AcuteCare Telemedicine Blog


Leading Providers of Telemedicine Technology Present at Summit

The Alabama Rural Health Association (ARHA) and the Alabama Partnership for Telehealth (APT) held the 2nd Annual Alabama Rural Health & Telehealth Summit on October 16th thru the 17th in Prattville, Alabama.  The conference provided an excellent opportunity to learn about the current uses and capabilities of telehealth and telemedicine and included updated information on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and more specific information on the Health Insurance Exchange program, Navigator program, and Accountable Care Organization program.

Cecilia Land, Director of Rehab Services, presented a session titled, “Reaching Out to Alabama with Telestroke Services.”  Land discussed the stroke mortality rates in Alabama, and more specifically stroke mortality in the counties that fall inside the Southeastern Alabama Medical Center (SAMC) footprint and its desire to help bring down those rates in the counties surrounding the SAMC Telestroke Hub and their partner spokes in southeastern Alabama.

Levonne Outlaw, SAMC Stroke Network Coordinator, discussed education and training of the individual hospital staffs at the spokes. Initial training proved to be very successful and adoption of the telemedicine and telestroke platforms was well received by the staffs. The initial concern for a potentially long learning curve on implementation was not realized.

Dr. Matt Gwynn, Acute Care Telemedicine, the leading practice-based provider of Telemedicine services in the southeast, discussed the national statistics on stroke and their dramatic impact on quality of life of survivors.  His discussion centered on the unique nature of stroke and how telemedicine can best be implemented to treat this disease. “Stroke is a perfect fit for demonstrating the life saving and life enhancing benefits of telemedicine, given that telemedicine can reduce the time to treat patients in the narrow, 3-hour window, which is so critical to stroke victims”, said Dr. Gwynn.  He went on to share a specific case of a 46-year old female stroke patient at Dale Medical Center and how she had benefited from SAMC’s new telemedicine presence.  Dale Med Center had been live with telestroke not more than a week, and the patient presented into the ER with stroke symptoms, was treated with the clot-busting drug tPA and discharged within 48 hours with minimal long-term neurological damage.

Other key topics were presented by: Gary Capistrant, Senior Director of Public Policy for the American Telemedicine Association and panelists from Auburn University, University of Alabama and Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine.  Updates were presented on the Affordable Care Act and its effects on telemedicine throughout the United States.



The 2nd Annual Alabama Rural Health & TeleHealth Summit

The Alabama Rural Health Association (ARHA) and the Alabama Partnership for Telehealth (APT) will be sponsoring the 2nd Annual Alabama Rural Health & Telehealth Summit on October 16th thru the 17th in Prattville, Alabama.  The conference provides an excellent opportunity to learn about the current uses and capabilities of telehealth and telemedicine and will include updated information on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and more specific information on the Health Insurance Exchange program, Navigator program, and Accountable Care Organization program.  Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is scheduled to present the opening address.

Dr. Matt Gwynn, Acute Care Telemedicine, the leading practice-based provider of Telemedicine services in the southeast, will be joined by Levonne Outlaw, Southeastern Alabama Medical Center (SAMC) Stroke Network Coordinator, Dr. Jason Deleon,  SAMC Emergency Medicine physician and Cecilia Land, Director of Rehab Services, in presenting a session titled, “Reaching Out to Alabama with Telestroke Services.”  Dr. Gwynn will review recent patient success stories related to ACT telestroke services, the successful working relationship with SAMC and the future of the telestroke network. The SAMC Network currently includes SAMC and five “spoke” hospitals with plans to expand to additional network partners throughout the Florida Panhandle and rural southwest Georgia.

Featured speakers for the Summit include Davis Lee, National Rural Health Association (HRHA), Martin Rice, specialist in Electronic Health Record implementation and Gary Capistrant, Senior Director, Public Policy at the American Telemedicine Association.

Alabama Partnership for TeleHealth, (APT), is a charitable nonprofit corporation focused on increasing access to healthcare through the innovative use of technology and dedicated to providing an opportunity for TeleHealth services to expand and provide greater access to healthcare to all of Alabama.

The Alabama Rural Health Association (ARHA) is focused on the preservation and enhancement of health to rural citizens in all 67 counties of Alabama. The Summit partners share a common belief that Telehealth holds an exciting promise for providing increased access to quality care for rural Alabama and that TeleHealth is changing the way we think about health and the health care delivery model.

The Summit provides a great opportunity for health care providers to join together in collaboration to improve the health care system.    The Alabama Rural Health & Telehealth Summit 2013 will be held at the Marriott-Legends at Capitol Hill, 2500 Legends Circle, Prattville, Alabama. To find out more about exhibiting or attending the conference visit www.alabamatelehealth.com.



Acutecare Telemedicine CEO Featured Speaker For American Heart Association’s Stroke Webinar Series

Dr. Matthews Gwynn, CEO of AcuteCare Telemedicine (ACT), appeared as the featured speaker for a webinar series produced by the southeast affiliate of the American Heart Association. The presentation, entitled “Extending Stroke Care through Telemedicine,” was delivered to several hundred hospital administrators and medical staff throughout the southeast and other areas of the U.S.

Dr. Gwynn’s webinar presentation, hosted by Mary Robicheaux, Vice-President of Quality Improvement for the American Heart Association southeast affiliate, focused on the advancement of teleneurology in the treatment of acute stroke patients. Dr. Gwynn discussed the positive effects that teleneurology continues to have on advancing stroke treatment, such as the increased use of the clot-disolving medication tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), as well more advanced neuro-interventional procedures known as thrombectomies, performed by neuro-interventionalists at such world-class facilities like Grady Hospital’s Marcus Stroke and Neuroscience Center in Atlanta, GA.

“Advanced treatments for acute stroke cases are becoming more and more prevalent with the advent of greater technology and treatment procedures,” stated Dr. Gwynn.  “The medical community observed this within the cardiology field over the past couple of decades, and now we are starting to see similar advancements in stroke care via neurocritical care and interventional neuroradiology.

In a continued effort to expand teleneurology in the southeast, Dr. Gwynn and the other neurologists of ACT serve as critical evaluators at partner hospitals of stroke cases that may require advanced interventions such as those discussed in the webinar.

For more information about AcuteCare Telemedicine, visit www.acutecaretelemed.com.



AcuteCare Telemedicine Discusses the Future of Teleneurology at GPT Conference

Dr. Matthews Gwynn, Partner, AcuteCare Telemedicine (ACT) will speak during the 2012 Georgia Partnership for Telehealth (GPT) Conference at the Ritz-Carlton, Reynolds Plantation in Lake Oconee, GA on Thursday, March 15th. The annual conference brings together physicians, nurses, and other industry figures to address a wide variety of topics related to telehealth, including recent innovations, advocacy and education, policies and regulations, and case studies.

Dr. Gwynn will discuss the potential of teleneurology in this decade. ACT is a leader in teleneurology services, dedicated to bringing high quality neurological care to underserved areas through the use of telemedicine technologies.

“Significant advances in technology are presently writing the next chapter of medical history. As futurists who see the possibilities and value of telemedicine, specifically teleneurology, ACT is truly on the forefront of this movement,” said Gwynn. “The GPT Conference is a fantastic opportunity to exchange knowledge with other industry leaders who share the same vision. Events such as this move us closer to a future where patients have access to the best possible care, regardless of their location.”

More information about GPT and the 2012 Conference can be accessed at http://www.gatelehealth.org/index.php/2011-conference/2012-conference/.



Looking Backwards to See Ahead – Part 2: Accountability & Relationships

This is another in a series of blogs chronicling the development of AcuteCare Telemedicine (ACT). Much of this reflection involves lessons learned at 2011’s Annual Meeting of the American Telemedicine Association (ATA). What follows is an amalgam of facts, experience and opinions culled from that fantastic symposium and honed by hindsight. Today’s blog will focus on ACT’s approach to accountability and relationships.

Accountability refers to the promise of optimal healthcare outcomes while maintaining an expected return on investment. Patient and physician satisfaction are cornerstones of accountability, but to depend solely on these measures has become passé. Administrators want measurable financial and clinical outcomes, and to obtain and retain clients, will expect supporting data for all assertions.

One must constantly seek meaningful measures of the services promised; encounter surveys gather data on every patient interaction, regardless of outcome. This data measures service utilization (e.g. stroke vs non-stroke, tPA vs. non-tPA, etc.) and efficiency (e.g. response time, “door to needle” time, etc). Constant focus on patient outcome requires frequent Mordibity & Mortality conferences. This leads to continuing education, reduced miscommunication and shared responsibility. Finally, financial impact (more specifically than simply “satisfaction”) can be obtained with quarterly or annual reviews of year-to-date ICD-10 referenced charges or admissions. However, emotionally powerful patient anecdotes must complement the sterile numbers. It is this human component that provides the raison d’etre, separating telemedicine from any number of telecommunication ventures.

Accountability also extends to the development and maintainance of relationships with ACT’s clients. A client considering telestroke invests significant time and capital and must undergo a fundamental paradigm shift regarding what constitutes optimal patient care. To facilitate this endeavor, a telemedicine service needs to become as integrated as possible into the culture of its remote partners. One cannot afford to simply be the latest technological gimmick, but rather must provide an approachable solution.

Frequent contact is paramount and must not be limited to patient encounters. Not all interaction can take place in the cloud; physical meetings allow remote presence technology to become an alternate mode of communication between colleagues, rather than a proxy for an actual relationship. Communication is the foundation of every meaningful relationship. Listening to the client will uncover their goals and challenges.  The telemedicine service will integrate more fully with a remote partner, helping the client on their terms. This may result in vertical integration with mutually beneficial services including electrophysiology studies, clinical trials, medical directorships, etc.

Horizontal integration may include multiple disciplines such as telestroke, teleICU or telepsychiatry. Ultimately, integration into a client’s business model and culture is crucial for long-term sustainability. ACT assures clients are not simply invested in telemedicine services, but in their relationship with ACT.