Author Archives: Jeff Miller

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

Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

If you are an avid follower of technology news, you can’t help but have heard the term “AI”. AI stands for Artificial Intelligence, a field of technology pioneered by Alan Turing when he created a machine to break the German’s Enigma Code during World War II. The end goal for those developing AI will be the creation of a sentient machine that can think like a human being. Needless to say, that is still a long way off. However, during the course of 2016, the field of AI saw many advancements and investments, and the large number of those were related to healthcare applications.33728200 - doctor is using tablet pc

Why is that?

“Machine learning is improving diagnostics, predicting outcomes, and just beginning to scratch the surface of personalized care.”

In order to understand exactly how technology can contribute to better patient outcomes, we need to look beyond the vision of the sentient robot and focus in on two very specific areas where AI can assist medical professionals today.

Predictive Analytics

The first area of AI that is immediately accessible to today’s healthcare professional is predictive analytics or the use of a computer to analyze large amounts of data to make recommendations on care or predict potential health issues before they arise. Analyzing data means that you must first be collecting it and providing access to the data to the system in question.

The proliferation of devices that collect patient data has already begun. There are wearables like the familiar Apple Watch or FitBit, but there are also implantable and ingestible medical sensors that can relay information on everything from blood sugar and oxygen levels to the frequency of asthma attacks in the varying quality of air. We put together a list of some interesting sensors last year, but one thing is for certain: The ability to collect and communicate patient health data is only increasing.

Of course the course of treatment is still determined by a living, breathing doctor, but having a relevant, data driven history of the patient’s health only makes that diagnosis and treatment plan better.

Deep Learning

Deep Learning takes over where predictive analytics stops. According to one definition,

“Deep Learning is a branch of machine learning based on a set of algorithms that attempt to model high-level abstractions in data by using model architectures, with complex structures or otherwise, composed of multiple non-linear transformations.” 

That definition, being as clear as mud, can really be boiled down to this. Deep Learning allows computers to analyze not only the data, but also to catalog the human responses to that data, allowing the computer to reach its own conclusions (learn).

Predictive analysis would say that a patient has high sodium that may lead to hypertension and should be assessed for cardiac health, where deep learning would go a step further and recommend potential treatments based on the treatment of other patients that fit the same profile.

Again, deep learning requires that both the data from the patient and the response of the physician are both accessible in order to draw these correlations. Again, deep learning is not a replacement for the experience and discernment of a physician, but can be helpful in situations where a doctor is not yet available. According to Forbes’ Bernard Marr, 30% of providers will use this type of technology by 2018. He even puts forth an example of a patient visit that leverages deep learning.

“Imagine walking in to see your doctor with an ache or pain. After listening to your symptoms, she inputs them into her computer, which pulls up the latest research she might need to know about how to diagnose and treat your problem.  You have an MRI or an x-ray and a computer helps the radiologist detect any problems that could be too small for a human to see. Finally, a computer looks at your medical records and family history and compares that with the best and most recent research to suggest a treatment protocol to your doctor that is specifically tailored to your needs.”

Now imagine the added benefit of the same technology to those in a remote location who need emergency care and are able to receive it via telemedicine.

In discussions on healthcare reform, there are always discussions about breaking down artificial barriers between patients and caregivers to deliver better and more efficient care. However, this may be one instance when adding an artificial layer, in the form of technology using artificial intelligence, may actually be of benefit to both the patient and the physician.

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: https://www.hpcwire.com/2016/12/26/capitalizing-machine-learning-life-sciences-financial-services/

#2: https://www.wired.com/2014/06/ai-healthcare/

#3: http://blog.avidex.com/deliver-better-care-be-more-sensor-tive/

#4: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/predictive-analytics-machine-learning-deep-artificial-mark-rabkin

 

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

“Are You Not Entertained?”

If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night or found yourself home from work sick, you know how difficult it can be to find something42402604 - senior female patient watching tv in hospital bed worthwhile on television. The experience is usually marked by listless channel surfing before you settle on a movie you’ve seen 18 times only to realize that every 10 minutes the movie pauses to launch into a 5 minute commercial break. At home fortunately you are not confined to one room or a bed, and you have access to other entertainment options like a favorite DVD or book. Imagine however you find yourself in a hospital bed, connected to medical equipment with nothing to focus your attention on but the TV hanging in the corner. In the past, this may have been a source of patient anxiety, but in today’s high tech world, it doesn’t have to be that way.

The modern medical facility has a great number of options when it comes to providing an “at home” entertainment experience to their patients. Gone are the days when an off-air antenna or a stack of cable boxes in the basement provided a few channels of content to patient rooms over coax. The patient entertainment experience can now be highly customizable and individualized. This allows the healthcare facility to offer more patient amenities similar to the hospitality industry.

An investment in a comprehensive visual communications solution provides the following advantages:

High Definition Programming- Nothing says, “I’m not at home”, more than a 19” TV up in the corner playing a static ridden rerun of The Brady Bunch. HD displays combined with HD content are familiar and a default patient expectation.

Diverse Channel Line Ups- Whether you choose IPTV, Direct TV, or cable, new systems allow the healthcare provider to create customized channel line-ups that best reflect the needs of their diverse patient population.

Customized Content- Need to share menu information around hospital meal options, general material on hospital offerings, or important accreditation communications? Facilities can create their own channels to share this news and more.

Patient-Specific Information- Provide easy, on-demand access to information, after-care instructions, and discharge information that patients can review at their own pace and frequency and create a digital record for your hospital files for reduction of liability and accreditation purposes. Hospitals can automate the delivery of this information by interfacing with their EMR, providing another way to leverage their existing investment.

On-Demand Entertainment- No more starting a movie in the middle and then watching an equal amount of commercials. Choose from an extended library of movies and shows just like you would at home.

Relaxation- Nothing provides a more optimal healing environment more than your soothing music and calming imagery. Modern systems offer access to this programming because a reduction of stress is shown to promote positive medical outcomes.

Not every patient has an iPad at their side and even if they did, the WiFi would have a hard time keeping up. A well planned, integrated visual communications system allows healthcare facilities to leverage existing investments in healthcare televisions and infrastructure, while providing a more reliable and universally accessible way for patients to pass the time while hospitalized. Add in the benefits of providing on-demand patient education, and you will be providing an experience that also reduces readmissions and empowers your patients in the recovery process. It’s a winning solution for both the facility and the patient.

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: https://www.quora.com/Why-do-hospitals-feel-like-prisons-sometimes

#2: http://blog.avidex.com/from-hospital-to-hospitality-how-does-your-facility-rate/

#3: http://www.telehealth.com/television-solutions/patient-programming

#4: http://blog.avidex.com/how-healthy-is-your-technology-experience/

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

Innovation at ATA 2016

As a health care professional, if you were in Minneapolis, Minnesota from May 14th to 17th this year, you were most likely at the American Telemedicine Association’s annual conference, ATA 2016.WebRTC If you were not there or if this event has not historically been on your radar… it should be!

The ATA’s annual conference is the world’s largest and most comprehensive meeting focused on telemedicine, digital, connected and mobile health” and “the premier forum for healthcare professionals and entrepreneurs in the telemedicine, telehealth and mHealth space.”

It is a place where physicians, healthcare providers, and healthcare entrepreneurs and innovators all come together to share case studies, explore new ways to deliver care, and showcase groundbreaking new technology.

With so many talented people all in one place, it seems appropriate that each year several are recognized with ATA President’s awards for their achievements and contributions. This year, at ATA 2016, the President’s Award for Innovation in Remote Healthcare went to a company called Propeller Health.

Propeller Health uses connected sensor technology in combination with a mobile app to help patients manage asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder). In short, their sensor attaches to the patient’s inhaler, recording dosages, when they are taken, and utilizing the capabilities of the patient’s mobile device to combine this data with things like weather conditions and geographic location. This not only help patients manage the timing of their medication, but also to proactively prescribe preventative action to avoid episodes based on local conditions that have historically triggered their personal symptoms.

Propeller has a great video on their homepage as well as a “How It Works” page if you’d like to see their explanation of the technology.

Now on its own this is a great piece of technology worthy of the award it was given. It makes a dramatic difference in the daily lives of those suffering from asthma and COPD. Their studies show that using Propeller results in up to 79% fewer asthma attacks, 50% more symptom free days, and 50% more doses of medication taken on schedule. That is a huge jump in the quality of life for those using the technology. As a stand-alone, personal health management system it has huge value. However, as with most things, there is a bigger picture and potentially larger benefit when combined with other technologies and communicating the data to the patient’s physician.

Propeller, when combined with fitness tracking applications, could also correlate asthma and COPD data with heart rate and blood oxygen levels. It could create a secure transmission of data to a secure file in the patient’s Electronic Health Records so that any relevant events can be assessed by the patient’s physician during scheduled check-ups. It would also allow for alerts to be generated to alert the healthcare provider if events are becoming more frequent or more severe to proactively assess the current treatment plan and adjust it if necessary.

Propeller is a prime example as to how the Internet of Healthcare and all of its connected sensors can be leveraged to deliver better quality of care and reduce unnecessary visits to the doctor’s office which promotes efficiency and greatly reduces costs as well.

Congratulations to Propeller Health for their President’s Award this year at ATA 2016. If you didn’t make it to the show this year, maybe we can connect there in 2017 to explore the floor together!

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://hub.americantelemed.org/ata2016new/about/aboutata2016

#2: http://hub.americantelemed.org/ata2016new/events/event-description?CalendarEventKey=5401bbe1-60af-4911-98a0-1654b9c11688&CommunityKey=cee2dcb7-7be2-4d04-9090-40ec1e264035

#3: https://www.propellerhealth.com/

#4: https://www.propellerhealth.com/how-it-works/

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

#6: http://blog.avidex.com/deliver-better-care-be-more-sensor-tive/

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

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

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

Patient Tracking Systems: Reducing the Cost of Healthcare and Waiting Room Anxiety

operating roomTake a moment to think about all of the departments within a modern day hospital.  There is the emergency room (ER), the intensive care unit (ICU), the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), radiology, oncology, the operating room, neurology, obstetrics, cardiology, etc.  Some hospitals like Seattle Children’s have over a hundred different departments, clinics, and programs.  Now consider that patients may need to visit various departments during their hospital visit and you may start to get an idea of how challenging it can be to keep track of where a patient is at any given time.

Enter patient tracking systems, a combination of software and integrated hardware used to effectively communicate a patient’s critical information and location within a hospital.

Reducing the Cost of Care

A patient tracking system relies on a series of screens and computers that allow hospital staff to continually track and display the status and location of patients throughout the hospital.  It eliminates the need to have physical access to the patient’s chart, as if the patient has moved from one area to another, that chart typically moves with them.  This can create some confusion for staff who are trying to locate the patient for a procedure, for laboratory tests, or even to bring them their selected meal from the cafeteria.

Because these are PC based systems, they allow interoperability with other systems that may need to be accessed to retrieve other essential information needed for care.  They are also easily referenced by the hospital staff, as the individual lines are color-coded to provide a quick reference as to the status of each patient.

To quote Anna-Marie Merchant, GH Patient Care Manager, their patient tracking system

“…provides us with a clear picture of what is happening in the entire surgical department. It has certainly improved communication amongst various surgical areas at GH. The number of phone calls to and from departments and with family has significantly decreased.”

The net result is a reduction in the average patient stay, a reduced cost of providing care, and a reduction in the amount of staff that needs to be added to increase patient throughput.  There is a great whitepaper by the California Health Foundation here if you’d like to see the full study.

Next generation patient tracking systems are even more highly integrated with technology to reduce the amount of input by the hospital staff and to mitigate any human error in those entries.  These systems rely on an RFID tag on the patients’ hospital bracelets and RFID readers that automatically pick up the patient as they reach key locations.

We’ve all seen a multitude of screens used within the hospital environment.  Every patient room typically has a screen installed for patient entertainment and education.  Waiting areas throughout the hospital have screens installed as well, either for way finding or for a way to keep patients’ families and friends entertained.  But what if there was a way to leverage the same patient tracking system to reduce the anxiety of waiting?  Well, there is!

Reducing Waiting Room Anxiety

An added benefit of a patient tracking system is the ability to push the same data into waiting room environments so that loved ones can keep informed on the status of patients as well.  If you’re worried about privacy, you need not be.

These systems allow the information to be customized to each screen the data is being sent to.  To comply with HIPPA regulations for patient privacy, each patient is given a unique numeric ID.  This is given to the family so that they can check the status of their loved one on the screen, without disclosing their names and procedures to the rest of the waiting public.

Studies have been done on everything from music to aromatherapy being used to reduce anxiety in waiting rooms.  However, one sure fire way to help reduce this anxiety is to provide easy access to the status of each patient.

“Keeping our patients’ families updated about their loved one’s whereabouts, alleviates a lot of their anxiety and provides a more patient/ family focused experience,” notes Jan Dziepak, MDH Patient Care Manager.

For those who are not present in the waiting room, there are even virtual portals for other family members to use to keep in tune with their loved ones progress.  Launch an internet browser, select the proper facility, enter the patient ID and then the patient’s progress is shown on the screen.   To see an example, click here.

Of course there are some considerations to installing screens in the correct areas, as well as configuring the computers at each screen. This assures that each display presents the relevant information to either inform the staff or to comply with HIPPA and protect the privacy of patients.  Handled correctly however, the system can reduce the cost of care and provide a value added service that reduces the anxiety of those waiting in the hospital as well.  So if you are a hospital looking to increase efficiency and reduce the cost of providing amazing health care, integrating a patient tracking system into your facility is most likely a good start.

At Avidex AV, we are leveraging over 20 years of experience with innovative technology to drive positive business outcomes in healthcare.  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.seattlechildrens.org/clinics-programs/a-z/

#2: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19050663

#3:http://www.chcf.org/~/media/MEDIA%20LIBRARY%20Files/PDF/U/PDF%20UsingPatientTrackingToolsInHospitals.pdf

#4: https://www.haltonhealthcare.on.ca/newsletter/2014/august/smartrack.html

#5: http://www.peacehealth.org/apps/SmarTrack/

#6: http://www.zenginehq.com/patient-navigator?gclid=CJvT_oWy0cQCFQuMaQodgIsAMQ

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

Design vs. Disruption in 2015

The healthcare industry is experiencing a mighty wave of technology that is inevitably changing its landscape. Last year, we saw the telehealth market booming, and a wide-scale adoption of telemedicine and remote monitoring took place. Those changes indicate the coming of a bigger and more divisive force that could change the face of healthcare sector completely. Many are wondering if the approach is best suited for the healthcare industry, or if a more sustainable and design-oriented approach is more appropriate. A recent article featured in MedCity.com discusses the Disruption vs. Design conundrum in the context of the healthcare industry.

The article cites the views of Gabriella Rosen Kellerman, senior manager for clinical design for San Francisco-based Castlight Health, who has questioned the viability of the disruptive model of innovation in her review of “Think Big, Start Small, Move Fast: A Blueprint for Transformation from the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation.” The book, written by the three founding members of Mayo’s Center for Innovation, Nicholas LaRusso, Barbara Spurrier and Gianrico Farrugia, talks about a more subtle approach to innovation in healthcare: sustaining or “transformational” innovation, which is “an evolutionary form of innovation built on an undivided focus on the customer and customer experience,” they write.

Design is an important factor for these authors and they assert that, when applied properly and practiced over time, it can eliminate the need for disruption. Kellerman has observed that the Mayo Clinic’s Center for Innovation is “implicitly skeptical” of the disruptive theory:

“The authors of ‘Think Big’ are quick to acknowledge the relatively modest ambitions of their brand of innovation. ‘Is our Pediatric Phlebotomy Chair a disruptive innovation? … Probably not,’ they write.” Although it did transform the patient experience, it’s hardly a game changer —and really, that’s by design. Tearing down everything and starting over is not an option in health care.” According to Kellerman, supporting design-oriented innovation is not meant to reject the disruptive approach, but rather to promote “non-disruptive innovation—not because the theory of disruption is bankrupt, but because sustaining innovation is a necessary and valid endeavor in its own right.”

With the promise of new technologies starting to transform the healthcare industry, the coming years will witness industry evolution in new ways. We’ll have to wait and watch if the changes that occur disrupt or take on a more design-oriented approach.

We would love for you to share your thoughts about the pros and cons of the Disruption vs. Design approach in the healthcare industry. Which way do you think we are headed?

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

Walgreens Gets Into Telemedicine

U.S retail pharmacy giant Walgreens has announced a partnership with telemedicine company MDLive to offer its customers 24-hr access to medical assistance via digital health technology. How will this move affect the U.S healthcare and telehealth industry? A recent Forbes article discusses the impact of this move.

Lowering the cost of offering healthcare services is one of the most obvious drives behind healthcare companies entering into the telehealth market. For instance, MDLive’s “virtual visit” or consultation with a physician is priced at $49, and may cost even less depending on the customer’s health insurance coverage. Moreover, with reimbursement options opening up for remote healthcare providers, major drugstore chains like Walgreen, CVS Health (CVS), and Walmart Stores are stepping into remote healthcare to gain from these benefits.

This, however, is not Walgreens’ first brush with telemedicine. The drugstore giant had forayed into telehealth last year when it launched a “pharmacy chat” feature that connects customers with the company’s pharmacists and staff around-the-clock. From this perspective, its deal with MDLive can be viewed as an extension of its telehealth services with a broader reach.  For now, Walgreens will make this service available to its customers in California and Michigan, with “plans to rollout to additional states and markets over time.”

The article cites Walgreens’ chief medical officer, Dr. Harry Leider, as he explained the company’s vision with regard to telehealth, “We are going to be getting into the telemedicine space where you consult a board certified physician from your computer, your tablet, or your phone,” Leider said in an interview at the 2014 Forbes Healthcare Summit. “We are extending this idea of convenience into the digital space.”

Digital health technology is being supported by factors such as the Affordable Care Act and insurance payment trends that are gradually taking patient care out of the hospital and putting choices into the customers’ hands. The current focus is on improving treatment and continuity of care while reducing the overall medical expenses.

The full impact of telemedicine remains to be seen as more and more companies jump on board. It will be interesting to watch how Walgreen’s adoption will pave the way for telehealth in the retail sector.

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

How To Use Technology To Save Money And Increase Efficiency Through Standardization

presentation room ftraining room fThe current sluggish economic climate means that many companies have to be more careful about their spending. While information technology is a necessary cost of doing business, it is still critical for today’s companies to save money on their IT & AV expenditures so that they can do more with their budget. One of the most effective ways of using technology to save money and increase efficiency is through standardization. Standardization can provide organizations with several key benefits, including a reduction in IT/AV downtime, support and lowered training costs for new users.

Reduced Training Costs

Training is a big factor in IT/AV costs. Consider the case of the Arlington Science Focus Elementary School, located in Arlington, VA near the nation’s capital. Charles W. Harvey III, the senior instructional technology coordinator for the school, told EdTech magazine recently that using the same computer hardware, presentation tools, and applications in all 30 of the school’s classrooms has given teachers and students the ability to move between classrooms and grade levels seamlessly, without wasting time and money on complicated training systems. Harvey went on to say that he never has to worry about re-teaching basic concepts on different types of hardware and software and can instead focus on advanced concepts to make learning easier for students.

Lowered IT Support Costs

Another major benefit of standardization is that you can reduce the amount of support costs that your organization faces when it comes to keeping your network systems up and running. If you streamline your technology by purchasing hardware from a single vendor, for example, you will only have to deal with one particular support department and one set of patches or fixes.

One of the big concerns of professionals interested in using technology to save money and increase efficiency is the upfront cost of buying technology from the same place. Critics may point out that it would be cheaper for businesses to shop around and buy each component of their network from a different source so that they can get the best price on their overall network. This argument does hold some weight, but Dana Norton at TechRepublic says that while you may not save money at the point of purchase when you buy from a single manufacturer, having a standardized hardware policy could be beneficial in the long-term when your upgrades and maintenance costs are less expensive. You also will not have to hire as many different IT support specialists when you standardize your technology, which is important whether you are bringing on internal staff or outsourcing your IT requirements.

Decisions about your technology should not be made lightly. Your company’s network is what allows you to communicate, collaborate and get important tasks completed. Standardizing your IT/AV systems is an excellent method of using technology to save money and increase efficiency for your business. The key is deciding which particular provider you will trust with your IT/AV requirements: be sure to do your research so that you can find an IT/AV specialist that can be counted upon to help you with your network requirements.

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

How Critical Information On Displays Is Used Throughout Healthcare Facilities

display in op roomHealthcare is a field that hinges upon the timely, efficient exchange of information. Doctors need to get information from their patients about health problems, and then they need to provide the patients with information about how they can recover from those problems. In order for a healthcare facility to operate smoothly, doctors, nurses, and administrators have to be able to seamlessly exchange information with each other. Increasingly, healthcare professionals are finding success using displays in healthcare facilities to make transmitting critical information to the right parties more efficient.

Displays For Patient Health Monitoring

Using displays in healthcare facilities for patient monitoring is a long-standing practice, but recent advancements in technology have made displays much more efficient at showing healthcare providers the information they need. Many displays are dynamic and can be scaled up or down depending on the particular patient care situation. As wireless technology grows, patient health displays are also becoming more portable, which is excellent for allowing doctors to get more things done with the limited hours that they have to work.

In-Room Displays For Hospital Patients

Another big advantage of using displays in healthcare facilities is that they can provide doctors and nurses with the ability to get key information about patients with a single glance at a display in their room. Customizable digital displays can be used to show a patient’s name, diagnosis, medication schedule, and any notes made by previous caregivers. These kinds of displays make it easy for patients that are staying in a hospital or long-term care facility to get treatment by multiple providers without any critical information slipping through the cracks.

Displays To Provide Patients With Information

Healthcare professionals are not the only ones that can benefit from using displays in healthcare facilities to get information. Displays that are set up properly in a facility can be used to give patients and their loved ones information in several ways:

• Navigation: large facilities like hospitals are often difficult to navigate. Display solutions can be used to provide directions to the exact places that patients and their families need to go, which can reduce hallway traffic and lower the burden placed on help desk professionals.
• Treatment information: when patients need to get detailed information about how to take care of themselves, displays can help by giving them an interactive method of learning about the right way to administer self-treatment.
• Updates on the facility status: if a certain area or clinic of the facility is experiencing a heavy amount of traffic or is going to be closed for renovations, using displays in healthcare facilities is an excellent way to transmit this information to people that need to know about it.

As display technology continues to advance, its applications in providing information for doctors and their patients will grow even more robust. It is very important that healthcare facilities not only have a display system set up properly, but also have the resources needed to keep these displays running at a high level so that patients and doctors can get the information that is required to make healthcare faster and more effective.

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