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Connected Healthcare: How Mobility Drives Better Care and a Healthier Society

As advancements in mobility continue to accelerate across all industries, one area that appears poised for some of the deepest transformation is healthcare.

Already, we are seeing how mobility adoption in hospitals — along with new personal health-monitoring devices — is enabling better patient care and a healthier society. And all of these breakthroughs dovetail into the revolution that we call the Internet of Everything (IoE) — the explosion in connectivity among people, process, data, and things that is transforming our world.

A great example is Brazil’s Universidade Federal de Sergipe, which is utilizing telehealth technology to provide patients with specialty healthcare. In the United States, nearly 70 percent of surveyed healthcare leaders say that clinicians at their organizations use mobile technology to view patient data, according to a new survey from HIMSS Analytics.

It’s also estimated that more than 17 million wearable bands will ship this year, putting new health-monitoring tools directly in the hands — or on the wrists — of patients. And with the deployment of strong wireless networks, such as the one used by Miami Children’s Hospital, hospitals are supporting a holistic mobile-enabled patient-care experience that is providing strides in electronic health records. Another intriguing breakthough involves devices such as the Scanadu Scout, which makes the handheld medical “tricorder” of Star Trek fame a consumer reality. Such advances are helping doctors, nurses, and patients reduce errors in miscommunication, while cutting costs.

Cisco_HealthcareMobility_Joseph Bradley

It isn’t about just becoming more mobilized; it’s about improving patient care and individual well-being. As Addison McGuffin, vice president of business technology innovation at Health Care Service Corporation, said, “Some of the things we’re looking at is a trend toward technology that is helping patients toward health performance and improvement on a daily basis.”

These examples show how mobility is reshaping the healthcare industry. Yet, according to a recent Forbes article, many hospital administrators perceive a “double-edged sword” when balancing the need to invest in technology with regulatory constraints. This topic also drove conversation at the recent HIMSS conference. At Kaiser Permanente’s booth, they asked the question: “Is Health IT Really Worth It?” With advancements in mobility shaping IT strategy and investments, I’d take Kaiser’s question a step further by asking, “Is Mobility in Healthcare Really Worth It?” Read More »

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Summary: Healthcare in the Cloud and the Benefits of Analyzing Patient Data

The Internet of Everything is altering not only our personal lives, but also business practices across every major industry – healthcare included. From telehealth to increasing caregiver efficiency to data sharing, the IoE enables opportunities for improvement. But with these new connections and advances in healthcare technology, many physicians and healthcare professionals are skeptical of this new wave of advancements.

How do you appease these apprehensions? Hosting in environments that are HIPAA compliant to start. But consider the opportunities to use large data sets of a population for better treatment.

Healthcare in the Cloud

Cloud opens opportunities to utilize the Internet of Things to better treat cities, states, countries and the entire world. Physicians have begun using multiple devices to track patient information because cloud environments and applications can provide omnipresent access to medical records, as well as increase the opportunity for communication among other physicians. For example, when flu season rolls around, data can be gathered and analyzed from previous seasons to better inform the endangered cities of when the flu season will begin.

Dr. Jeffrey Brenner decided to see where rising healthcare costs were actually being spent; his research is discussed in The Human Face of Big Data.  >> READ MORE

 

 

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Healthcare in the Cloud: Benefits of Analyzing Patient Data

The Internet of Everything is altering not only our personal lives, but also business practices across every major industry – healthcare included. From telehealth to increasing caregiver efficiency to data sharing, the IoE enables opportunities for improvement. But with these new connections and advances in healthcare technology, many physicians and healthcare professionals are skeptical of this new wave of advancements.

How do you appease these apprehensions? Hosting in environments that are HIPAA compliant to start. But consider the opportunities to use large data sets of a population for better treatment.

Cloud opens opportunities to utilize the Internet of Things to better treat cities, states, countries and the entire world. Physicians have begun using multiple devices to track patient information because cloud environments and applications can provide omnipresent access to medical records, as well as increase the opportunity for communication among other physicians. For example, when flu season rolls around, data can be gathered and analyzed from previous seasons to better inform the endangered cities of when the flu season will begin.

Dr. Jeffrey Brenner decided to see where rising healthcare costs were actually being spent; his research is discussed in The Human Face of Big Data.

Brenner, with a memory drive containing the records of 600,000 hospital visits, built a map linking hospital claims to patients’ addresses. He analyzed the patterns of data and the results took him by surprise, about 1,000 people accounted for 30% of hospital bills, because these patients were showing up in the hospital time after time.

Healthcare in the Cloud

Furthering the connection of data and the cloud, when surveyed, 63% of consumers were comfortable with having their medical records stored in the cloud. With movement of the patient record to the cloud, there will be more opportunity to analyze cross population data to better evaluate care protocols and support evidenced based medicine.  In addition, when using the cloud to facilitate analyzing patient data, there are more opportunities for collaboration and continuation of care by allowing experts from around the world to share their expertise in a secure and seamless environment. It also allows simplified scalability and the opportunity for expansion for smaller organizations or providers with fewer resources immediately available in non-cloud, on-premises, environments.

As we continue to virtualize more and more aspects of our lives, we will move toward a wholly cloud-based healthcare system. Ahead are the days that healthcare providers will deliver unique patient experiences through cloud-based services securely through purpose-built private and healthcare community clouds.

To read more insights on the cloud, visit our Cloud Perspectives page. Also, be sure to join the conversation – follow @CiscoCloud and use the hashtag #CiscoCloud or leave a comment below.

Read some of our past stories of how cloud and The Human Face of Big Data are changing our personal and professional lives:

 

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Transforming the Patient Experience: Cisco Well, Issue 2, Now Available for Free Download

August 15, 2013 at 2:43 pm PST

What’s new and next in healthcare technology? The Internet of Everything is dramatically reshaping the healthcare industry… connecting the unHealthcare-Wellness-Appconnected and revolutionizing how we access, deliver, and experience healthcare. Today, Cisco released the second issue of Well, a complimentary digital magazine available for download on your iPad that explores how technology is transforming the patient experience, and how new models of care delivery are improving the quality of care, expanding access to providers, and increasing patient satisfaction.

Through interactive features including digital infographics, videos and articles, the second issue of Well shares how:

Read More »

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ATA 2013 – Not All TeleHealth Markets Are Created Equal

Being able to participate at an American Telemedicine Association event in Austin, Texas has been a true highlight of 2013. The conference and its attendees were a-buzz with more remote monitoring devices than I knew existed, infinite possibilities to provide “care anywhere,” and a fantastic array of new connections in this growing facet of our industry. Thought-provoking conversations centered on convergence of healthcare and ICT, needs and opportunities for telehealth stakeholders, and telehealth’s impact on treatment and prevention.

ATA 2013 – Not All TeleHealth Markets Are Created Equal A common theme throughout the event was the current state of the industry and how connected health solutions are creating pathways to transform healthcare. This includes things such as workflow optimization, provider and patient engagement, and new application opportunities in the field of care. Telehealth has the power to impact both treatment and prevention in healthcare, which is crucial to shifting the burden of healthcare costs down, and the ability to improve outcomes.

During the event, I was privileged to take part in a Market Watch panel, “Not All Telehealth Markets are Equal,” hosted by Frost & Sullivan. This panel consisted of representatives from companies focused on remote monitoring, video telemedicine, mHealth, and home healthcare. We discussed key differences and similarities between these top market verticals concerning challenges, business models, and future growth.

Each of the panelists were asked several questions:

  1. What are the most innovative or transformative use examples of telehealth solutions you are seeing live in practice, which can impact change and outcomes?
  2. What restraints and challenges are people facing out in the market now especially in terms of realizing revenue growth and potential for telehealth solutions? Why will the future be different from the past?
  3. What are some best practices you have seen in getting patients engaged with mobile and telehealth solutions and actually driving behavioral change?
  4. Would you agree with our (Frost & Sullivan) view of the importance of video telemedicine in leading markets in telehealth, and what realized uptake is being seen in practice currently and what other factors are important to make this work?

Innovative telehealth use

There is a great deal of innovative  telehealth use, but one example I shared involved doctors recording patients’ visits (using Show ‘n Share) and sending a link of the recording to the patients after the fact so they can easily watch it again, and share with family and friends. This represents an innovative and different use of telehealth technology – it supports patients who are likely inundated with information during their visit and allows them to relive their consult remotely. 

Restraints and challenges

Telehealth now encompasses so many different channels patients want to use to interact with their healthcare system – telephone, mobile, social, email, text, web chat, etc. This means health care providers and payers must invest in the proper operational infrastructure to support these consumer connection expectations.  I gave the example of a patient with an illness, who wants to talk to a doctor remotely, and expects to be “seen” within 15 minutes. A payer or provider cannot expect to deliver that specific level of service unless they have a centralized infrastructure that is dedicated to operations. In order for this to be scalable, health systems will have to invest in elements such as contact center, unified communications, secure wireless infrastructures, and endpoints with solutions like Jabber and WebEx. These are just examples of some solutions that can be deployed in order to make telehealth work seamlessly to provide patients with the best remote care experience possible.

Best practices

Many panelists discussed gamification and how it is becoming a tool to engage consumers, as it ties to human nature, competitiveness and camaraderie. I discussed this from my personal standpoint. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a strategy that healthcare should deploy more because many health systems are being asked to think and act more like retailers in-nature. Healthcare systems need to take a page from companies who have to know their customers well and respond. This requires a strategic shift in how they approach and interact with patients and families, creating an infrastructure that would allow patients and family members or loved ones to communicate and interact with their care professionals via the communication method they choose. A sophisticated CRM strategy and eco-system is necessary to manage this.

Importance of video telemedicine

To drive home the importance of video in telehealth and the need for more efficiency in healthcare, I highlighted the model for primary care. I noted that primary care itself could be more remote and centralized at the same time. This could be a market differentiator for the health systems that deploy such a model, because the cost structure would be significantly reduced. A key technology component that supports this is a call manager feature combined with  remote video technology that looks at hundreds of doctors to determine who may be available at any given time. As telehealth and telemedicine technology begins to grow and be widely adopted, this will be even more important. In order for it to scale and cross organization boundaries, it must be interoperable with different devices and endpoints and be able to connect in any way possible.

One thing is for sure; telehealth cannot exist without the support and adoption of the clinical community.  The only way to ensure successful adoption of new technology is hand-in-hand implementation that’s tailored to the desired clinical workflow and to ensure that clinicians are championing it across the organization.

Learn more about ATA and the “Not All Telehealth Markets are Equal,” panel I participated in. And let me know any thoughts you have about my responses to the panel questions.

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