Tag Archives: healthcare industry

telemedicine - AZ Business Magazine May/June 2012

Telemedicine – The Wave Of The Future

As technology becomes more sophisticated, telemedicine may become more common in the healthcare industry.

Remember on “Star Trek” where people could be teleported? Imagine how valuable it would be to teleport a medical specialist when needed.

Thanks to technology, we are not that far off.

Better mobile technologies and electronic health records have caused the healthcare industry to incorporate more telemedicine into medical care. Jonathan Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association, defines telemedicine as “the delivery of any healthcare service or transmission of wellness information using telecommunications technology.” Experts say telemedicine has the potential to transform the way medical care is provided and the way medical education is taught.

“Physicians and patients can now interact and share information through video conferencing, online communications and mobile phones,” says Dr. Tami Romano of HealthNation, a Scottsdale-based company that is leading the way in providing affordable healthcare to 75 groups and businesses through telemedicine services. “The access to electronic medical records allows physicians to be more efficient, to share information more easily and provide remote monitoring, to people living in rural areas. It gives patients access to specialists without leaving their homes, and there is more opportunity for in-depth and expanded care with remote diagnosis and follow-up.”

Dr. Ronald Weinstein, who helped create the Arizona Telemedicine Program in 1995, has built a broadband communications network in Arizona that brings clinical services to hundreds of thousands of patients at 160 sites in 50 Arizona communities, including remote towns on Arizona’s Indian reservations and in its state prisons.

Weinstein says the use of telemedicine in medical training will save lives.

“The third leading cause of death in adults in the United States is medical error,” says Weinstein, who was named “Innovator of the Year” by the University of Arizona in March. “We’re working on a new curriculum to train nurses, doctors, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals together.”

Weinstein says that many patient-care deaths stem from failures in communication. In addition to fostering communication among health professionals, using telemedicine as early introduction to medical education will produce citizens capable of making better health decisions. “Health literacy in the general population is critical if we are going to manage our own health,” he says.

In addition to providing a better platform to inform patients and for doctors to communicate, telemedicine is also helping companies’ bottom line in an age of skyrocketing medical costs.

“Employees are able to address healthcare issues for themselves and their families without incurring loss of time from work,” Romano says. “Companies are able to contain costs by structuring health benefits with the combination of a major medical plan and telemedicine services, giving employees coverage for the big things and first line of defense care for wellness,” Romano says. “The cost is less than a PPO and encourages more preventative care.”

While Medicare has been slower to change reimbursement policies to accommodate telemedicine care, private insurers and state Medicaid payers have been more progressive in covering many services, and that’s pushing more doctors and hospitals to provide them.

“The introduction and expansion of telemedicine will continue to enhance the communication between physicians and patients, which will ultimately allow better patient outcomes,” Romano says. “It will also help to contain costs, reduce physician overhead and transition our system from fixing the sick to preventing the sick, which will lead to a healthier population.

5 telemedicine services

  • Specialist referral services typically involves of a specialist assisting a general practitioner in rendering a diagnosis. This may involve a patient “seeing” a specialist over a live, remote consult or the transmission of diagnostic images and/ or video along with patient data to a specialist for viewing later.
  • Patient consultations using telecommunications to provide medical data, which may include audio, still or live images, between a patient and a health professional for use in rendering a diagnosis and treatment plan.
  • Remote patient monitoring uses devices to remotely collect and send data to a monitoring station for interpretation.
  • Medical education provides continuing medical education credits for health professionals and special medical education seminars for targeted groups in remote locations.
  • Consumer medical and health information includes the use of the Internet for consumers to obtain specialized health information and online discussion groups to provide peer-to-peer support.

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2012

Matt Likens - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

First Job: Matt Likens, CEO Of Ulthera, Inc.

Matt Likens, CEO of Ulthera, Inc., discusses her first job working on a muck farm on Ohio, his first job in the healthcare industry, his biggest mentor and more.


Matt Likens

Title: CEO
Company: Ulthera, Inc.

What was your very first job?
When I was 10 years old, my brother — who is two years younger than me — and I worked on a muck farm in Ravenna, Ohio. We would be picked up at 6 a.m., go to the farm, crawl around on our hands and knees all day, weeding crops that were grown in this very rich, black, wet soil called muck. It was mostly mustard plants and assorted other crops. Then, when the plants were ready, we would harvest them.

What did you learn from that first job?
It taught us the value of hard work. We didn’t have a privileged childhood, so it was a way for us to become self-sufficient and do the things we wanted to do, whether it was buying baseball cards or soft drinks. I learned that earning your own way in life is the right this to do.

Describe your first job in your industry.
My first job in the healthcare industry came in 1978 as a sales representative for Baxter Healthcare, working in their transfusion medicine business, selling blood collection containers and everything used to transfuse blood and blood components.

What lessons did you learn from your early industry jobs?
Right out of college, I got a job selling industrial tape for Johnson & Johnson in Minnesota against 3M, which had an 85 percent market share. So I learned rejection very early in my career, but I also learned the value of having a good second supplier. Companies with such a dominant market share tend to get arrogant and take their business for granted. So if you work hard and portray yourself as a credible second supplier, it’s a way to get in the door.

What were your salaries in your first job and first industry job?
My salary at the muck farm was 35 cents an hour. My salary at Johnson & Johnson was $13,000 per year.

Who is your biggest mentor?
Harry Cramer, who was the CEO at Baxter when I left. I have a book in my office that Harry wrote called “Values Based Leadership.” If Harry said it, he also acted that way, so his words and actions were absolutely in synch with each other. That was an excellent example and I’ve tried to emulate that  as I’ve moved past Baxter and into the startup world.

Arizona Business Magazine January/February 2012