New telemedicine and monitoring systems give Cone Health ICU caregivers more views and data

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Cone Health’s application analyst, Dolly Walkup, recently spoke to Healthcare IT News about how they successfully overcame telemedicine challenges across their 160-bed ICU departments by designing a customized implementation that included Yorktel’s Univago HE.

Read the complete article, New telemedicine and monitoring systems give Cone Health ICU caregivers more views and data, to understand how the North Carolina-based multi-hospital health system:

  • Addressed issues with a legacy system that was deemed too labor-intensive for their ICU staff
  • Improved staff workflow and patient safety with remote monitoring
  • Identified one universal A/V system with improved capabilities compared to their previous solution
  • Crafted a customizable build that focuses caregivers on only the most vital and up-to-date patient data
  • Gleaned actionable advice for other ICU departments related to system transitions and acuity scores


Read the full Healthcare IT News article here.

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) recently hosted its annual conference and exhibit in New Orleans. Attendees were keenly focused on advancing programs and exploring next-generation telehealth capabilities. Instead of simply shopping for solutions and gaining knowledge, provider organizations attending ATA 2019 were poised to increase their telehealth investments and expand telehealth roadmaps across the entire patient continuum. Four trends emerged during the conference with long-standing impact for all: providers, payers and technology vendors.

Telehealth Interoperability Ahead

ATA 2019 began with the distribution of a comprehensive interoperability white paper to define and describe the value of interoperable telehealth systems, address challenges and discuss standards. As one of the paper’s contributors, I received an inside look into the association’s white paper and its conjoined position with ONC and CMS proposed rules to improve the interoperability of electronic health information.

One of ATA’s goals is to ensure telehealth data remains patient centric and helps connect the dots between healthcare IT systems at large, including the EHR. There is a growing need for telehealth solutions to maintain the integrity of every patient story, despite multiple systems, overlapping platforms and departmental requirements.

This drive for stronger telehealth interoperability is especially critical as providers merge, acquire and consolidate their IT systems. Flexibility to accommodate each organization’s preferred clinical platform was a key vendor requirement cited by nearly every ATA attendee I met and during most exhibit hall conversations.

Telehealth Roadmaps Expand

One of the most important discussions held during ATA 2019 focused on the need to build enterprise-wide telehealth roadmaps. Our strategy sessions lingered late into the evening and long beyond exhibit hall hours.

While each provider organization expressed unique telehealth needs, four questions were commonly asked:

  • How can we pull all our telehealth services together and avoid technology silos?
  • Where do we need to focus our time and energy when it comes to telehealth?
  • What’s required to build an enterprise-wide telehealth strategy across the entire patient care journey?
  • Which vendors integrate telehealth into the bigger clinical IT strategy and workflow?

ATA 2019 attendees are moving away from just dabbling in telehealth. They are testing new options and investing in a broader strategy based on a single telehealth platform.

One Telehealth Platform Preferred

No one wants to purchase or implement different telehealth systems to support virtual care. Instead, provider organizations attending this year’s ATA event demanded single telehealth platforms with flexibility to be implemented across all departments and use cases such as tele-ICU, telestroke and e-sitting in patient rooms.

Today’s users want to document clinical information, conduct video calls, check clinician schedules and perform all other telehealth functions within the same system despite varying clinical workflows and patient care scenarios. And preferably, the single system is embedded in the EHR so physicians can easily camera into a room and achieve optimal clinical efficiency.

Favorable Reimbursement Celebrated

Recent developments in the expansion of payer reimbursements for telehealth services were a huge buzz at ATA 2019. Good news raises all ships. Everyone involved with delivering telehealth services benefits when reimbursement improves.

For example, CMS recently approved a plan to eliminate geographical restrictions on telehealth access and telemedicine services in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans by 2020. The CMS plan also enables those in urban areas to use connected health technology, which gives MA members more locations to access care, including their own home according to the April 9, 2019 CMS news announcement.

Most attendees I met with agreed: As CMS and other payers improve reimbursement capabilities for telehealth, more consumers and clinicians will use virtual care as the most cost-effective and efficient care delivery method for specific patient populations.

Looking Ahead to ATA 2020: Specialization and Focus

Virtual care programs are expanding, telehealth is on the rise and provider organizations are figuring out how to make it all happen. Telehealth plans are now integrated into every clinical initiative with hefty investments ahead.

While attendance is smaller than at HIMSS or other general conferences, better questions are asked at ATA. And attendees are ready to buy and implement. Educational sessions and exhibitors are laser focused on next-generation telehealth solutions. Finally, attendees are well informed and know what they are looking for.

To borrow the phrase from a famous retailer, “An educated ATA attendee is our best telehealth customer.”


Learn more about how Yorktel’s Telehealth Consultancy services can help you build your roadmap today!

According to Yorktel’s Pete McLain, video must be simple, robust and effective to make video work in telemedicine. Video conferencing must be accessible on demand to deliver telehealth. In this podcast, McLain, who is Yorktel’s Senior Vice President of Health, says it’s the 3am video conference call that represents the critical test of video conferencing in a healthcare setting.

Stroke, and other health care emergencies don’t come to arrive for a scheduled conference call. In this podcast, McLain explains that it’s at 3am, when the on-site medical team is fighting to save a life, that video conferencing solutions are tested. If they are easy to use, accessible, and dependably operational, the team will use the resource to link to a larger center where additional expertise can be found. If the system has already demonstrated poor reliability or of the onsite staff cannot easily get it to function, people will simply skip the available video conferencing system and move on to other options.

McLain reports on Yorktel’s Univago HE healthcare and how Yorktel is making an impact on the health care landscape. We learn about how telehealth can help with diagnosis, treatment and we learn about telestroke. Telestroke helps bridge the critical ninety-minute period where significant brain damage can be avoided. We learn about Yorktel’s experience in video conferencing and their approach to telemedicine.

Listen Here:

As the nation prepares to honor veterans and thank them for their services to the United States this Friday, it is important to laud the VA’s efforts to expand its use of telemedicine services.

Last Thursday the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs passed a bill to remove restrictions on the ability of VA providers to practice telemedicine across state lines. The passing of Veterans E-Health and Telemedicine Support Act of 2017 (H.R. 2123) will allow veterans to receive telemedicine treatment from any location, including their home or a community center, rather than mandate they travel to a VA facility to receive treatment in person. The bill is vital to the VA’s “Anywhere to Anywhere VA Health Care” program that was announced back in August.

Phil Roe, MD (R-Tenn.), chairman House Veterans’ Affairs Committee stated that “H.R. 2123 would give the VA Secretary the legislative authority to allow VA providers to practice telemedicine across state lines. Specifically, it would authorize a VA licensed healthcare provider to practice telemedicine in any state, regardless of whether or not the patient or provider is located on federal government property.”

Why is this bill so important?

Today, the medical industry is regulated on a state by state basis. Greg Sobodkin of Health Data Management points out that, under current law, VA physicians can only waive state licensing requirements and provide telemedicine treatment across state lines if both the veteran and the doctor are located in a federally owned facility. The VETS Act will remove these barriers and allow VA health professionals to practice telemedicine across state lines, provided that they are qualified and practice within the scope of their authorized federal duties.

This may be the tipping point the medical industry and nation needs to begin loosening the restrictions for providing medical services across state lines. There is an acute shortage of qualified doctors in many regions of the country. Medical costs are soaring. Telemedicine can bring the benefit of having the right doctor at the right place and at the right time. It will result in better care at a lower cost.

This is great news for veterans and the telemedicine industry in general.

The VA is one of the largest healthcare networks in the world and has been an early pioneer in telemedicine as well as one of the world’s largest users of the technology. Now, it is taking the lead on the regulatory front to tear down the barriers that have hindered the adoption and growth of new telemedicine applications that benefit us all.

In 2016, VA providers saw 702,000 patients via telemedicine in 2.17 million episodes of care – and nearly half of those who received telemedicine care lived in rural areas. Telemedicine has been responsible for a 31 percent decrease in VA hospital admissions and a 59 percent decrease in VA bed days of care. Around 90 percent of veterans who received care through telemedicine reported satisfaction with the online platform.

And then there is the very human side to all of this.

Michael Shores, director of regulation policy and management in the VA secretary’s office, wrote that the rule could “eliminate veteran suicide and provide access to mental healthcare … the VA’s number one clinical priority, and this proposed rule-making would improve VA’s ability to reach its most vulnerable beneficiaries.”

Strong Industry Support

So far, the bill has received overwhelming support from states, provider organizations and health IT groups, including: the American Telemedicine Association, American Medical Informatics Association, Federal Trade Commission, Health IT Now, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), Teladoc, Oracle, the American Psychological Association, the Brain Injury Association of America, the National Association of Social Workers and the University of Pittsburgh Center for Military Medicine Research.

Yorktel understands the VA’s commitment to providing the best care for our veterans.

We have been working with the VA on their Tele-ICU initiative for the past four years. We provide the telemedicine video conferencing systems, infrastructure and support that allows them to instantly bring the right medical specialist into the ICU room when they are needed. These systems are in over 500 ICU rooms and they are saving lives.

Yes, we are proud, and extend our most heartfelt gratitude to the men and women who serve in our nation’s armed forces.

Telehealth has made dramatic inroads in recent years. What once was only a futurist dream, is currently an every-day reality. Now that telehealth is within the treatment arsenals of most care providers, patients interact with their doctors and receive quality healthcare with no geographic limits.
Continue reading What’s Holding Telehealth Back?

These days, it’s hard to not talk about Millennials when trying to understand how the workplace is evolving. Everyone has their own idea of what this demographic represents, but the starting point should be based on the numbers. In terms of age, Millennials are generally classified as being born between 1980 and 2000, and according to the U.S. Census Bureau, they account for 27% of the overall population. Not only does this make them the largest segment by age grouping, but they are now coming into their prime both as users of technology, and in due time, technology decision-makers inside their places of work.
Commonly referred to as digital natives, their relationship with technology is different from earlier generations that reflect pre-Internet times, effectively making them digital immigrants. That’s a pretty important dividing line, and if you’re a decision-maker from the latter cohort, you’d better understand what these differences mean.
Continue reading Millennials – Here Today, Here to Stay, Working from Away

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