AcuteCare Telemedicine Blog


AcuteCare Telemedicine Selected as Gator 100 Honoree

When the University Of Florida (UF) sought to recognize and celebrate the achievements of university alumni, they reached out to their Warrington College of Business Administration (WCBA) and the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation (CEI). The collaboration produced the Gator 100, an annual programGator100_HonoreeBadge_CMYK designed to recognize and rank the fastest growing, Gator alumni-owned or led businesses from around the world each year. Candidates are nominated from all graduates of the University of Florida. “CEI is excited to honor top Gator alumni entrepreneurs from schools and colleges across the UF campus,” said Nola Miyasaki, Director of Gator StartUps. “The Gator100 exemplifies one of CEI’s core values of contributing to a vibrant culture of entrepreneurship across our campus and the Gator Nation.”

To qualify for inclusion in the Gator 100, candidate companies must be in operation for five years or more and have verifiable revenues in excess of $100,000. A University of Florida alumnus or group of alumni must have owned 50% or more of the company; must have served as the Company’s CEO, President or Managing Partner. In addition, the alumnus must have founded the company and been active as a member of the most senior management team. “The Gator100 is an important initiative that recognizes entrepreneurial excellence,” explains Dr. Michael Morris, the Academic Director of the entrepreneurship program at UF. “It is open to any and all companies founded or run by Gator alumni, and recognizes those who are achieving growth, innovating, and making a difference in their communities.”

At the Gator 100’s inaugural event this month, Dr. James M. Kiely, a graduate of University of Florida’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS), accepted University recognition for his partnership in AcuteCare Telemedicine (ACT), the leading practice-based provider of Telemedicine services for stroke and AcuteCare Gator 100 Trophyemergency neurological care. Founded in 2009, ACT allows hospitals to access highly-respected expert Neurologists and Telemedicine technologies twenty four hours a day through the application of the latest telecommunication technology. ACT ranked as the 16th fastest growing Gator-led business.

Dr. Kiely is a partner in Atlanta Neurology, P.C. and Medical Director of the Neurophysiology Departments at Northside Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital of Atlanta. He is a member of the Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia and a past Chair of their Professional Advisory Board. After graduating with Honors from the University of Florida, he received a M.D. from Emory University and earned a Ph.D. from the Emory Department of Pharmacology for a thesis on nervous system control of blood pressure. He completed a Neurology residency at the University of Virginia, with fellowship training in Epilepsy and Intensive Monitoring. During this tenure, he was the recipient of national awards for epilepsy research. Dr. Kiely is Board-certified in Neurology with added qualifications in Clinical Neurophysiology. He was recently named one of America’s Top Doctors by US News and World Report.

Congratulations to AcuteCare Telemedicine on being selected to the 2015 Gator 100!



Telehealth Legislation Continues to Evolve

Things are heating up in state and federal legislatures when it comes to advancing legislation that will help accelerate the spread of telehealth across America. The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) is working with congressional representatives to move forward on what is known as, “21st Century Cures”. The ATA is recommending that Congress take immediate action to improve coverage for telehealth services under Medicare payment innovations in a number of areas from fee-for-services to Accountable Care Organizations to bundled payment programs. The House and Energy Commerce Committee recently released a draft bill that will, in part, direct the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to implement a methodology for coverage of telehealth services.

Outside of Washington and all across the country, State legislatures are making telemedicine a priority issue for 2015. Ten states; Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming have introduced legislation that will impact how their state licensing boards enforce established clinical practice standards. In Arkansas, Connecticut, Indiana, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Washington law makers are considering legislation that will require telehealth parity under private insurance.

In the state of Florida the battle to find acceptable legislative action to help increase access to health care in their rural communities is on-going. A bipartisan group of House and Senate leaders are confident they will reach agreement this year on how to boost the use of telemedicine in their state. “It’s abundantly important that we get it done and get it done right,” House Health Care Appropriations Chairman Matt Hudson, R-Naples, said during a news conference at the state Capitol in Tallahassee. As with several other states, law makers continue to struggle to pass legislation that satisfies legislators’ and healthcare industry concerns for the safety of patients and maintain the fiduciary responsibility of state government.

Lawmakers during the past few years have filed telemedicine bills that would allow for the use of modern telecommunication technology in the delivery of healthcare but the Florida House and Senate have not been able to reach an agreement. This year legislative leaders are expressing confidence that they can resolve their differences on regulatory issues. One of the points of disagreement in Florida and other states is the issue of individual state licensing and whether out-of-state physicians should be allowed to provide telemedical care to patients in their state. The current requirement and process of requiring a physician to be licensed in each state where treatment is rendered continues to be a significant stumbling block to the unabridged expansion of the practice of telehealth across state boundaries.

If the year 2015 is to become the predicted tipping point for expanding the benefits of technology driven medical care, state legislatures in Florida, and other states around the country, will need to do more than just debate and negotiate over the future of regulations that were relevant to times past.



Sharing Experience and Knowledge on Cerebrovascular Diseases

It is even a busier time than usual for medical professionals who are focused and dedicated to fighting cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The American Heart Association (AHA) will be sponsoring The International Stroke Conference, “Connecting the World to Stroke Science,” on February 11-15 at the Music City Center in Downtown Nashville. It is the world’s largest meeting of medical professionals dedicated to the science and treatment of cerebrovascular disease and will attract more than 4,000 cerebrovascular experts from around the world including neurological specialist from AcuteCare Telemedicine (ACT). The leading practice-based provider of telemedicine services for hospitals seeking around-the-clock stroke and other urgent neurological care will be an exhibitor at this premier AHA event.

On March 25, 2015 the Georgia Partnership for Telehealth will be conducting their 6th Annual Spring Conference in Savannah, GA. The conference is a great opportunity for Primary Care Providers, specialty physicians, advanced practice nurse practitioners, Physician Assistants, Registered Nurses and medical facilities administrators to learn how the most up-to-date telecommunications technologies are impacting the delivery of stroke care and other healthcare services. Attendees will experience telemedicine in an applied framework, build network relationships and gain exposure to the latest in telehealth hardware and software technology. The conference will include a Grant Writing Workshop and will feature presentations from foremost experts in teleneurology.

Dr. Keith A. Sanders will be presenting a talk at the conference entitled “Outcome Analysis Demonstrates the Value of Telestroke”. Dr. Sanders is Director and Founder of the Stroke Center of St. Joseph’s Hospital of Atlanta and former Chairman of the Ethics Resource Committee and a partner in Atlanta Neurology, P.C. and AcuteCare Telemedicine (ACA). “As medical practitioners, it is incumbent upon us to not only apply the latest techniques and technologies to the treatment of our patients but to share our experiences and knowledge with the greater medical care community on how state-of-the-art telestroke technology is advancing cardiovascular care and saving lives,” says Dr. Sanders. “It is a privilege to have the opportunity to share my experiences on improving and expanding access to quality, advanced cardiovascular care to patients no matter where they live.”

The GPT Spring Conference will begin on March 25, 2015 and run through March 27, at the Hyatt Regency-Savannah at 2 West Bay Street, Savannah GA 31401. Online registration is now open. An array of exhibitor opportunities is now available. Additional information is available by contacting Samantha Haas at samantha.wainright@gatelehealth.org.



Be a Catalyst in the Fight Against Stroke!

In 1924 when a few dedicated physicians and social workers set out to collectively focus attention and study on cardiovascular disease, the most common treatment for people with heart disease was often total confinement to bed rest. At the time, Paul Dudley White, one of six cardiologists who founded the American Heart Association said, “We were living in a time of almost unbelievable ignorance about heart disease.” Today the American Heart Association (AHA) is the oldest and largest association dedicated to fighting cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The AHA will continue to promote their fight on February 11-15 at the International Stroke Conference in downtown Nashville, TN. The International Stroke Conference, “Connecting the World to Stroke Science,” is the world’s largest meeting of medical professionals dedicated to the science and treatment of cerebrovascular disease.

The conference provides attendees the opportunity to network with more than 4,000 cerebrovascular experts representing over 60 countries; it offers outstanding programming that delivers more than 1,500 compelling presentations in 21 categories emphasizing basic, clinical and translational sciences as they evolve toward a more complete understanding of stroke pathophysiology with the goal to develop more effective prevention and treatment. The Conference will offer numerous informative sessions in clinical, basic science and other specialized topics.

Those who plan on attending can maximize their conference experience by participating in one of the three pre-conference symposia:

The State of the Science Stroke Nursing Symposium

Pre-Conference Symposium I: Stroke in the Real World – Working Man Blues: Challenges in Inpatient Stroke Care

Pre-Conference Symposium II (Students/Trainees/Early Career Professionals): Emerging Trends for Stroke Trials: Biomarkers, Adaptive Trial Design, Repair Trials, and New Endpoints

Registration is now open for this premier educational event dedicated to the science and treatment of cerebrovascular disease. The event will be held at the Music City Center in Downtown Nashville, TN on February 11 thru 15, 2015.

Be a catalyst in the fight against stroke, become a Professional AHA/ASA Member now and save on registration for the 2015 International Stroke Conference.



Foundation Study Identifies Telehealth as the Cutting-Edge Future of Health Care

A new study, “Telehealth & Patient-Centered Care” conducted by Ron Bachman, a Senior Fellow at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, provides a comprehensive analysis of the potential of telehealth and how policies in Georgia can accelerate, or inhibit, its benefits. Georgia has accepted the leadership role in the development, implementation and increased utilization of telecommunication technology in delivering quality, affordable and more accessible healthcare to its consumer-patients. Today, more than half of Georgia’s hospitals are capable of delivering virtual care to their patients and state law makers have passed legislation requiring private insurers to cover telehealth services.

Ron Bachman is one of the foremost experts on health care consumerism, consumer-centric Medicaid and Medicare, the uninsured population and mental health. His study found an estimated half a billion smartphone users worldwide will be using a health care app to connect to a healthcare giver by 2015. An emerging, technology-using generation is becoming increasingly comfortable with using mobile devises to access their medical care through smartphones, tablets and laptops. Entrusted with an increased responsibility for paying the rising costs of healthcare, these new consumers are embracing disruptive technologies to command lower cost, more convenient, higher quality, consumer oriented medical care. “It is impossible to stop a mega-trend,” says Bachman. “Telehealth is the cutting-edge future of health care worldwide. Telehealth, in its various forms, will provide convenient medical services because consumers will demand it.”

A full expansion of the benefits of telemedical services continues to be hampered by established, well-intentioned industry groups and governmental agencies. For decades, these market deciders have successfully influenced a healthcare delivery model that is the envy of the world. Their concerns and reluctance to boldly apply such wide ranging and disrupting technologies to a historically successful model is understandable. But Bachman argues that, “Too often existing self-interest groups, established guilds and status quo advocates can stifle disruptive innovations, the role government plays in providing oversight and clarity is important to prevent litigiousness and overregulation from holding Georgia, Georgia’s patients and physicians back in an era of growing needs and limited resources.”

The study concludes that health care consumerism and telehealth technology are here to stay and will offer tremendous benefits to both caregivers and patients. Kelly McCutchen, President of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, said “The findings of Bachman’s study offer excellent opportunities to expand low-cost, quality health care to the poor and to rural parts of the state. Health care costs will bankrupt families and our country unless we find effective, high-quality solutions. Telehealth is exactly the type of innovation that can solve many of these problems, as long as we remain vigilant and ensure it is not shackled by overregulation.”



Crossing the Point of No Return in the Delivery of Healthcare

For a number of years now, the prediction that telemedicine technology was on the verge of unabridged expansion has been as common as snow fall in the Rockies in January. But in reality expansion has always fallen short of the predictions.  At the beginning of each year loyal proponents touted that telemedicine would revolutionize the healthcare delivery model and change the way patients interface with their healthcare providers, only to encounter a number of stubborn road blocks that managed to slow the process of full utilization and implementation of the technology. This year, due to the convergence of more affordable technology and changing patient expectations, many industry leaders are once again claiming 2015 to be the long-awaited year of the break-out.

Telemedicine has been making significant progress in making specialized care, such as stroke and other neurological care, more accessible to patients who live in remote outlying areas not served by major urban medical centers. According to the American Telemedicine Association, more than half of all U.S. hospitals now use some form of telemedicine. But the full utilization and benefits of telemedical technology has been allusive.  Now there are several market and technological factors that could make 2015 the year that significant progress is achieved in the application of telehealth across all healthcare sectors.

With the predicted significant financial benefits and efficiencies for healthcare providers, insurance companies and ultimately the consumer, the global telehealth market is predicted to approach $27 billion by 2016. By 2018, it is expected that 65 percent of interactions with healthcare providers and organizations will be performed via virtual communication devises which will eventually be interconnected with an ever expanding array of mobile and wearable monitoring gadgets. Major healthcare players from pharmacy to health insurance companies and technology companies like Google are taking notice and making significant investments in telemedicine technology. Four factors that will insure expanded adoption in the coming year are beginning to come into focus:

Payment for telemedicine services. Government payers like Medicare and Medicaid as well as private healthcare insurers have broadened reimbursements for telemedical services. As payment barriers continue to be resolved utilization of telemedicine across the healthcare spectrum will advance more rapidly.

Market introduction of communication technology improvements. Advances in wearable technology will provide opportunities to interlink the monitoring devices with a comprehensive telemedicine communication system which will enhance remote diagnosis and virtual treatment in many cases. Long awaited improvements and increased adoption of electronic medical records (EMRs) will eventually benefit overall healthcare. By making patient medical history records easily and immediately available to virtual caregiver’s telemedicine services will have a greater opportunity to expand beyond the current limitations.

The consumerization of health care. Patient push-back over faceless physician encounters was once promoted as a formidable barrier to the implementation of telehealth. As patients became responsible for a larger share of their healthcare costs, tech user consumers began to embrace the convenience and lower cost provided by virtual remote care. From retail health insurance stores to health care kiosks in retail outlets, pharmacies and shopping malls, patients are embracing the concept of consumerization. The free market concepts that are already an established staple of other industry markets is turning the traditional delivery of healthcare into a business to consumer (B2C) model. Today’s healthcare consumers are increasingly setting the terms of service and expecting high-quality, personalized and convenient experiences from their healthcare encounters.

The state by state licensing of physicians has been a formidable barrier to multi-state expansion of telemedicine for years. “The morass of regulations and paperwork required by each state licensing board is a mountainous obstacle to efficient medical care throughout these United States. The recognition of multistate licensure would ease this restriction and improve access to experts for patients of all 50 states. I foresee the easing of these restrictions in the coming year,” says Dr. Matthews Gwynn, Director and Founder of the Stroke Center of Northside Hospital in Atlanta and AcuteCare Telemedicine CEO.

The long anticipated year of telemedicines break-out may finally be upon us. While many may find the new reality of healthcare delivery unsettling and disruptive, telemedicine may have finally crossed over the point of no return.



Expanding the Reach of Teleneurological Care

Thomas Hospital has been serving the communities of Baldwin County and Mobile Alabama for more than 50 years. A 150 bed hospital with a staff of more than 1300 dedicated medical professionals, Thomas Hospital has established a tradition for earning accolades for excellent service. In 2014 it was named among America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Patient Experience and a 2014 America’s Best Hospitals for Obstetrics by Women’s Choice Award. For four consecutive years the facility has been named among the Top 100 Cardiovascular Hospitals by Thomson Reuters and was named a Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama. With such an exemplary track record it is no surprise that it would seek to improve its neurological care services through the use of the latest communication technology.

In a time when medical specialist are in short supply and increasing financial pressures are common place among the nations smaller to mid-sized hospitals, many are turning to telemedicine to assure their patients have access to the finest quality care available. In an effort to complement their existing neurological care department, Thomas Hospital is partnering with AcuteCare Telemedicine and the Alabama Partnership for Telemedicine to provide virtual, 24 hour, seven days per week treatment for stroke and other neurological maladies. The service is scheduled to go into effect in early January, 2015 and will assist the dedicated caregivers at Thomas Hospital in providing the finest around the clock neurological treatment to the patients in their community.

AcuteCare Telemedicine (ACT) is the leading practice-based provider of Telemedicine services for hospitals seeking around-the-clock stroke and other urgent Neurological care. As the demand for Neurologists increases and new regulations impact hospitals, there is a growing shortage of experienced physicians available to provide continuous coverage. ACT offers cost-effective solutions that deliver complete on-call coverage to improve patient outcomes. “Attracting and recruiting medical specialists is an ongoing challenge for smaller, regional hospitals who must balance the needs of their patients with the financial realities of healthcare in this demanding economy,” says Dr. Matthews Gwynn, Director and Founder of the Stroke Center of Northside Hospital and AcuteCare Telemedicine CEO. “We look forward to expanding our family of client partnerships throughout the region with the addition of Thomas Hospital.” Alabama Partnership for Telehealth will be providing the technical assistance and infrastructure for the project.

Alabama Partnership for TeleHealth (APT) is a charitable nonprofit corporation with a focus on increasing access to healthcare through the innovative use of technology. APT’s goal is to serve the citizens of Alabama by promoting and supporting new and existing telehealth programs across the state.

Thomas Hospital is an associate of Infirmary Health, Alabama’s largest non-government healthcare team, and is devoted to patient care through three acute-care hospitals, three rehabilitation hospitals, three outpatient facilities and 22 medical clinics which serve an 11-county area along the Gulf Coast of the state.




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