Tag Archives: AV

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

Virtual Medicine: The Cure for Complying With Government Mandates

Keeping a lid on medical costs has proven to be a Herculean task.  Numerous financial experts –Warren Buffet, for instance – have warned that spending 20% of the nation’s GDP on health care is neither wise nor sustainable.  Consequently, policymakers, government agencies and legislation — including the Affordable Care Act — have attempted to reign in spiraling health-related expenses.

Today, hospitals have to comply with government directives aimed at reducing patient readmission rates by at least 5%.  The use of telemedicine to deliver patient follow-up care can help health providers reduce expenses and better comply with government regulations.

In fact, reducing patient readmission rates represents a major opportunity to trim health care expenditures.  For instance, studies indicate that as many as 25% of the patients discharged from their care facilities will be readmitted within less than a month.  Many patient readmissions are unnecessary and preventable.  Undoubtedly, the vast majority of patients would prefer to avoid a return stay.  Also, hospitals could save substantial sums if they could deliver quality follow-up care in the patient’s home via telemedicine.  After all, they would free up bed space for new patients even as they continue to generate revenue from their follow-up outpatients.  Therefore, all stakeholders have an interest in avoiding costly readmissions.

Care providers recognize that better patient monitoring and technological connectivity are essential to improving health outcomes.  In most cases, in-home care is the best option for all concerned.  Here are several ways providers can utilize video to deliver quality follow-up care.

  • Cloud-based Systems: Integrating communication, care and data collection when multiple parties are involved is essential. Cloud-based solutions enable hospitals, primary physicians and patients to collaborate across a unified platform, so medical services are delivered seamlessly.
  • Virtual Visits: Thanks to videoconferencing, physicians can remain in their offices but consult face-to-face with patients in their own homes or office.   In particular, telemedicine carts in a patient’s residence now include plug and play diagnostic peripherals, which allow remotely-located physicians and care providers to measure blood pressure, heart rate and other vital signs in real-time. In short, high-tech video examinations can be every bit as productive as actual visits.
  • Medicine Management: Telepharmacy involves the use of video and digital technology to fill prescriptions and connect patients with remotely located pharmacists.   Virtual druggists can dispense, monitor and manage patient medications electronically.
  • Daily Health Checks: Electronic in-home monitoring helps care providers track patient progress. Additionally, improved follow-up care and oversight encourages healthier habits among patients.

Studies indicate that follow-up care delivered by telemedicine can be every bit as good as traditional methods.  In fact, recently the AMA adopted the view that the appropriate use of telemedicine could benefit patients, both in terms of higher quality care and easier access to health services.  Video is emerging as a powerful tool in the healthcare arsenal.  It allows institutions, physicians and patients to cooperate more fully in the post-hospital treatment process.  Lower readmission rates made possible by telemedicine are a healthy sign for patients, hospitals and society as a whole.

Sources:

http://www.chqpr.org/readmissions.html

http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/quality/reducing-hospital-readmissions-rates-how-to-avoid-upcoming-penalties-and-maintain-patient-wellness.html

http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/31/6/1244.short

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25373875 Continue reading

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

Smart Rooms: Boosting the IQ of Healthcare

Digital technology is extending human capabilities.  Smart phones, cloud-based computing and wearable peripherals are just a few of the tools that are putting entirely new possibilities at our fingertips.  Today, another remarkable advance is upon us.  It is called the hospital “Smart Room.”  Initially pioneered by IBM and the University of Pittsburg Medical Center, this IT joint venture is enhancing the delivery of healthcare in amazing ways

A Smart Room is a medical environment in a hospital that utilizes interactive touch screens, ultrasound badges, mobile tracking and other technologies to make patient data and Electronic Medical Records readily available to care providers.

Imagine, for instance, a physician wearing an ultrasound badge.  He is digitally tracked as he makes his rounds.  As he enters each patient’s room, the pertinent case history and medical data is automatically made available on the doctor’s smart phone, tablet, telemedicine cart or a computer monitor.  At a glance, the physician can see the patient’s case history, vital signs, medication and their treatment regimen.  Furthermore, the Smart Room can distinguish between physicians, nurses and other staff; each is given the data or instructions they require to fulfill their functions as they treat or serve their patients.

Smart Boards are another technological advance hospitals are turning to.  Traditionally, care facilities have utilized erasable dry boards and whiteboards to organize schedules, display patient data and other important information.  Today however, static boards with post-it notes and hand-written instruction are being replaced with interactive touch screens that are integrated with an institution’s medical database.  As a result, health providers have quick and easy access to the most comprehensive and up-to-date medical information available.

Smart Boards allow doctors and nurses to check off boxes on a touch screen rather than type or write information down manually.  Consequently, workflow is improved as clinicians can spend more time with their patients and less time documenting the care administered.  Caregivers can also be alerted to medical protocols or checklists that need to be followed.

Advanced technology improves caregiver efficiency, cuts down on paperwork and helps prevent medical errors.  Undoubtedly, this is good for providers, hospitals and patients.  But these high-tech tools have another sometimes overlooked benefit: cutting-edge systems can help hospitals attract the best and brightest.  As Jim Hatcher, chief technology officer at Human Circuit notes, “AV technology and telemedicine will attract talent and ultimately improve the bottom line.”

Digital technology is taking healthcare to new levels.  Smart Rooms include features that help providers prioritize their tasks and analytics that let caregivers and administrators know if the hospital staff is meeting their responsibilities in a timely fashion.  For instance, Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, Washington, is using mobile tracking to pinpoint staff, predict their responsibilities and ping reminders ahead of time.  Patients, too, are seeing tangible benefits.  They can use smart boards and touch screens to keep abreast of upcoming treatment procedures, see caregiver schedules and to access educational media.   In sum, Smart Rooms and smart boards represent a quantum leap in health care.

Sources:

http://www.informationweek.com/healthcare/clinical-information-systems/hospital-rooms-get-smart/d/d-id/1100822?

http://www.infocomm.org/cps/rde/xchg/infocomm/hs.xsl/31945.htm

http://www.rfidjournal.com/articles/view?8268

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

Smart Boards: A More Intelligent Way to Deliver Healthcare

smart boardThe art of medicine has always involved a mixture of technology and the human touch.  Today, the two are coming together in a remarkable new tool.  It’s called the Smart Board, which is an interactive touch-screen display that puts a whole new level of care in reach for both patients and providers.

Traditionally, hospitals have utilized erasable whiteboards to communicate and exhibit caregiver schedules, staff instructions, patient data and other important medical info.  For years, technology no more sophisticated than colored markers and post-it notes served patients and hospitals well.

Today however, the Smart Board as emerged as a powerful new tool that improves workflow, reduces medical errors and leads to better outcomes and experiences for patients.  Here are several ways that they are being used in hospitals:

  • Caregiver Tracking: Caregivers wearing ultrasound badges are tracked as they move about the hospital.  Physicians, nurses and other staff entering a patient’s room will automatically see pertinent medical info or instructions on a Smart Board, tablet or mobile device.
  • EMR Integration:  Smart Boards can mean that healthcare workers no longer have to write down patient data manually.  Caregivers can check off boxes on interactive screens, and that information is automatically integrated within the hospital’s Electronic Medical Records system.
  • Patient Comfort:  Patients can access Smart Boards too.  They can check the scheduling of upcoming procedures, see when their caregivers are due to visit and even watch health-related informational media.
  • Health Protocols:  Hospitals are using tracking devices to locate staff, anticipate their tasks and provide digital reminders via mobile devices and interactive touch screens.  In particular, Smart Boards are especially helpful when it comes to providing caregivers with up-to-date protocols and checklists that need to be followed.
  • Virtual Meetings:  Doctors, nurses and healthcare administrators can use Smart Boards to conduct virtual meetings.  For instance, they can use them to share information on digital whiteboards, collaborate on documents or participate in video conferences.

Hospitals are harnessing technology in ways that smarten the delivery of healthcare.  Mobile devices – smart phones, tablets and telemedicine carts – are being used as data collection portals embedded within a hospital-wide digital ecosystem.  Indeed, one hospital in Salt Lake City Utah is experimenting with “smart watches,” which use color-coded alarms reminding physicians to wash their hands depending on their location within the care facility.

Interestingly, many physicians respond better to high-tech reminders than human oversight.  Nevertheless, integrating AV and digital technology into healthcare settings presents many challenges.  To begin with, medical staffs usually require some familiarization when it comes to the adaptation of new technologies and systems.  Furthermore, hospitals need to partner with AV providers that know the healthcare field.  After all, if you want doctors and nurses to support and embrace new technology, then you have to demonstrate that your company understands what care providers need from you to get their jobs done.

Smart Boards represent the cutting-edge in patient management.  They allow providers to see real-time clinical information on a single screen.  Furthermore, patients can be tracked by both caregivers and family through all stages of the treatment process.  In sum, thanks to high-tech, medicine is getting better and smarter than ever.

Resources:

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/834684

http://www.infocor.com/solutions/SMART-Board.asp

 

 

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

Getting Real: How Simulation Improves Medical Training

The captain peers out of the cockpit window at the runway below.  Suddenly, an emergency light blinks on the flight panel.  The controls seem stiff, unresponsive and one of the engines just conked out.  This is his first flight, and he’s not sure what to do.  Thankfully, the pilot in question was taking a training session in a flight simulator.  He’ll walk away from his mistakes and learn from hours of virtual experience.  When it comes time to fly a real plane, he’ll be prepared.

Simulation is improving how doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals are being trained too.   In fact, the rapid advances in computer modeling and AV technology have made medical simulation one of the most effective ways to educate healthcare providers.  For example, the advantages of simulated learning systems include:

  • Simulated Instruction: According to the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, virtual learning bridges the gap between the classroom and real-life experience. Lessons delivered via streaming video, desk-top simulators and mannequins with computerized sensors are just a few of the high-tech ways medical students are getting a more hands-on approach to their studies than they’d find in the traditional classroom. Simulated instruction provides students with a very realistic experience, but without putting patients at risk.
  • Student Assessment: Conventional educational methods emphasize multiple choice tests, oral exams and written assignments. However, these methods are surrogates for competency not demonstrations of it. Simulation can replicate medical scenarios and tasks to a degree that is remarkably life-like. Therefore, medical simulators allow a more accurate assessment of student proficiency under conditions that are more realistic.
  • Simulation-Based Research: Simulation is very useful when it comes to testing healthcare devices, procedures and even evaluating the effectiveness of training regimens. For instance, novel medical techniques or new ways of administering drugs can be tried out under simulated conditions.
  • Organizational Evaluations: Simulation can help organizations and medical teams assess procedures and readiness. From disaster response to EMT training, simulated scenarios help institutions and health care professionals improve their programs.

Virtual learning offers numerous advantages over traditional methods.  Thanks to AV technology and computer modeling, virtually any clinical situation can be simulated.  As noted, medical students can make mistakes in such environment without putting patients at risk.  Furthermore, simulated sessions can be recorded so that trainees can be assessed and debriefed.

Medical simulation can take many forms from low-tech (mannequins) to high-tech (3-D virtual reality simulators).  The level of immersive experience necessary to train students will vary, but screen-based simulation offers a cost-efficient and educationally-effective way to help prepare the next generation of doctors, nurses and care providers.  For example, streaming video lessons, the capacity to record and archive simulated sessions, and the ability of students to learn at their own pace are just a few of the benefits AV technology provides.

Simulation also offers students the chance to experience a wide range of medical scenarios, procedures and equipment.  It can be used for basic education – Adobe Flash animations to teach students the fundamentals of physiology, for instance.  Or it can be used as part of complex emergency and war game scenarios.  No wonder, institutions like Johns Hopkins now see virtual training as the gold standard in medical education.

Resources:

http://www.ssih.org/About-Simulation

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1765792/pdf/v013p000i2.pdf

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