AcuteCare Telemedicine Blog


Atlanta Neurology and ACT Expanding Opportunities for Neurologists
October 5, 2015, 10:40 am
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Atlanta Neurology, a leading neurology practice, and AcuteCare Telemedicine (ACT), the leading practice-based provider of telemedicine services for hospitals seeking stroke and other urgent Neurological care, is offering a rare opportunity to join a well-established practice and also provide telemedicine.

Atlanta Neurology offers a competitive benefits package including health, 401(k), savings, and pension, profit sharing plan, and flexible schedules. The Atlanta-based position extends growth opportunities in the booming healthcare, business, and cultural capital of the Southeast. Metro Atlanta offers a mild 4-season climate, easy access to mountains and beaches, excellent schools, exceptional restaurants, and abundant entertainment options.

Atlanta Neurology is looking for a neurologist who is passionate about helping people by leveraging expertise in general neurology, stroke diagnostics, and general management. Natural leadership in emergency telemedicine, office, and hospital care is also important.

Board certification in Neurology and Vascular Neurology required. Experience using botulinum toxin in headache treatment and other conditions a plus. Atlanta Neurology is an equal opportunity employer. Recent fellows encouraged to apply.

Please send CV with cover letter to admin@acutecaretelemed.com.

 

About Atlanta Neurology

Established in 1970, Atlanta Neurology continues to grow in an increasingly competitive environment. Not resting on the laurels of its team of exceptionally rated neurologists (Atlanta Magazine and Top Docs ratings 12 years running), Atlanta Neurology recognized the need for remote stroke and urgent neurology care in underserved markets when telemedicine was in its infancy. Now both a leader in clinical practice–affiliated with Northside Hospital and Emory St. Joseph’s–and a nationally recognized pacesetter in teleneurology, Atlanta Neurology and ACT are a formidable partnership.

 

About AcuteCare Telemedicine

 Founded in 2009, AcuteCare Telemedicine is a limited liability corporation advancing the opportunity for healthcare institutions to gain access to highly-respected, expert neurologists and telemedicine technologies. AcuteCare offers a range of services including first-rate neurological emergency response care with around-the-clock support and hospital accreditation education. AcuteCare primarily provides remote emergency neurology consultation which fills staffing needs and reduces the costs associated with 24/7 neurologist availability. As a result, healthcare institutions provide full service emergency neurology care and can earn Joint Commission Certification as a Primary Stroke Center.



AcuteCare Telemedicine (ACT) Exceeds Mid-Year Projections

AcuteCare Telemedicine (ACT), the leading practice-based provider of telemedicine services for healthcare organizations seeking around-the-clock stroke and other neurological care, exceeds mid-year projections, adding to its previous 5 years of successive growth.

“As we expand our geographic footprint, ACT has been able to attract enterprise level healthcare systems looking for acute stroke care to support a network of hospitals,” comments Dr. Matthews Gwynn, Partner, ACT.  “Our practice-base model enables us to seamlessly integrate with our client hospitals.”

In March, ACT announced a collaborative partnership with Bon Secours Neuroscience Institute (BSNI), the neuroscience division at the not-for-profit Catholic health system sponsored by Bon Secours Ministries. Patricia Lane, Bon Secours Richmond Administrative Director of Neurosciences says, “Working with the AcuteCare Telemedicine partners feels like an extension of the internal practice. They are truly in alignment with Bon Secours efforts to identify the right path to create continuity of care from the time the patient is admitted to our Emergency Room to the time they leave the hospital. AcuteCare is not just a provider, but invested team members who take pride in providing the best quality of neurological care to our patients.”

The American Academy of Neurology reports that stroke is the No. 4 cause of death in the United States and is also a leading cause of disability, creating a shortage of neurologists focused on stroke or acute stroke care.  “With the shortage of neurologists and increased demand for stroke care, especially in rural or underserved communities, ACT works with healthcare organizations to establish teleneurology programs that increase access to critical neurological care,” comments Dr. James Kiely, Partner, ACT. “We remain agile with each client so as to integrate with an existing teleneurology program or assist in establishing a new program, whether a rural hospital or a large healthcare system.”

“We are pleased with the growth of our business and even more excited about the number of hospitals and patients we positively impact,” comments Gwynn.



The Challenge of Connecting Telemedicine to Electronic Health Records

Much of the debate about telemedicine and the effect it is imposing on the established healthcare delivery model has been centered on the doctor/patient relationship and the adherence to maintaining a high standard of care, regardless of the method of interaction. While the importance of the patient and physician in the new electronic relationship is well understood, there is a third component essential to the successful integration of telemedicine. The ability to access patient’s medical information is critical to extending continuity of care for patients as well as improving transparency between telemedicine providers and healthcare organizations. Organizations are already integrating electronic health records (EHRs) systems but telemedicine adds another layer of integration.

To successfully access patient data, telehealth providers will need to achieve interoperability between various information technology systems and software applications and must be able to communicate, exchange data, and use the information that has been exchanged seamlessly across all types of digital communication devises. Tom Bizzaro, vice president of health policy for First Databank says, “We have to universally acknowledge the value of interoperability within healthcare IT systems. Indeed, sharing data across systems can help to improve care quality and efficiency in the country’s health system and lead to success of value-based reimbursement models. However, all players – providers, payers, patients and vendors alike – need to truly embrace the value EHR interoperability, putting it above any proprietary concerns.”

In speaking about the future of the connected healthcare system, Steve Cashman, CEO of HealthSpot, said “The future of the connected healthcare system lies in solutions that deliver care to patients where it’s most convenient for them through unique partnerships that extend the care of traditional health systems and local medical communities through different forms of mobile health and telemedicine. By embracing new technologies, we can treat a greater number of people with more efficient and relevant means of care. With the addition of cloud-based electronic health records and coordination of care between traditional and connected healthcare models, we can build an even better experience for patients and providers. Building connected healthcare systems will also allow us to engage with patients on a deeper level, incentivizing them to seek care and empowering them to participate in preventative measures.”

Congressional House leaders recently unveiled a draft of the 21st Century Cures Act, which aims to “accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery cycle to get promising new treatments and cures to patients more quickly.” The original draft did not include language pertaining to telemedicine, but a new draft includes language about the interoperability of electronic health records and requires electronic health records to be interoperable by Jan. 1, 2018. The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) President and CEO Russell Branzell and Board Chair Charles Christian want better patient identification to be included in the new legislation in order to better secure access to patient information. The duo called it the “the most significant challenge” to safe health information exchange. A subsequent statement by CHIME to FierceHealthIT read, “Increasing access to patient data alone will not translate into better patient care. We would encourage the committee to emphasize both the need to increase access and exchange health information, along with the value of being able to use the data to improve care.” The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) CEO Jonathan Linkous, expressed his hope that Congress will adopt “at least a few measures” to expand access to telemedicine.

The shift to EHRs in large healthcare organizations and in clinical practice certainly proved challenging.  As telemedicine becomes a standard of care, EHR integration becomes a key component to long-term success.

As AcuteCare expands into various healthcare organizations, Dr. James M. Kiely, Partner, AcuteCare Telemedicine (ACT) comments on the complexity of integration with EHR systems. “Currently, we are able to enter patient data via a secure but separate, web-based portal or by using some very good software that allows data integration. Both solutions require manual staff intervention which can often be slow and cumbersome; the antithesis of what telemedicine is supposed to represent. As with EHR integration, it might take considerable time and effort to create a platform that simplifies the integration.”



AcuteCare Telemedicine Advancing Stroke Care

A little more than a decade ago, telestroke and teleneurology were words that where not even part of our language but today are synonymous with the delivery of life-saving treatments for stroke. In a time when medical specialist are in short supply  among the nations smaller to mid-sized hospitals and increasing financial pressures make maintaining a neurology service difficult even at larger hospitals, many are turning to telestroke programs to assure their patients have access to the finest quality care available.  “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 in Atlanta and AcuteCare Telemedicine CEO. The combination of improving patient care, a growing shortage of neurology specialist and concerns over rising healthcare cost have converged to produce a significant increase in the utilization of communication technologies in the delivery of advanced stroke care

In a recent study, telestroke units helped increase the number of rural stroke patients treated and delivered treatment faster. In the 10-year evaluation of telestroke programs the study, published in the journal Stroke, found that the number of patients receiving the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) for ischemic stroke rose from 2.6 percent to 15.5 percent and the median time between a patient’s arrival at a regional hospital until tPA was administered fell from 80 minutes to 40 minutes. In addition, the median time between onset of stroke symptoms and receiving tPA fell from 150 minutes to 120 minutes. During the same decade, the number of patients transferred from regional hospitals to stroke centers declined from 11.5 percent to 7 percent.

Telemedicine continues to make significant progress in providing quality, specialized care for stroke and other neurological ailments and is improving access to this care for 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.

According to a new study by Mayo Clinic researchers, telestroke programs are leading to lower cost. Stroke patients living in rural areas who receive care via a telestroke network experience, on average, nearly $1,500 in lower costs over their lifetime compared to stroke patients who do not receive telestroke care. The savings are primarily attributed to reduced resource utilization, including nursing home care and inpatient rehabilitation. The researchers evaluated a particular kind of telestroke care, with the healthcare provider acting as a hub that connects with a network of multiple hospitals, or spokes. They determined that when a telestroke system connects a hub with seven spokes it’s effective and cost-friendly for the patient. “This study shows that a hub-and-spoke telestroke network is not only cost-effective from the societal perspective, but it’s cost-saving,” said neurologist Bart Demaerschalk, MD, director of the Mayo Clinic Telestroke Program, and lead investigator of the study.

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. Recently, in an effort to complement their existing neurological care department, the Hospital partnered with AcuteCare Telemedicine (ACT) and the Alabama Partnership for Telemedicine to provide virtual, 24 hour, seven days per week treatment for stroke and other neurological maladies. With its exemplary track record for providing outstanding care it is no surprise that it would seek to improve its neurological care services through the use of the latest communication technology. Dr. James M. Kiely, says “When you engage with AcuteCare Telemedicine you are engaging in more than a technical solution. You are gaining quality individuals to augment your medical staff.  Patients are able to engage with neurologists who are invested in their care.”

ACT has established itself as an innovator on the forefront of the industry, taking a unique approach to telemedicine by leveraging new technologies and techniques to enable personal neurology consultation when doctor and patient are in different locations. “The interaction between patients and families and us with the two-way, secure videoconferencing system that we have, it’s the same as being there,” says Dr. Keith A. Sanders, AcuteCare COO. “The Neurologic exam for stroke and emergency Neurology can be as safely and reliably done remotely as it is in person, I don’t think we miss anything by not being there.” With the help of ACT’s powerful and personalized services, patients throughout the ‘Stroke Belt’ states of the Southeast have drastically improved access to the care they deserve, and medical facilities increase efficiency while reducing the costs associated with maintaining a traditional emergency neurology staff. Whereas many hospitals with existing neurology departments simply do not have the resources to maintain around-the-clock clinician capacity, ACT has managed to successfully disrupt the trend and bring patient and physician together, regardless of geographical boundaries. Achieving this goal requires a certain level of investment in technology and trust in the people behind it. ACT is truly technology-agnostic.  This agility affords healthcare organizations with the ability to select the platform that meets budgetary and organizational parameters.

At Dodge County Hospital ACT partners with InTouch Health (InTouch), a leading developer and provider of remote presence devices and software, to bring remote telestroke care to its client hospitals. InTouch and ACT closely collaborate with their hospitals to easily integrate and improve the efficiency of the new remote service workflow processes as well as improve clinical performance and cost containment.  The client hospitals dedicated staff of medical professionals receive important, on-site training in the operation of the telecommunication robots and its software and form critical consultative relationships with ACT neurologist to ensure the highest quality patient care. “Having the ability to consult with a neurologist remotely for treatment of stroke and other neurological maladies is allowing these hospitals to meet the needs of the patients in the communities they serve,” says Dr. Gwynn. “We look forward to expanding our family of client partnerships throughout the region.

Hospitals all across America are finding the cost of telemedicine an affordable solution to ensuring improved accessibility of critical care and specialized treatment for their patients no matter where they live. Dr. Lisa Johnson, AcuteCare CFO, sees the healthcare environment for telemedicine as an increasingly expanding area. “Unfortunately there is an exodus of neurologists away from hospital work and on call duty. There is a particular lack of neurologists in many rural hospitals,” as the trend continues, the need for telemedicine is only going to grow, especially in the field of Neurology, where assessing an acute stroke patient can be swiftly and completely performed via remote presence.”

If your hospital or hospital system is looking to establish a stroke center to offer the best in telestroke care, AcuteCare Telemedicine, as a practice-based provider, is the best solution. For more information, please contact ACT at info@acutecaretelemedicine.com.



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.



A Telehealth Summit: Transforming the Delivery of Healthcare

The third-annual Alabama Rural Health & Telehealth Summit is scheduled for October 15 through October 17, 2014 at the Embassy Suites in Birmingham, AL. The Summit is sponsored by the Alabama Partnership for Telehealth (APT) and is the only statewide gathering of telehealth advocates in Alabama. This year’s theme is “Transforming the Delivery of Healthcare” and will feature a diverse and experienced group of presenters who will discuss the value of telehealth technology and how it is revolutionizing the delivery of healthcare across rural and urban America.

The Summit is open to primary and specialty care physicians, advanced practice nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses, medical care facilities administrators and anyone who is interested in learning more about healthcare reform through the application of modern telecommunication technology. More than a dozen topics and forums will be available for attendees over the three day summit, featuring the foremost experts in telemedical services and technology. The Summit is a great opportunity to learn more about state, regional and international Telemedicine initiatives.

On Thursday, October 16, James Kiely, PhD, MD, Chief Information Officer, AcuteCare Telemedicine, will moderate and present a session titled “The Reality of Telestroke: Real People, Real Results.” Dr. Kiely will be joined in the presentation by Cecilia Land, Division Director, Rehab Services, Southeast Alabama Medical Center, and Steven L. Skeen, BSN, CNO, Mizell Memorial Hospital.

Dr. James Kiely is board certified in Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology and is the medical director of the neurophysiology labs at both Northside and St. Joseph’s Hospitals, and a partner at Atlanta Neurology in Atlanta. He was recently named one of America’s Top Doctors by US News and World Report, as well as being named a “Top Doctor” in Atlanta by Atlanta Magazine for the past five years. Dr. Kiely also serves as the Chief Information Officer for AcuteCare Telemedicine, LLC, an Atlanta-based corporation advancing the opportunity for healthcare institutions to gain access to expert neurologists and telemedicine technologies for 24/7/365 emergent neurological care.

Registration is available online for all those who wish to attend. The Embassy Suites Birmingham-Hoover is located at 2660 John Hawkins Parkway, Birmingham, AL 35244. For additional information on the Summit, contact Samantha Haas, Alabama Partnership for TeleHealth, Inc.



AcuteCare Telemedicine and Coliseum Health System Partner To Improve Patient Access To Specialized Neurological Care

OCTOBER 2, 2014 – MACON, GA: AcuteCare Telemedicine (ACT) continues to expand its presence in the Southeastern region with the addition of two new client hospitals. Coliseum Medical Centers (CMC) and Coliseum Northside Hospital (CNH) of Macon, GA, have recently introduced ACT’s leading neurological specialists to their dedicated staff of medical professionals and patients. The two facilities are associated with the Nashville-based Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), the nation’s leading provider of healthcare services.

HCA is comprised of locally managed healthcare facilities that include about 165 hospitals and 115 freestanding surgery centers in 20 states and England. The more than 200,000 HCA medical professionals are committed to the delivery of high quality, cost effective healthcare in the communities they serve.

Coliseum Northside Hospital recently introduced a robot named TESS, or “Telestroke Station” to its staff and patients. TESS, an InTouch Health premium RP-Vita robot, can be stationed throughout the facility to remotely connect Coliseum’s dedicated medical team with ACT’s experienced neurological specialists 24 hours a day. Coliseum Northside Hospital’s sister facility, Coliseum Medical Centers, uses an identical robot named Bazinga meaning “an exclamation indicating a successful outcome”. Connecting hospital-based medical professionals with off-site specialists through the use of new telecommunication technologies is improving access of specialized care for patients in smaller, regional hospitals and medical centers. April Watson, Sepsis & Stroke Coordinator at Northside Hospital says, “The team of doctors at ACT are very professional and are great to work with. We look forward to teaming up with them to provide our patients the best in telestroke care.”

“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 chief executive officer. “Having the ability to consult with a neurologist remotely for treatment of stroke and other neurological maladies is allowing these hospitals to meet the needs of the patients in the communities they serve. ACT is extremely proud to associate with Coliseum Medical Centers and Coliseum Northside Hospital.”

“ACT has been focused on providing the highest quality of care to our client hospitals and our patients. We are continuing to expand opportunities for acute stroke care to hospitals across nine states,” comments Gwynn. “We look forward to providing the most advanced telestroke care to more partners like Coliseum Medical Centers and Coliseum Northside Hospital who are also committed to advancements in telemedicine.” This announcement follows ACT’s recent partnerships with Emory John’s Creek and Colleton Medical Center (CMC) earlier this year.

 

About AcuteCare Telemedicine

Founded in 2009, AcuteCare Telemedicine is a limited liability corporation advancing the opportunity for healthcare institutions to gain access to highly-respected, expert neurologists and telemedicine technologies. AcuteCare offers a range of services including first-rate neurological emergency response care with around-the-clock support and hospital accreditation education. AcuteCare primarily provides remote emergency neurology consultation which fills staffing needs and reduces the costs associated with 24/7 neurologist availability. As a result, healthcare institutions provide full service emergency neurology care and can earn Joint Commission Certification as a Primary Stroke Center.

About Coliseum Health System

Owned by Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), Coliseum Health System is comprised of Coliseum Medical Centers and Coliseum Northside Hospital, two medical/surgical campuses with a total of 413 beds. The hospitals feature an expansive range of state-of-the-art services designed to meet the comprehensive medical needs of central Georgia. Both facilities include a 24-hour emergency room, inpatient and outpatient surgery options, rehabilitation programs, and diagnostic services. In addition, Coliseum Health System’s breadth of care options includes specialty facilities such as the Coliseum Heart Institute, an advanced cardiac center offering all services from non-invasive cardiology to open heart surgery, Coliseum Primary Stroke Center, Coliseum Orthopaedic & Spine Institute, Coliseum Cancer Institute, Coliseum Robotic Institute, Georgia Bariatric Center, Coliseum Diabetes Management Center, Coliseum Center for Pelvic Health, Coliseum Rehabilitation Center, and the Family Ties Birthing Center, which includes a level III neonatal nursery. The Coliseum Center for Behavioral Health provides treatment to adults with psychiatric and addiction issues through inpatient and outpatient programs, as well as, a specialty program for senior adults.   http://coliseumhealthsystem.com



AcuteCare Chief Operating Officer Dr. Keith A. Sanders Providing Quality Care In His Hometown

0924 Dr Sanders

For Dr. Keith A. Sanders, it is a pleasure to care for patients locally and worldwide, from his hometown of Atlanta, GA.

“One patient recently told me, ‘The last time I saw you, you were up at Lake Lanier in your father’s arms’,” Dr. Sanders says. “It’s a small world and Atlanta has grown a lot. But it’s nice to have a connection with people like that.”

The homegrown physician is President of Atlanta Neurology and Chief Operating Officer of AcuteCare Telemedicine.

Healing others is part of Dr. Sanders’ heritage. His uncle was a general surgeon and his grandfather and other uncle were dentists. “My grandfather got me summer jobs at Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta, working in the operating room,” Dr. Sanders remembers. For him, medicine was a natural career choice, “and I’m glad I made it.”

Dr. Sanders graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, and went on to medical school at Emory University. He completed his Neurology residency at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City. His fellowship in Neuromuscular Disease was at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. He is board-certified in Neurology, Electro Diagnostic Medicine, and has subspecialty certification in Vascular Neurology. He is director and founder of the Stroke Center of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta and former chairman of the Ethics Resource Committee.

“I was drawn to the brain and nervous system,” Dr. Sanders says of his choosing Neurology. “There was a lot of fertile ground there. A lot of enigmas and curiosity to pursue.”

Dr. Sanders and wife, Theresa, a nurse and a cardiology research coordinator at Emory University Hospital, have had robust discussions, “about which organ is more important – the heart or the brain,” he says. “We’ve decided they are both important.”

They have a daughter and son in college, and two Jack Russell terriers. In what spare time he finds, Dr. Sanders enjoys walking, swimming, hiking and traveling. On his bucket list is a long overdue return trip to the Caribbean Islands.

He is still inspired by mentors like Dr. Richard Frank, a family friend, now retired. “Dr. Franco was a great humanist,” Dr. Sanders says. He admires Dr. Frank’s approach to, “Identifying the patient who has the disease, not just the disease the patient has.”

According to Dr. Sanders, gravitating to providing telemedicine services was a gradual process for AcuteCare’s four founding partners. “We asked ‘What is telemedicine,’ and at that point the four of us were curious enough and we saw potential in this new technology. So we took the ball and ran with it,” Dr. Sanders says. “We’ve been able to find our way in the business world. It’s a learning adventure and the beauty of it is, we’re really practicing Neurology on a broader scale. It’s the same as our other business (Atlanta Neurology), practicing neurology, just a different way of doing it.”

Technology bridges the distance between remote telemedicine and patients and families in an Emergency Room. “The interaction between patients and families and us with the two-way, secure videoconferencing system that we have, it’s the same as being there,” Dr. Sanders says. “The Neurologic exam for stroke and emergency Neurology can be as safely and reliably done remotely as it is in person,” he adds. “I don’t think we miss anything by not being there.”

For the doctors of AcuteCare Telemedicine, time is of the essence. “When we see these patients it’s in an emergency setting and we have to quickly evaluate if they are eligible for the new stroke treatments,” Dr. Sanders says. “You know the mantra, ‘time is brain.’ For every minute that the brain is deprived of blood supply, one million nerve cells are dying.” Establishing a doctor-patient relationship is critical. “It’s an immediate and intense rapport that you establish and they are looking to us as a specialist, and they are very trusting and we’re very honest with them. It’s very gratifying to be able to help people in that immediate situation.”

Dr. Sanders describes the atmosphere with his partners at AcuteCare as one of collegiality, information-sharing, and cooperation. “We promote a practice-based telemedicine service. We share the responsibility to the patients at the hospitals that we provide the service to. Just like we share our practices in person,” he says. “It provides a better quality of care than a staffing based model where the telemedicine Neurologist one day may be in Texas; the next shift he’s going to be in Florida; and the next shift in New Jersey.”

Dr. Sanders is fortunate to find his motivation in the fact that, “I still enjoy what I do,” he says. “Find a job that you enjoy – never work a day in your life. My partners are critical. Providing a high level of care to our patients, there’s intellectual stimulation to be able to use our specialized knowledge to help people.”



AcuteCare Telemedicine and Colleton Medical Center Partner To Improve Patient Access To Specialized Neurological Care

JUNE 30, 2014 – ATLANTA, GA: AcuteCare Telemedicine (ACT) continues to expand its presence in the Southeastern region with the addition of new client hospitals. Following the announcement of its partnership with Emory John’s Creek, Colleton Medical Center (CMC) in Walterboro, SC recently introduced ACT’s leading specialists to their dedicated staff of medical professionals and patients. ACT in collaboration with the South Atlantic Division of HCA worked to bring teleneurology services to Colleton Medical Center.

Colleton recently debuted a robot named ELVIS, an acronym for “Early Neurological Intervention That’s Successful.” ACT can remotely consult with doctors and patients through ELVIS. While the robot is currently located in the emergency department, “It can be used throughout the entire facility,” reports Colleton Medical Center Emergency Department Director Christy Judy. As a result, ACT is standing by 24 hours a day anywhere they are needed throughout CMC. Connecting hospital-based medical professionals with off-site specialists through the use of new telecommunication technologies is improving access of specialized care for patients in smaller, regional hospitals and medical centers.

“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. “Having the ability to consult with a neurologist remotely for treatment of stroke and other neurological maladies is allowing these hospitals to meet the needs of the patients in the communities they serve. ACT is extremely proud to associate the South Atlantic Division of HCA and the Colleton Medical Center.”

Brad Griffin, CEO of Colleton Medical Center, is also very pleased with Colleton’s new relationship with ACT. “This is our first venture with telemedicine and the experience is proving to be very positive for both the patients and our team of medical professionals at Colleton,” he says. Griffin reports that the hospital staff has found their experience with ACT to be very comforting, easy to work with, and very professional. He sees Colleton’s first telemedicine venture as just the beginning and is looking forward to expanding the utilization of telemedicine to other medical specialties.

“ACT has been focused on providing the highest quality of care to our client hospitals and our patients. We’ve made significant progress in expanding opportunities for acute stroke care to hospitals across numerous states,” comments Gwynn. “We anticipate adding more partners like Colleton who are also committed to advancements in telemedicine.”

About AcuteCare Telemedicine

Founded in 2009, AcuteCare Telemedicine is a limited liability corporation advancing the opportunity for healthcare institutions to gain access to highly-respected, expert neurologists and telemedicine technologies. AcuteCare offers a range of services including first-rate neurological emergency response care with around-the-clock support and hospital accreditation education. AcuteCare primarily provides remote emergency neurology consultation which fills staffing needs and reduces the costs associated with 24/7 neurologist availability. As a result, healthcare institutions provide full service emergency neurology care and can earn Joint Commission Certification as a Primary Stroke Center.

 



Telemedicine Can Improve Quality Of Care For Parkinson’s Patients

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the University of Rochester Medical Center have found that in-person and virtual care patients rated their experiences about the same, although “in-person” patients reported slightly higher satisfaction than patients who’d been treated online. Delivering healthcare using telemedicine conferencing tools can be just as effective as in-person appointments for patients with Parkinson’s disease, according to the study recently published online in JAMA Neurology.

“If this proof-of-concept study is affirmed, the findings open the door to a new era where anyone anywhere can receive the care he or she needs,” said study leader Ray Dorsey, M.D., M.B.A., an associate professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of the Johns Hopkins Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center.

Telemedicine is showing to be particularly valuable to patients in rural and underserved areas of the country where access to chronic disease specialists is limited. Having access to neurologists is vital to the ongoing management of Parkinson’s disease. “Right now half the people in the world with Parkinson’s disease are suffering needlessly because they aren’t receiving care from a neurologist. So rather than asking older individuals with a disabling condition to come to an urban medical center to receive care, we’re saying let’s bring the care directly to the patients,” said Dorsey.

The National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) is also working to facilitate virtual Parkinson’s disease care by demonstrating that telemedicine can be very effective in delivering care to not only the Parkinson’s community but also to patients suffering from chronic heart disease and Multiple Sclerosis. The goal of NPF is to identify, from a broad patient advocacy perspective, how federal and state policies can be updated to better support telemedicine as an option for those who need specialized care. For patients suffering from chronic illnesses, telemedicine has the potential to be a very valuable service in terms of quality of life and better management of symptoms.

Amy Comstock Rick, Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN) CEO, believes telemedicine could make a tremendous difference in the lives of people with Parkinson’s. “Seeing a neurologist or movement disorder specialist makes a world of difference for someone living with Parkinson’s,” she said.  “Unfortunately, this may mean driving for hours and hours to see one, if there even is a specialist in their state.  We’re exploring issues around telemedicine policy to determine where we can have a real impact on behalf of the Parkinson’s community,” she said.