Innovations in Telehealth: MATRC Takeaways

March 20, 2012
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EXCLUSIVE POST – The MATRC Summit meeting last week offered numerous examples of innovative developments in the field of mHealth and Telehealth.

Mohit Kaushal from the West Wireless Health Institute explained their mission:

“The West Wireless Health Institute is an independently-funded, nonprofit medical research organization focused on lowering health care costs through technology and innovation.”

EXCLUSIVE POST – The MATRC Summit meeting last week offered numerous examples of innovative developments in the field of mHealth and Telehealth.

Mohit Kaushal from the West Wireless Health Institute explained their mission:

“The West Wireless Health Institute is an independently-funded, nonprofit medical research organization focused on lowering health care costs through technology and innovation.”

The chronic disease burden and the graying of the American population have resulted in a sky rocketing of health care costs that must be controlled.  West Wireless believes that technology is crucial in restraining these costs by:

  • Social Networking
  • Promoting and encouraging e-Patient communication and support
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Remote sensors and monitoring

The focus has to shift from hospital to home care, patients have to be monitored when they need to be monitored, and we need to experiment and forge ahead with innovation to find viable solutions to the problem.

Innovative Telehealth Developments Discussed at MATRC:

Nationwide Health Infomation Network (NWHIN) – Being developed by HHS “to provide a secure, nationwide, interoperable health information infrastructure that will connect providers, consumers, and others involved in supporting health and healthcare.  This critical part of the national health IT agenda will enable health information to follow the consumer, be available for clinical decision making, and support appropriate use of healthcare information beyond direct patient care so as to improve health.”

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Lehigh Valley Health Center Teleburn Unit – A telehealth burn unit that uses telehealth technology to assess burn patients, allowing referring physicians to securely share photos of patients’ burn injuries with a full-time medical staff member.  The Lehigh Valley Health Network burn specialist can then review the photos while consulting with the referring doctor to ensure the best care and prepare for the patient’s arrival should they need to be transferred.

The University of Kentucky and Kentucky TeleCare – The University of Kentucky and Alliance Coal partner to take a mobile care unit to coal miners.  This mobile clinic allows miners and their families to get the care they need without traveling and without taking time away from work. The mobile van is stocked with an EKG machine, a defibrillator, a multitude of vaccines and medicines, and a camera that allows the doctor to examine his patients at the mine sites from his office in a remote location.

High Risk Ob/Gyn Program at Harrisonburg Community Health Center and UVA Dept of Ob/Gyn (run by Chris Chisholm)- Telehealth solutions for women with high risk pregnancies that allow these women to get remote care from physician specialists without traveling.  See video below:

 

Vidant Health – Vidant has a telehealth program for high-risk chronically ill patients.  They have kiosks in their clinics so that patients can take their own vital signs which are then sent to the physician.  They also complete an “engagement” survey that measures their level of engagement in their own health and wellness.  Those chronically ill patients with a low level of engagement are followed closely by a nurse telehealth technician.  They are monitored for vital signs, medication compliance and general health literacy.

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Text4Baby – The largest national mobile health initiative to date, this free service provides underserved mothers to be with a wealth of information on pre-natal care, parenting, support, and resources – all by texting them directly.  No fee applied for texting or text services.  This service has outstanding patient satisfaction results.

These are just a few of the innovations in telehealth available.  For news on more about everything to do with telehealth, visit the American Telemedicine Association.