Tag Archives: American Telemedicine Association

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.


#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

Breaking Through the Telemedicine Payment Barrier

dr A and BA tale of two doctors. 

Doctor A and Doctor B see two patients simultaneously.  Both patients have come in for a follow up visit on their recent knee surgeries.  Both doctors speak with their patients for 15 minutes, asking about the recovery, if the patient has any abnormal pain, and observing the leg for any visible redness or abnormal swelling.  Both patients are recovering well, are pain free, and look to be avoiding infection.  The doctors both advise their patients to continue on as they have been, and to come back in another month for another follow up appointment.  The patient outcome is the same in both scenarios.  Doctor A gets a check from the insurance company as usual.  Doctor B submits for payment to the insurance company as well and is denied payment.  Doctor A gets paid and Doctor B is left holding the bag saying, “Show me the money.”  The difference?  Doctor A sees his patient in person, while Doctor B sees her patient through the use of a video conferencing system.

It’s amazing to think that telemedicine has been around for nearly 40 years.  Of course, the technology used back then was markedly different than today’s high definition audio video teleconferencing systems.  Yet despite these innovative leaps in technology, one thing has remained rather constant.  The insurance companies have not paid telemedicine claims in the same way as in person visits, and sometimes, haven’t agreed to pay for them at all.  This lack of payment has been a major problem in the adoption and proliferation of telemedicine systems in general.

Today however, all that is changing at a quicker pace than ever before.

There are two main reasons that the tide is shifting in favor of telemedicine, creating what Forbes called a “perfect storm” for the rapid adoption of telemedicine as a viable way to reduce health care costs and better leverage the limited resources of our physicians’ time.

Federal Regulation

To start, the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, is redefining the way we evaluate medical care.  It is moving our insurance payer model from a “fee for service model” to one based on patient outcomes.  According to Shahid Shah, CEO of Netspective, also known as “The Healthcare IT Guy”, the idea is not the services that the provider performs and gets fees paid for; instead it is the outcome that the services provide that is of significance.” It is this focus on outcomes that means “Physicians will get paid for emails and phone visits in the same way they get paid for in-person visits…”

Besides the ACA, the Medicaid program is also creating opportunities for telemedicine to proliferate as well by defining care standards for “the use of interactive telecommunications equipment that includes, at a minimum, audio and video equipment.” They in turn are encouraging states “to use the flexibility inherent in federal law to create innovative payment methodologies for services that incorporate telemedicine technology.”

State Legislation

Given the efficiencies of telemedicine, the need for health care reform, and the directives of federal programs like Medicaid above, the states have indeed been leveraging their power as well to change the way insurance companies are approaching payments.

In fact, currently 27 states now have laws in place to assure that telehealth is treated similarly to in person visits from a payment perspective.  The three latest states to pass this legislation were Indiana, Minnesota, and Nevada.  There are currently 8 other states in the process of this type of legislation as well.  Given those bills are passed with equal fervor, it seems 35 states and Washington DC will all have some type of telemedicine legislation in effect by the end of the year.  Of course not all states are implementing this equally, so the American Telemedicine Association has created a resource center to help educate us on the differences.

It has been shown through several studies that Americans are ready and willing to start to leverage telemedicine to take control of their health.  Unfortunately, despite the patient’s desire to take advantage of these services and their innate cost efficiencies, Telehealth has been undervalued for many years…because the reimbursement climate for telehealth was not favourable.” However today, through the exercise of governmental reforms on the state and federal levels, we have finally broken through the telemedicine payment barrier.

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.



#1: http://www.handsontelehealth.com/past-issues/139-healthcare-reform-how-telehealth-and-telemedicine-fit-in

#2: http://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2014/12/09/with-aca-telemedicine-in-perfect-storm-for-coverage/#3

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

#4: http://www.americantelemed.org/news-landing/2015/05/27/milestone-most-states-now-have-telehealth-parity-laws#.VXfD3PlVikq

#5: http://www.americantelemed.org/policy/state-policy-resource-center/#.VXfD2PlVikr

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