow the people with the skills to do what they need to across state lines without interruption. Doctors are at a shortage, technology is not. Read on and let us know what you think.

Love her or hate her, Hillary Clinton may be your best friend if you are looking for someone to champion the telemedicine cause.

“Today, our health care system has changed dramatically, but it’s still too difficult for families in rural America to find quality, affordable health care…Telemedicine can help”.       -Hillary Clinton

If you aren’t aware, there is a bill going through congress titled H.R. 3081 or “The Tele-Med Act of 2015” that may just lower existing barriers to implementing telemedicine services, especially across state lines. Now, as it is a federal bill, it really only applies to Medicare currently, but it would set a precedent for other private insurance companies to follow and open up the boundaries that may currently prohibit them from offering services in neighboring states.

There is still a question as to whether this type of bill will be effective given that providers are licensed by their individual states to provide services, and if the provider would be required to be licensed in the state the patient resides in as well in order to legally provide medical care and advice, even by video conference. Breaking down the barriers to payment is one thing; navigating licensure and the 10th Amendment are another.

In any case, there are real shortages of care, especially in rural areas, and there are definite opportunities for health care providers to grow their practices by offering telemedicine services. According to a recent study, the services in the shortest supply in these areas seem to be those centered on primary care, mental health, and allied health professions.

The Tele-Med Act also lays out some proposed guidelines to help protect patients as well as practitioners form potential misdiagnoses and malpractice concerns.

Given these guidelines, here are 3 steps your practice can take to be ready to provide services given this new legislation passes.

  1. Electronic Health Records access and storage. Your practice will need to be able to manage and access electronic health records in a way that is compliant with HIPPA regulations on patient privacy. Part of the telemedicine legislation is that the care provider will need to have some prior knowledge of the patient and their pre-existing condition and treatments to responsibly recommend any treatment plan.
  2.  A proper teleconferencing system. Current regulations require that there be real time, interactive, 2 way communications between doctor and patient, assuring that a proper treatment plan can be arrived at while answering patient concerns and questions. Both Audio and Video capability are required. In order to assure reliable communication, an enterprise quality VTC system should be in place.
  3.  Store and Forward. The ability to capture images ahead of time and forward to a practitioner for evaluation can be a major asset in diagnosis. Recording sessions for future liability reasons is also a huge plus, and again HIPPA compliant encryption to protect patient data is a must for any data stored and/or forwarded.

Hopefully The Tele-Med Act of 2015 will fulfill its promise to allow service providers to serve patients across state lines without extensive licensure issues. If it does, telemedicine will certainly become an even bigger component to improved medical care. The question is will you be ready to capitalize on it?

For more than 20 years Avidex AV has provided innovative technologies that drive business outcomes for our clients. 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.memd.me/telemedicines-big-break/

#2: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/3081

#3: https://www.healthcarelawtoday.com/2015/08/26/will-the-tele-med-act-of-2015-really-change-licensure-rules/

#4: http://www.medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-Topics/Delivery-Systems/Telemedicine.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

Beyond TV: Guest Entertainment Systems in Healthcare

1610059_10203878090935723_6324864536840676894_nLet’s face it. No matter how amazing your healthcare facility is and how great the doctors are, the reality is that being admitted to the hospital is never any fun.  It has to rank way down the list of “ways you’d love to spend your days”.

With positive attitude being a potential component of a speedy recovery, it’s only logical that creating a better patient experience in the patient’s room itself can go a long way toward generating positive patient outcomes.

The patient room of the past included a TV and a remote that controlled the channels, sound, lighting and potentially a nurse call button as well. Today however, with the march of technology moving ever forward, there are ways to elevate the patient room experience beyond that paper privacy curtain and a TV.  In fact, adding this type of technology has even changed the way people look at being hospitalized, from being a patient, to being a “guest”. With that, we offer up these few simple ways to elevate your guest experiences by turning your TV into a Guest Entertainment System.

Modernize- Nothing says I’m in a foreign land from years past than a 150lb, 27” CRT television hanging from the ceiling via a heavy duty pole and tray.  Flat Panel LCD screens in the 30” range are more affordable than ever.  They give your guest rooms a modern look and offer 21st connectivity options as well.

Connect- Having an LCD screen in the room can give your guests access to much more than some Brady Bunch reruns. These screens can be connected to an enterprise grade video teleconferencing (VTC) system to allow patients to remotely connect to doctors and specialists. Smart TVs may also include a built in app suite that allows guests to connect to family and friends via consumer grade VTC platforms like Skype.  Nothing reduces anxiety than instant access to a doctor or raises spirits like the face of a loved one.

Control- Ahhhh, the Internet of Things! (IoT) Everything from lightbulbs to thermostats to window shades are now all WiFi enabled.  Allow your guests to control their surroundings through a dashboard on their LCD screen and assure their surroundings always meet their needs.

Share- There is a very high likelihood that your guests already have a connected computer with 4” LCD screen in their pockets when they arrive. Offer the ability to share that device to the LCD screen in the room.  There are lots of wireless options today to do that.  Everything from an Apple TV with mirroring, to WiDi, to Miracast allow devices to connect and share media to other screens via a wireless network access point.

Educate- Towards the end of any guest’s stay, there comes a time when discharge instructions are given as well as information about continued home care. This information should be readily available to the guest at their convenience for the best possible absorption and retention of this important information.  Many of these Interactive Patient Education Systems also allow the facility to track and verify the information was viewed for liability purposes, and the potential reduced readmissions may save the facility a ton of money in government fines.

Gamify- Whether it’s creating trivia challenges that allow guests to test their mettle about after care instructions or providing app based game entertainment via an Android based USB stick computer or a new Apple TV, there are a lot of ways to bring some much needed fun and escape into the guest room via video games. The nature of connected displays means that they could even play games with family members at home as well.  Come on, you know you like them too. At the end of the day, these tips can all help your rooms offer your guests the comforts of home. With a healthy mind being at least the start of a healthy body, and the healthcare landscape shifting towards payments based on patient outcomes and not services rendered, can your facility afford not to?

Avidex  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.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/03/optimism-and-health_n_4031688.html

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

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

#4: https://www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare/linking-quality-to-payment.html

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

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