LOS ANGELES – SnapMD’s Virtual Care Management telehealth platform was recently named winner of MedTech Breakthrough’s 2018 Best Telehealth Solution award. “Telehealth is certainly one of the pioneering categories within the exciting field of digital health, and the telehealth market continues to experience incredible growth as leading technology providers such as SnapMD deliver compelling virtual care solutions,” said James Johnson, managing director of MedTech Breakthrough, in a statement. SnapMD’s platform was selected for its “robust features that put the tools of telehealth in the hands of providers to deliver virtual, high-quality and coordinated care,” he said. MedTech Breakthrough is an independent organization that recognizes the top companies, technologies and products in the global health and medical technology markets.
NEW YORK – TripleCare will introduce its telehealth services across all the facilities of Commonwealth Care of Roanoke, a provider of senior care.
“We look forward to working closely with CCR to expand the level of quality of care for its patients and help reduce costs relating to hospital readmissions and transfers,” said Dr. Mary Jo Gorman, CEO of TripleCare, in a statement.
CCR provides skilled services, including complex medical care and rehabilitation, and respite and long-term care from 12 post-acute care facilities throughout Virginia.
The first phase of the collaboration will roll out TripleCare’s virtual physician-supported services during the third quarter of 2018 at three CCR facilities: Carriage Hill Health & Rehab Center in Fredericksburg, Va.; Abingdon Health & Rehab Center in Abingdon, Va.; and Radford Health & Rehab Center in Radford, Va. Implementation of services at the remaining nine CCR facilities will be completed by year-end 2018.
“We believe that telemedicine will play an increasingly important role in the post-acute sector in which we operate, and CCR strives to be at the forefront of this sea change,” said Lora Epperly, director of business development and care innovations, at CCR, in a statement.
NEW YORK – 1Vision and AMC Health have been awarded the authority to operate and provide telehealth solutions to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
With this agreement, telehealth solutions from the two companies will be made available to enrolled veterans and their family members.
“It is a significant achievement to receive authority to operate (ATO) certification from the VA, and we are proud to help make health care more efficient and accessible for our veterans,” said Nesim Bildirici, CEO and president of AMC Health, in a statement. “The VA’s ATO stamp of approval indicates that our telehealth offering can provide much needed solutions to organizations that require the highest levels of mission-critical security.”
Earlier this year, 1Vision and AMC Health announced their participation in an up to five-year VA Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract to provide telehealth solutions.
The VA’s Home telehealth program relies on telehealth platforms from commercial contractors classified by the VA as Medical Device Data Systems.
By using AMC Health’s telehealth CareConsole platform, veterans will be able to automatically transmit information, including vital sign measurements such as weight, blood pressure and blood glucose levels, to the CareConsole platform using Bluetooth-enabled devices from their homes.
“We are thrilled to partner with AMC Health to deliver telehealth services because of the company’s efficient, cost-effective offerings and knowledge about compliance requirements,” said Bill Kirkpatrick, CEO of 1Vision, a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business that provides IT and program management solutions throughout the federal government, focusing on offices within the VA, in a statement. “Our veterans deserve increased access to quality health care and the resources that can improve their access to healthcare and embrace all the benefits that telehealth offers,” he said.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has proposed changes as part of the Physician Fee Schedule and Quality Payment Program that would update Medicare payment policies to promote access to virtual care.
The changes would establish Medicare payment for when beneficiaries connect with their doctor virtually using telecommunications technology to determine whether or not they need an in-person visit.
“CMS is committed to modernizing the Medicare program by leveraging technologies, such as audio/video applications or patient-facing health portals, that will help beneficiaries access high-quality services in a convenient manner,” said Seema Verma, CMS Administrator, in a statement.
Provisions in the proposed CY 2019 Physician Fee Schedule would support access to care using telecommunications technology by:
- Paying clinicians for virtual check-ins;
- Paying clinicians for evaluation of patient-submitted photos; and
- Expanding Medicare-covered telehealth services to include prolonged preventive services.
The proposed changes would also increase the amount of time that doctors and other clinicians can spend with their patients by reducing the burden of paperwork that they face when billing Medicare.
“Today’s proposals deliver on the pledge to put patients over paperwork by enabling doctors to spend more time with their patients,” Verma said. “Physicians tell us they continue to struggle with excessive regulatory requirements and unnecessary paperwork that steal time from patient care. The proposed changes address those problems head-on, by streamlining documentation requirements to focus on patient care and by modernizing payment policies so seniors and others covered by Medicare can take advantage of the latest technologies to get the quality care they need.”
Additionally, the proposed changes would encourage information sharing among health care providers electronically, so patients can see various medical professionals based on their needs, while knowing that their updated medical records will follow them through the health care system.
The QPP proposal would also make changes to the Merit-based Incentive Payment System “Promoting Interoperability” performance category to support greater EHR interoperability and patient access to their health information, as well as align this clinician program with the proposed new “Promoting Interoperability” program for hospitals.
Verma said removing unnecessary paperwork requirements through the PFS proposal would save individual clinicians an estimated 51 hours per year if 40% of their patients are on Medicare. Changes in the QPP proposal would collectively save clinicians an estimated 29,305 hours and approximately $2.6 million in reduced administrative costs in 2019.
Public comments on the proposed rules are due by September 10, 2018.
‘Patients are expecting this type of health care’
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Spectrum Health took a chance on telehealth four years ago and is seeing the payoff today with a more than 200% year-over-year growth in usage and $4 million in cost savings.
“2014 was still pretty early for telehealth, but now we’re just at the point where this is becoming more and more how people behave,” said Joseph Brennan, senior director of Spectrum Health’s MedNow telehealth program. “Patients are expecting this type of health care.”
The MedNow program offers both a direct-to-consumer, low acuity primary care platform and a specialty provider platform. Patients access the platforms through any mobile device or computer to have a conversation with a medical professional through a video visit or online message.
Spectrum Health’s digital health strategy also offers a patient portal where consumers can find a doctor, schedule appointments and use a cost estimator.
“We are giving patients a digital ecosystem to handle their health like they handle all the other aspects of their lives,” said Brennan.
The MedNow direct to consumer platform has been used by more than 55,000 patients to date and has saved an average of $123 per patient, said Brennan. The entire program recently hit the “million mile mark” in total driving miles saved by consumers who use telehealth.
“When you combine those costs with avoided transfers in specialty care, we’ve saved payers over $4 million in four years,” he said.
Spectrum Health, a network of hospitals and care facilities spanning 13 counties throughout West Michigan, plans to build on the success of the MedNow low-acuity platform by expanding it to include behavioral health conditions like stress, anxiety and depression, and eventually all conditions.
“We are looking at blending the specialty and direct-to-consumer platforms so patients just receive care when and where it’s convenient, regardless of the provider,” Brennan said. “For us, it’s just inevitable this this is how it’s going to be.”
BASEL, Switzerland – Digital diabetes management company Roche Diabetes Care is teaming up with telehealth solutions provider Care Innovations to integrate Roche’s mySugr into the Care Innovations telehealth platform. The integration will provide connected remote care for personalized diabetes and population health management to the Care Innovations customer base, which includes health insurance companies, health networks and clinics. “Last year’s acquisition of mySugr strengthened our portfolio and through the partnership with Care Innovations, we will be able to offer comprehensive remote care and substantially expand how optimal care is being provided to people with diabetes in the U.S. and Canada,” said Marcel Gmuender, global head of Roche Diabetes Care, in a statement. The mySugr solution allows people with diabetes to receive advice from certified diabetes educators via the mySugr app and have their diabetes management supplies delivered to their home. In addition to the collaboration agreement, the Roche Venture Fund has invested in the first closing of Care Innovations’ Series B financing. “We are excited about this partnership with Roche Diabetes Care, as this gives us the opportunity to broaden our offering to the area of diabetes and provide seamlessly accessible and personalized solutions to our institutional customers,” said Randall Swanson, CEO of Care Innovations, in a statement.
CHICAGO – IntellaTriage, a nurse triage and telehealth provider, has launched the IntellaCare mobile telehealth program for providers.
“As telehealth evolves from a simple consumer application to an integrated platform where clinical services must be required in the form of RN triage and physician care, providers are seeking solutions that improve care while doing what’s best for the patient with a complete telehealth platform,” said Suzi Meschbach, COO at IntellaTriage, in a statement.
IntellaCare uses a combination of RN triage and a fact-based protocol decision engine to streamline clinical workflows to improve the patient experience while incorporating IntellaTriage’s nationwide network of licensed RNs.
The IntellaCare system also integrates with a provider’s electronic medical records, making patient medical records available to both patients and caregivers in a HIPAA secure environment. Patients are guided through their care with intelligent, customized protocols and are ultimately given the option to speak to a live nurse or doctor through text messaging, video visits or a phone call.
“IntellaCare allows nurses and doctors to better manage their patient population with fewer resources,” said Meschbach.
Other IntellaCare features include: video visits based on provider/patient availability; customized marketing messages; education and wellness programs; medical history integration; and social media “moments” to share the progression of care with others.
NEW YORK – TripleCare has expanded its telehealth services to two Marquis Health locations, a provider of sub-acute rehabilitation and skilled nursing care to patients in New England and the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S.
TripleCare is bringing its virtual physician care and services to Blueberry Hill Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Beverly, Mass., and Oakland Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Oakland, N.J.
TripleCare uses a network of experienced physicians who use technology to connect to patients at skille- nursing facilities during the weekends and on holidays, when physician staffing is more limited. By offering full physician accessibility and support during these times, TripleCare’s services are intended to treat patients in place and aid in reducing hospital transfers.
TripleCare combines its physician expertise and technology with support from local, on-site nurses at both Marquis facilities, and employs its telehealth-based protocols to perform bedside exams, in real time. The company’s virtual services make it possible for its physicians to diagnose and determine whether a patient should be treated at the facility or transferred to a hospital.
“Our mission is to help our clients reduce or avoid hospitalizations and readmissions, and with our physician connectivity, we bring facilities and their patients comfort in knowing they can achieve this,” said Dr. Mary Jo Gorman, CEO of TripleCare, in a statement.
Webster Park Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Rockland, Mass., another Marquis Health Services location, is scheduled to launch TripleCare’s telehealth services in the third quarter of 2018.
OMAHA, Neb. – Home health nurses are satisfied with the quality of telehealth services for patients with chronic diseases, according to a study published recently in JMIR Infomatics.
“Telehealth encompasses all facets of remote health care,” wrote Ayisha Bashir, lead author of the study. “Given the success of telehealth in specialty health care services, the use of technologies to transmit health information and provide care across a distance is poised to enter mainstream health service delivery. Although many studies have assessed the cost-effectiveness and patient acceptance of this new method of service delivery, the perspective of nurses as the service provider has not been previously studied.”
The goal of the pilot study was to examine whether telehealth technology impacts the perceived level of internal service quality delivered by nurses within a telehealth organization through survey questions and follow-up interviews.
The Visiting Nurse Association of Omaha was the site of the study.
The findings of this survey research were positive, showing that the quality of telehealth was higher than expected, wrote Bashir. The study found overall satisfaction with telehealth nursing service quality.
“In a nutshell, the study highlighted how the telehealth process provides daily monitoring of patient health, leading to the benefits of immediate feedback for patients, family and caregivers as well as convenience of scheduling,” Bashir wrote.
LONDON – Samsung has partnered with digital healthcare provider Babylon to launch “Ask an Expert, powered by Babylon,” a system that allows users to check symptoms and book live video doctor appointments. The Babylon service will be made available within the Samsung Health app on Samsung Galaxy mobile devices. “Now our customers will be able to look after their health from wherever they are—whether it’s checking a symptom or talking to a doctor—all within a few simple taps,” said Kyle Brown, head of technology and services, Samsung UK, in a statement. “The availability of the Babylon service within the app is another milestone for Samsung as we move toward a more connected, healthy world.” By incorporating Babylon’s artificial intelligence service within the Samsung Health app, users can book video appointments with certified doctors 24/7 to obtain medical advice, and manage and order prescriptions online. With their paid subscription, users can also check their symptoms and receive high-quality triage information about physical health, common ailments and symptoms straight to their device. “Samsung’s vision for empowering individuals and transforming health care, partnered with the company’s history of technological innovation, constant focus on customer satisfaction and truly global reach makes it a perfect fit with our values and mission,” said Dr. Ali Parsa, founder and CEO of Babylon. “It’s very exciting to know that millions of Samsung users will soon be able to better manage their health using Babylon’s services as we deliver personal health assessments and treatment advice via their Samsung Galaxy devices.”