Tag Archives: video conferencing

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

Online collaboration tools - AZ Business Magazine July/August 2011

Online Collaboration Tools Keep Executives Connected And Productive

By all accounts, the five-day work week is rarely applicable to today’s business world. For that matter, the standard brick-and-mortar office in which the entire team converges and collaborates Monday through Friday, 9-to-5, is becoming a thing of the past. Even in some of the largest enterprises, teams are spread out from coffee shops across town to satellite offices around the world. For executives, especially at the C-level, this can mean a management nightmare — or an opportunity.

This dilemma has given way to a burgeoning market of online applications that allow teams to communicate, collaborate and share data more efficiently.

Executives can now manage productivity from anywhere, any time zone. Here are some new applications that can keep executives dialed-in and on top of the work:

File and project sharing

Executives can be faced with a myriad of documents, spreadsheets, presentations and the like on a daily basis for review, approval or to pass onto the customer. Tools such as Dropbox and iDisk for Mac allow executives to access shared drives remotely. However, they have some inconvenient pitfalls. For instance, if an employee makes changes to a document, the most recent version may not show up in the shared drive right away. Microsoft’s SkyDrive in the 2011 Office suite is aiming for a solve so multiple users can work on documents simultaneously from any location.

Idea generation

Nearly three years ago, Yammer emerged as a solution that promised to harness the power of social media for the workplace. Now that an estimated 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies are using Yammer, it appears the company might have succeeded. The goal is to improve workplace communication and collaboration by providing a secure, private forum where workers can share information, pose questions, get answers and build stronger relationships. The CEO of one of Yammer’s customers, Deloitte Digital, posted a message on the Deloitte Australia Yammer network for a new ad campaign. Within the next 24 hours, hundreds of employees submitted thousands of taglines.

Video conferencing

If you’ve ever initiated a video conference with customers, prospects or even your own employees, you have no doubt felt the pain of the download. Watchitoo uses a patent-pending technology to let you see up to 25 people on one call and share files (including large media files) using nothing more than a Web browser. No clunky downloads and nothing to configure.

Virtual teamwork

A scenario that’s becoming more common as advances in audio-visual equipment find their way into design, architecture and engineering firms is the use of SMART Boards from CCS Presentation Systems to enable collaboration with those at the home office and those in the field. These tools used in virtual teamwork are especially important when combined with BIM software and other 3-D technology.

 

Arizona Business Magazine July/August 2011