Author Archives: Jim Colquhoun

Jim Colquhoun

About Jim Colquhoun

Jim Colquhoun is the Chief Technologist for Avidex. Jim brings an exceptional record of management and operational experience, as well as expertise in the design and integration of communications, AV, and broadcast systems. Jim can be reached at jcolquhoun@avidexav.com

Telemedicine: Putting Inmate Healthcare Costs on Lockdown.

Read any of the headlines on America’s prison system today and you will find a common theme. It’s expensive to maintain. Incarcerating people is often necessary to protect society, but it does 19606432_scome at a steep financial cost. We all know the system is expensive, but I doubt many of us know exactly where the money goes. You may be surprised to know that up to 30% of the cost is related to providing healthcare to inmates.

“Typically 9 to 30 percent of corrections costs go to inmate health care. This amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars nationally…” -The Urban Institute

One of the reasons that care is so expensive is that in the United States, we treat our prisoners rather well, and as such, are required to provide them with medical care comparable to that which they would receive if they were not incarcerated. Most times this means transporting them off site to receive healthcare evaluations and services, and providing transportation to and these appointments can really add up.

“In Washington, D.C., for example, inmate medical services in its jail cost about $33 million in 2012, a quarter of its corrections budget. This does not include the cost of sending corrections officers to guard prisoners who receive medical treatment outside the jail.” -The Urban Institute

The cost of sending corrections officers to guard inmates at these appointments should not be minimized or overlooked.

“The cost of guarding inmates transported to medical care outside of prison is approximately $2,000 per inmate per 24 hours. Even for part of a day, the costs associated with transporting an inmate to care can be substantial.” –The Urban Institute

The system is not only very inefficient but it also potentially puts the public safety at risk by removing prisoners from the facilities designed to contain them and instead putting them on the road with armed guards where an escape attempt may be more likely.

So how do we responsibly decrease the cost of care and reduce travel to and from off-site healthcare facilities while still providing humane and comparable care to those in prison?

It seems that Telemedicine may in fact be the answer.

According to The Urban Institute’s report on this subject, “Telemedicine also can reduce costs where demand for a medical specialty does not justify specialized doctors to be available on regular schedules inside the jail. It is especially useful for some specialties, such as radiology, dermatology, and psychiatry.”

Telemedicine creates great efficiencies in providing care that reduce costs anywhere from $200-$1000 per inmate. Not only does cost of care go down, but the quality of care potentially increases, as “telemedicine expands the pool of medical specialists who can be used, as some doctors may be reluctant to practice in a correctional setting.” Better care for less? That sounds like an upside for both the correctional facility and the inmate.

So if your correctional facility would like to save money on providing care and time on transporting inmates to medical appointments all the while increasing public safety and the quality of care, you should be exploring implementing a telemedicine system at your facility. The start-up costs are mainly related to purchasing the appropriate audio video hardware, so from a technology cost perspective, the hurdles are lower than they have ever been and a great technology partner is never more than a phone call away.

Do you want to put your healthcare costs on lockdown? Telemedicine is the answer.

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.urban.org/sites/default/files/alfresco/publication-pdfs/412754-Opportunities-for-Cost-Savings-in-Corrections-Without-Sacrificing-Service-Quality-Inmate-Health-Care.PDF

#2: http://blog.avidex.com/choosing-the-right-av-partner-for-healthcare-facility-design/

Jim Colquhoun

About Jim Colquhoun

Jim Colquhoun is the Chief Technologist for Avidex. Jim brings an exceptional record of management and operational experience, as well as expertise in the design and integration of communications, AV, and broadcast systems. Jim can be reached at jcolquhoun@avidexav.com

The Wait is Over: The Future of Waiting Rooms

crowded waiting roomWaiting in the doctor’s office is about as entertaining as watching paint dry, but somehow it is never quite as relaxing.  All facetiousness aside, few things are more frustrating than sitting in a doctor’s office until the physician is ready to see you.  Today, thanks to technology, patients need not spend hours of precious time reading out-of-date magazines in their caregiver’s reception area.  Instead, innovative technologies and mobile apps are helping patients take the wait out of the waiting room by allowing them to get in a virtual queue so that they don’t have to waste time in a lobby or line before seeing their health provider.  Here’s how these tech tools are working to improve patient care and satisfaction:

Mobile Devices:  Today, an app called QLess puts patients on a virtual queue and lets them see at a glance their projected wait time.  The program also provides periodic text and voice message updates, which lets health consumers know more precisely when their provider will be ready to see them.  As a result, individuals can get a cup of coffee, run errands, or hang around the house until they know their doctor will be available.

Of course, if a patient expects to be delayed, then they can always send their providers an update via the app too.  The result: less waiting time for patients; and fewer walkaways, no-shows and empty time slots for health providers.

Physicians are realizing many other benefits from virtual waiting rooms.  For instance, in an era of social media and the empowered customer, health providers recognize that consumer satisfaction translates into higher online ratings, which undoubtedly effect the attraction of new clients (and the bottom-line).   Furthermore, by offering mobile apps and Internet–based services, many organizations can convert digital users and website visitors into regular in-clinic consumers.

Medicine Going Mobile: Care providers are also using telemedicine carts, mobile medical vans and video conferencing to connect patients with physicians prior to or as an alternative to face-to-face care.  Telemedicine – such as virtual consultations via videoconferencing – is gaining traction.   An additional trend gaining momentum is wayfinding via digital signage, where hospitals use digital signs – often incorporating video — that help visitors navigate medical facilities.

Digital Kiosks:  Digital kiosks are another option health providers are utilizing to help cut down patient wait time.  These self-serve video and computer platforms have proven popular in many environments, such as malls.  Today, care providers are using them in reception areas, ambulatory settings and even emergency rooms where they are used to facilitate patient check-in, screening and bill collecting.

Virtual waiting platforms help providers optimize workflow, reduce paperwork and improve medical care, all of which leads to better health results and higher patient satisfaction.  Further, virtual queuing and telemedicine apps come with another positive side effect: they can provide much useful information on patient behavior, patterns and outcomes.  For instance, data analytics gained through health apps can help identify patient preferences, wait-time, caregiver efficiency and many other important metrics.

All in all, virtual waiting rooms are a win-win for both patients and providers alike because they allow everyone to use their time and resources more efficiently.  The electronic waiting room may not be a cure for every ill, but it is a technological wonder that is improving the lives of many health consumers.

Resources:

#1:  http://electronichealthreporter.com/take-the-wait-out-of-the-waiting-room-how-mobile-queue-solutions-increase-patient-satisfaction/

#2:  http://electronichealthreporter.com/take-the-wait-out-of-the-waiting-room-how-mobile-queue-solutions-increase-patient-satisfaction/

Jim Colquhoun

About Jim Colquhoun

Jim Colquhoun is the Chief Technologist for Avidex. Jim brings an exceptional record of management and operational experience, as well as expertise in the design and integration of communications, AV, and broadcast systems. Jim can be reached at jcolquhoun@avidexav.com

Are Doctors Too Connected To Their Technology?

Today technology has become an inseparable part of the healthcare industry, facilitating effective treatment, lowering medical costs, and bettering continuity of care. While doctors are leveraging technology to provide treatment and care, there may be concern that they are becoming too connected to technology. A current report on MedcityNews.com discussed a survey that revealed some shocking truths about how present-day medical practitioners are using technology and their attitudes toward it.
Recently a survey was conducted at the Integrative Health and Medicine conference on 754 medical practitioners, 78% of whom are physicians. According to the survey, over half of all healthcare practitioners surveyed confessed to feeling more attached to computers than their patients on “most days.” Moreover, 65% of medical practitioners have considered quitting medicine, as they no longer find it rewarding. While this second survey from the conference revealed some startling statistics, the first one had some equally eye-opening revelations:
According to the first survey, only 19% of healthcare providers using telemedicine are being reimbursed for it by insurance. In spite of such roadblocks, healthcare providers are continuing the use of telemedicine – 67% of respondents are either providing services using telemedicine now, or have plans to do it in the coming years.
Here are some more findings from the survey:
• More than half the time, 56% of respondents feel disappointed with their healthcare practice.
• 62% admit to having a patient overload.
• 5% feel exhausted for an average of fifteen or more days every month due to their work schedule.
• 31% feel burned out for more than half the time due to work.
• More than one third of respondents reported that they were not getting full reimbursement for over 40% of patient visits.
Despite the tech wave sweeping over the healthcare landscape, there is a disconnect existing in the system that is not only coming in the way of more fruitful tech adoption, but is also causing dissatisfaction among healthcare professionals.
The survey results certainly raise some serious concerns for the industry, and time will tell how well those concerns are met. Are you as surprised by the findings as we are?

Jim Colquhoun

About Jim Colquhoun

Jim Colquhoun is the Chief Technologist for Avidex. Jim brings an exceptional record of management and operational experience, as well as expertise in the design and integration of communications, AV, and broadcast systems. Jim can be reached at jcolquhoun@avidexav.com

How Telemedicine is Changing Healthcare

With more than half of U.S. hospitals treating patients remotely, telemedicine is fast pervading our current healthcare system. From consultation and diagnosis to treatment, telemedicine is being used by medical professionals for almost all stages of healthcare service. As an added bonus, patients are growing increasingly more comfortable with the idea of being treated via telemedicine.

A recent article in USNews.com sheds light on how telemedicine is changing the face of today’s healthcare. Citing the views and experiences shared in the U.S. News Hospital of Tomorrow forum by leading telemedicine professionals, the article brings forth the myriad ways in which telemedicine is impacting lives.

Jonathan Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association, discussed the extensive reach of telemedicine to rural areas which are not only miles away from world-class healthcare facilities, but which also lack proper healthcare infrastructure. To date, the national telemedicine network numbers in over 100 networks in the country at present, and he predicted that online medical consultations via webcam reached almost 1 million patients this year alone. He also stressed the role of remote monitoring in treating stroke patients, which might pave the way for high quality care at lower cost. Naturally, given both the convenience and the reduced costs, patients are accepting telemedicine as a viable healthcare and treatment solution.

According to Steven Sternberg, deputy rankings editor of U.S.News, the future of patient-doctor relationship will involve a screen. He also noted that screens are already in use in some areas, stating that “in some emergency rooms in San Francisco, you can walk into a kiosk, answer a set of questions and your course of care will be decided by an algorithm in a computer.”

Applauding telemedicine for leading more efficient decision-making in critical healthcare situations, Steven A. Fuhrman, eICU medical director at Sentara Healthcare, has found telemedicine to boost staff efficiency and measures for proactive care. Incidentally, Sentara Healthcare is the first remote critical care clinic in the U.S.

Assistant professor of orthopaedic oncology at The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Robert L. Satcher Jr., predicted the growth of telemedicine as a viable method for cancer care and treatment, especially in rural areas with limited access to quality healthcare.

As you can see from just the snippets shared above which are discussed at greater length in the full article, with telemedicine growing in leaps and bounds, that time is near when it might replace traditional medicine as the primary choice of healthcare method for professionals and patients alike.

Jim Colquhoun

About Jim Colquhoun

Jim Colquhoun is the Chief Technologist for Avidex. Jim brings an exceptional record of management and operational experience, as well as expertise in the design and integration of communications, AV, and broadcast systems. Jim can be reached at jcolquhoun@avidexav.com

Sure, We’ve Heard of Telemedicine, But What About Telepharmacy?

When it comes to innovation, sometimes there are big sweeping changes and sometimes there are small more elegant changes, but either way, when innovation is done right it can change an industry.

For instance, when Telemedicine first made its way into the medical community it was a giant sweeping innovation that put a new light on an entire industry. Serving customers from hundreds or thousands of miles away using technology? That was a big deal.

Now that Telemedicine has for all intents and purposes moved into the mainstream, innovators are already looking for the next opportunity. Recently we talked about specialized telemedicine for neurology, but now a sister industry to the medical community is seizing technology to revolutionize the way business is done.

According to a recent piece in Pharmacy Times – Telemedicine Fills Pharmacy Services Gap Following Rural Store Closures, there has been some substantial investment made in recent months into the concept of “Telepharmacy.” Much like telemedicine it would be the exchange of services over technology, but in this case it would allow patients that have questions related to medication to connect to their pharmacist via video (embracing the cloud).

In the long run both small and major pharmacies could turn to this model to create the entire fulfillment process virtually, potentially saving time and money for those needing access to medication and pharmacy services.

At Avidex AV we provide a full spectrum of audio, video and collaboration technologies to enable telemedicine, telehealth and all the innovation in the medical industry. Connect with us to find out how we can help your business.

Jim Colquhoun

About Jim Colquhoun

Jim Colquhoun is the Chief Technologist for Avidex. Jim brings an exceptional record of management and operational experience, as well as expertise in the design and integration of communications, AV, and broadcast systems. Jim can be reached at jcolquhoun@avidexav.com

Why Neurology Is A Great Fit For Telemedicine

With explosive growth around the world the adoption of Telemedicine is showing no signs of slowing down. However, for most people thinking of Telemedicine they are thinking about remote healthcare and simple medical consultations. But is that the extent of what is possible?

In short, the answer is no, with Telemedicine there is so much more possible then just the well known popular applications. In fact, a recent article from Healthcare Informatics  digs into this very topic as they explore how “TeleNeurology” may be a great application for telemedicine.

In this article the author Miles Drake, an MD and neurology professor at The Ohio State University explores how neurology patients could benefit form the utilization of telemedicine.  One great example that Dr. Drake mentioned was the ability to make meaningful assessments of patients through simple verbal and physical interaction that can be made more than easily over video.

He goes on to discuss that there are certain limitations for a Neurologist as parts of a diagnosis are made based on touch and feel, however he clearly indicates that the majority of a diagnosis can be made in other ways, which is precisely why the adoption of telemedicine can help more patients receive care faster and less expensively.

In the future Dr. Drake believes specialty medicine via Telehealth will see strong growth and adoption.  We feel similar as we continue to work with organizations to expand their telemedicine offering.

At Avidex AV we work closely with our healthcare partners to deliver the best current and emerging technology to help providers connect more closely with their patients. Connect with us to see how Avidex can help your organization.

 

Jim Colquhoun

About Jim Colquhoun

Jim Colquhoun is the Chief Technologist for Avidex. Jim brings an exceptional record of management and operational experience, as well as expertise in the design and integration of communications, AV, and broadcast systems. Jim can be reached at jcolquhoun@avidexav.com

Are cloud based solutions right for the healthcare environment?

Doctor cloudThe tech industry today is abuzz with information about the cloud: what it is, how it is being developed and implemented, and why it matters. In the complex world of healthcare, many doctors and administrators are still unsure about what the cloud is and whether or not it can help them do their work. Because of the nature of the medical field and the already-existing applications for cloud technology, cloud based solutions and the healthcare industry are very well suited for each other.

The Cloud’s Current Position In Healthcare

Reports and research show that the cloud is already being harnessed regularly in the healthcare field. Markets and Markets, a research firm based in Texas, projects that by 2017 the global healthcare cloud computing market will be worth $5.4 billion. M&M further reports that many HCOs are setting aside money to migrate their systems to the cloud in the next five years. Adoption is happening quickly: in a more recent Forbes Article, Louis Columbus references data indicating that 83% of IT executives say they already use cloud services.

An article in CIO also points to the rise of cloud use in the healthcare field: Brian Eastwood writes about a 31% rise between 2012 and 2013 in the use of the cloud for storing personal health information. It is clear that the cloud is present and on the rise in healthcare, but healthcare professionals looking to truly understand the connection between healthcare and the cloud also have to examine why the cloud is entering the field at such a rapid rate.

Why The Cloud And Healthcare Are Perfect For Each Other

Cloud based solutions and the healthcare industry make sense together primarily because of the way that the cloud stores and provides access to data, which is an integral process in the medical field. There are many healthcare applications where cloud solutions can make information access easier and more streamlined than traditional methods:

  • Managing payment and financial data: the cloud makes it much easier for administrators across an entire healthcare facility or system of facilities to access and edit financial data, which makes accounting procedures less difficult to manage
  • Backup and disaster recovery: in case of a major natural disaster or other event that wreaks havoc on a healthcare facility’s on-site computing systems, cloud solutions will make recovery much easier
  • Clinical data and applications: this is a huge reason that cloud based solutions and the healthcare industry are a good match. Cloud solutions mean that doctors and their staff can access clinical tools used for patient care from any location, which makes it easier to review patient records, make notes about treatment options, and provide more accurate diagnoses

Although it is clear that cloud based solutions and the healthcare industry will work well together, there are hurdles to this union. Some network administrators express concern over potential challenges with security and HIPAA compliance that the cloud might pose. Regardless of these obstacles, current data and future projections indicate that cloud based solutions and the healthcare industry are going to be closely connected for many years into the future.

Jim Colquhoun

About Jim Colquhoun

Jim Colquhoun is the Chief Technologist for Avidex. Jim brings an exceptional record of management and operational experience, as well as expertise in the design and integration of communications, AV, and broadcast systems. Jim can be reached at jcolquhoun@avidexav.com

DIGITAL SIGNAGE AND EMERGENCY MESSAGING – Digital signage can communicate, educate, inform and entertain

Digital SignWhat’s the quickest, most effective way to get a message out to a large number of people in the same general area? Post a sign. A large, clear sign can be used to communicate anything from, “Caution: Wet Floor” to “Meeting Moved to Conference Hall B,” and much more. But what if you constantly have new information to provide to your employees, or to your patients? What if there are new bulletins every day that need to go out? Or some sort of emergency, for which you need to get the information out quickly? What if the sign you posted earlier has an error and needs to be changed in a hurry and everyone alerted to the change? What can you do? The solution is digital signage.

Communicating Digitally En Masse

Digital signage can be many things, but generally refers to a large display or series of displays that can present information, either text, images, or both, on a video screen. Whereas a fixed sign has only a limited amount of space for its message, a digital sign’s capacity is potentially limitless. It can scroll through a longer message if necessary and it can be interactive. It can be programmed to rotate through several different messages over a given period of time. And most importantly, it can be changed and updated quickly and frequently, to reflect the latest information or announcements, and keep everyone up to date.

Digital signage can be a very helpful tool in hospitals, medical office buildings and other healthcare facilities. A digital sign can be used to display patient names, to let them know that their prescription is ready to be picked up. It can inform patients of any special instructions or information to keep in mind during their visit. It can also be useful to employees, providing them with a continually updating list of patients who are currently waiting for care.

There are a variety of other fields wherein digital signage can be helpful. Whether you have regular announcements or a continual stream of information to communicate, a digital sign is the best way to keep everyone informed in a building, on a campus, or on multiple campuses.

Digital Signage Networking

Digital signage content can also be displayed across multiple locations. Since the signs are all connected to a network (which is how they’re updated), you can stream content from a single source to all of your signs in different buildings across town or across the country, so that everyone gets the message immediately. You can make generic announcements, personalize them for each location, or remotely send an individual message to a single sign.

Digital signage is a great way of providing more than just announcements and emergency information. If you have a captive audience, such as in a lobby, or a hospital waiting room, you can provide a variety of helpful content to keep people occupied and informed while they wait. You can provide a local news feed, traffic and weather updates, a map of the building to help them locate their next destination, or just a cycle of advertising or branded content, to keep your company on their minds.

There are a variety of reasons why you might need to communicate information publicly to employees, customers, patients, or casual bystanders. Whether it’s an emergency situation that requires an urgent alert, or simple background content to help pass the time, digital signage is the best, most efficient way to get the word out.

Jim Colquhoun

About Jim Colquhoun

Jim Colquhoun is the Chief Technologist for Avidex. Jim brings an exceptional record of management and operational experience, as well as expertise in the design and integration of communications, AV, and broadcast systems. Jim can be reached at jcolquhoun@avidexav.com

Enter The Operating Room Of The Future

operating room of the futureJust how much will technology invade the operating room of the future? In a world where robots are performing highly complicated surgical procedures; the answer is quite a bit.

How about beyond the operating table and into the surrounding environment? How much is technology going to impact the immediate surroundings of the patient? For a long time we have seen screens and monitoring devices, but will consumerization and high tech gadgets find their way into the ER?

According to this provocative piece in Fast Company – Inside The Operating Room Of The Future, Where Doctors Use Google Glass, the future of the Operating Room is here. In an exploration of Kaiser Permanente’s Garfield Innovation Center in California, the use of Telepresence, Interactive Digital Monitors and even Google Glass is already being put into production. Well, not quite production, but darn close.

At the featured facility Doctors are operating on “Humanoids” in these high tech environments where the focus is the most advanced technology and the perfection of the medical checklist with the expectation that interactive technology can reduce human error and improve doctor performance.

At Avidex we provide leading healthcare facilities with the very best technologies including telepresence and high-tech monitors that can be utilized throughout healthcare facilities. If you want to learn more about how we can help, get in touch with one of our account representatives. We look forward to hearing from you.

Jim Colquhoun

About Jim Colquhoun

Jim Colquhoun is the Chief Technologist for Avidex. Jim brings an exceptional record of management and operational experience, as well as expertise in the design and integration of communications, AV, and broadcast systems. Jim can be reached at jcolquhoun@avidexav.com

How Healthcare Is Following The Tech Industry In A Good Way

Finding Advancement for Health Care in the Progression of the Tech Industry.

Perhaps you remember how in the 1980’s the world of information technology was entrenched in closed architecture. Hardware, networks and system design were all closed down and had almost no ability to talk to systems outside of themselves

Can you imagine how that would look in today’s connected society?

For the medical industry there has been a lot of similar trends to the tech industry of the 80’s. Systems have come online in a closed capacity and have had little if any integration with other systems. This has made the idea of ubiquitous healthcare seem impossible, but there appears to be hope.

In a recent Huffington Post article – How Today’s Healthcare Industry Resembles the Tech Industry of the 1980s, and Why That Gives Me Hope, there is a great story on how the healthcare industry is following the tech industry in terms of embracing technologies such as open standards, cloud, mobile and more.

This transition is going to open up doors for healthcare providers to design and implement solutions not only for medical records but also for healthcare communication. Trends such as telemedicine where doctors use technology to collaborate will become simpler to implement and utilize in a system where client information can be easily shared in a secure environment.

At Avidex we work every day with healthcare organizations to advance the way they’re using technology to better communicate. If your organization is looking for this type of help, we’d love to hear from you. Contact information can be found at AvidexAV. In the meantime, check out the article on Huff Post and let us know what you think.

To read the article provided by the Huff Post click here

Jim Colquhoun

About Jim Colquhoun

Jim Colquhoun is the Chief Technologist for Avidex. Jim brings an exceptional record of management and operational experience, as well as expertise in the design and integration of communications, AV, and broadcast systems. Jim can be reached at jcolquhoun@avidexav.com