HealthTech Magazine - Technology Solutions That Drive Healthcare en Connected Technologies Deliver the Power to Improve Patient Outcomes <span>Connected Technologies Deliver the Power to Improve Patient Outcomes</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/rickyribeiro-3" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">andrew.steger_ofuW</span></span> <span>Tue, 08/20/2019 - 09:08</span> <div><p><strong>Our lives are connected in countless ways</strong>, no matter where or how we live.</p> <p>Nowhere is this more true than in the world of IT. As technologies such as mobile computing, collaboration solutions and the <a href="">Internet of Things</a> evolve, <strong>the number of connections</strong> — both to people and machines — <strong>is growing rapidly</strong>. And as data analytics and software-defined networking mature, enabling organizations to take greater advantage of these connections, this trend will only accelerate. Indeed, <a href="" target="_blank">Deloitte estimates</a> that <strong>48 percent</strong> of the medical devices produced today are connected, but that figure is expected to rise to <strong>68 percent</strong> in five years.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Deloitte</a> highlights a number of key objectives that connected healthcare solutions can deliver, including better medication management, decreased costs, enhanced patient experience, and improved diagnosis and treatment. All of these lead to the broader goal of better patient outcomes.</p> <p><strong>Connected solutions are influencing how and when care is delivered</strong>. For example, healthcare organizations are using telehealth tools <a href="">to provide care to patients during natural disasters</a>, when dangerous conditions make it impossible for care providers and patients to connect physically.</p> <p>Similarly, integrated communication and collaboration tools are becoming a <a href="">key part of the care strategy</a> for many organizations. “Good communications for clinicians can translate to higher patient satisfaction, which translates to better reimbursements,” says Lynne Dunbrack of IDC Health Insights.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM HEALTHTECH:</strong> Learn how collaboration tools bring doctors and patients closer together. </em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Connected Solutions Still Present Obstacles in Healthcare</h2> <p>But while these connections provide new opportunities for healthcare organizations, <strong>they also pose new hurdles</strong>. The <em>HealthTech </em>article “<a href="">Will Edge Computing Transform Healthcare?</a>" highlights a number of challenges that providers will face — including bandwidth, security and privacy issues — as they increase their adoption of medical IoT solutions. </p> <p>Further, as connected solutions mature, <a href="">the healthcare industry must establish standards</a> that govern their effective deployment. These standards will improve results and help adopters avoid common pitfalls.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/ryan-petersen" hreflang="en">Ryan Petersen</a></div> </div> Tue, 20 Aug 2019 13:08:41 +0000 andrew.steger_ofuW 42811 at Fall 2019 <span>Fall 2019</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/rickyribeiro-3" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">andrew.steger_ofuW</span></span> <span>Mon, 08/19/2019 - 09:57</span> <div class="pw-widget pw-size-medium pw-layout-vertical" data-layout="vertical" data-url="" data-title="Fall 2019" data-via="CDW_Healthcare" data-button-background="none"> <span> <span>Aug</span> <span>19</span> <span>2019</span> </span> <a class="pw-button-twitter cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a class="pw-button-facebook cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a class="pw-button-linkedin cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a class="pw-button-reddit cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a class="pw-button-flipboard cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a class="pw-button-email cdw-taboola-social"></a> <!-- Pinterest button is in EdTechk12 theme's vertical template --> </div> <div class="pw-widget pw-size-medium pw-layout-horizontal" data-counter="true" data-url="" data-title="Fall 2019" data-via="CDW_Healthcare" data-button-background="none"> <div> <a class="pw-button-twitter cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a href=";" target="_blank"><span class="pw-box-counter cdw-taboola" data-channel="twitter"></span></a> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-facebook cdw-taboola-social"></a> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-linkedin cdw-taboola-social"></a> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-reddit cdw-taboola-social"></a> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-flipboard cdw-taboola-social"></a> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-email cdw-taboola-social"></a> </div> <!-- Pinterest button is in EdTechk12 theme's horizontal template --> </div> <div class="pw-widget pw-size-medium pw-layout-horizontal" data-url="" data-title="Fall 2019" data-via="CDW_Healthcare" data-button-background="none"> <div> <a class="pw-button-twitter"></a> <span class="pw-box-counter" pw:channel="twitter"></span> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-facebook"></a> <span class="pw-box-counter" pw:channel="facebook"></span> </div> </div> Mon, 19 Aug 2019 13:57:03 +0000 andrew.steger_ofuW 42806 at Will Edge Computing Transform Healthcare? <span>Will Edge Computing Transform Healthcare?</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/rickyribeiro-3" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">andrew.steger_ofuW</span></span> <span>Mon, 08/19/2019 - 09:00</span> <div><p>The global market for <a href="">Internet of Things</a> medical devices is expected to exceed <strong>$500 billion</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">by 2025</a>, which will likely cause a major paradigm shift in healthcare IT. That’s because most computing now happens in <a href="">on-premises data centers</a> or, increasingly, in the cloud.</p> <p>But analyzing data from a distance poses a number of risks — including bandwidth congestion, network reliability and latency — that could negatively affect health outcomes when seconds count. To address these concerns, <strong>forward-thinking healthcare organizations are moving to adopt edge computing</strong>, in which data is analyzed and acted upon at the point of collection, or on a nearby system situated between the connected device and the cloud (a concept known as “fog computing”).</p> <p><em>HealthTech</em> asked three experts to discuss the transformative power of edge computing. Our roundtable consisted of Dr. Shafiq Rab, senior vice president and CIO at <a href="" target="_blank">Rush University Medical Center</a>, one of three U.S. health systems to achieve the highest level of analytics maturity as determined by <a href="" target="_blank">HIMSS</a>; Dr. David C. Klonoff, medical director of the Diabetes Research Institute at <a href="" target="_blank">Mills-Peninsula Medical Center</a> and author of a report on how edge and fog computing affect diabetes patients; and Weisong Shi, a professor of computer science at <a href="" target="_blank">Wayne State University</a> and a researcher in the field of edge computing and connected health.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM HEALTHTECH: </strong>IoT pushes healthcare organizations to boost their network capacity.</em></a></p> <h2><span style="color: #c74037;">HEALTHTECH:</span> What's driving the adoption of edge computing?</h2> <p><strong>RAB</strong>: The key benefit of edge computing is the ability of devices to compute, process and analyze data with the same level of quality as data analyzed in the cloud, but without latency. This will decrease cost, increase efficiency and improve the patient experience, bringing us one step closer to autonomous care instead of merely automated.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/dan-tynan" hreflang="en">Dan Tynan</a></div> </div> Mon, 19 Aug 2019 13:00:00 +0000 andrew.steger_ofuW 42796 at The Role of Telehealth in Disaster Recovery <span>The Role of Telehealth in Disaster Recovery</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/rickyribeiro-3" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">andrew.steger_ofuW</span></span> <span>Fri, 08/16/2019 - 10:01</span> <div><p>When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in 2017, some hospitals were effectively turned into islands, cut off from the rest of the city by floodwaters that covered low-lying roadways. As a result, <strong>many physicians were unable to drive to the hospitals where they worked</strong>, leaving patients to rely on whoever happened to be on duty when the waters rose.</p> <p>Luckily, <a href="" target="_blank">Access Physicians</a>, a group that provides acute telemedicine care to hospitals around the country, was already working with a number of facilities in the area — including some smaller healthcare centers that had no physicians at all onsite at the time of the storm. During regular operations, Access Physicians typically provides specialty care. But in the wake of Harvey, the organization’s remote doctors assumed responsibility for the day-to-day duties of the hospitals’ regular physicians.</p> <p>“<strong>We were able to get into hospitals that the flesh-and-blood physicians weren’t able to get to</strong>,” says cardiologist Chris Gallagher, co-founder and CEO of Access Physicians. “When the attending physician can’t make it to the hospital, you become the de facto physician because you are the only one who can get to the bedside. That was definitely a change in scope for us.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/calvin-hennick" hreflang="en">Calvin Hennick</a></div> </div> Fri, 16 Aug 2019 14:01:35 +0000 andrew.steger_ofuW 42801 at Software-Defined Solutions Deliver Powerful Management Capabilities <span>Software-Defined Solutions Deliver Powerful Management Capabilities</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/rickyribeiro-3" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">andrew.steger_ofuW</span></span> <span>Wed, 08/14/2019 - 16:22</span> <div><p>The IT infrastructure for <a href="" target="_blank">Proliance Surgeons</a> was already on its last legs three years ago when the specialty surgery group hit a sudden growth spurt — <strong>a 15 percent boost </strong>in new patients and procedures that left IT staffers at the Seattle-based, physician-owned practice struggling to keep pace.</p> <p>“The <a href="">network</a>, the <a href="">data center</a>, our storage, they were all straining, trying to absorb and accommodate that level of growth,” says Proliance CIO Curt Kwak, whose small team of 36 IT specialists supports more than 2,400 employees across 100 clinics and ambulatory surgery centers in western Washington state.</p> <p>Those concerns prompted Kwak and his team to launch a proactive effort that began with upgrading all existing <a href="" target="_blank">Cisco Systems</a> equipment in the data center.</p> <p>The network, however, was a different story: Instead of replacing Cisco networking gear with the next iteration, <strong>Proliance’s IT team opted to upgrade to software-defined networking</strong> enabled by the <a href="" target="_blank">Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure</a> (ACI). The solution improved management and efficiency of the company’s networks.</p> <p><a href="">Software-defined solutions such as SDN</a> use virtualization to separate systems management from the underlying hardware. It provides IT administrators with centralized control of networks and other data center components, enabling them to provision, prioritize and program their IT infrastructure. Healthcare organizations are adopting this technology in growing numbers to improve the automation, efficiency and reliability of their networks.</p> <p>“The biggest single difference that we get with SDN is the level of control we have in our network management,” Kwak says. “<strong>We’re able to actually monitor and redirect the traffic in a very efficient way</strong> that we never could with a traditional network.”</p> <p>Still, Proliance approached the move cautiously. The company took six months to complete a preimplementation study and reached out to Cisco and <a href="" target="_blank">CDW Professional Services</a> for guidance.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/heather-b-hayes" hreflang="en">Heather B. Hayes</a></div> </div> Wed, 14 Aug 2019 20:22:09 +0000 andrew.steger_ofuW 42791 at Healthcare Organizations Face Hurdles as They Move to Windows 10 <span>Healthcare Organizations Face Hurdles as They Move to Windows 10</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/rickyribeiro-3" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">andrew.steger_ofuW</span></span> <span>Mon, 08/12/2019 - 17:35</span> <div><p>The IT team at <a href="" target="_blank">Kelsey-Seybold Clinic</a> has a straightforward mandate: Don’t get in the way of the brief time physicians have with patients. So when the time came to migrate the Houston-based healthcare system’s computers from <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft</a> Windows 7 to <a href="" target="_blank">Windows 10</a>, the IT staff made it as seamless for users as flipping a switch.</p> <p>“But that didn’t occur without planning,” says Martin Littmann, CTO and CISO at Kelsey-Seybold.</p> <p>The organization has spent two years preparing for Jan. 14, 2020 — <strong>the day Microsoft will end support and security updates for Windows 7</strong>. It has required infrastructure upgrades, training and painstaking work to ensure that applications will be compatible with the new operating system <a href="">when the migration occurs</a>. But failure to make the transition can leave organizations vulnerable to security threats, application performance issues and costly fixes.</p> <p>“Microsoft allowed us to live in Windows 7 for a long time,” says Mo Garza, manager of desktop systems at Kelsey-Seybold. But, he adds, “it’s come down to <a href="">staying current and securing your environment</a>. Falling too far behind could be catastrophic to an organization.”</p> <p>The migration is particularly complex for healthcare organizations, because <strong>they must ensure that their electronic medical records systems will function properly with Windows 10</strong> and that any changes they make will comply with stringent privacy regulations, explains Laura DiDio, principal of research and consulting firm <a href="" target="_blank">ITIC</a>.</p> <p>“Often, their existing environments may be held together with Krazy Glue. However clumsy, it works, and they know where all the pitfalls are and how to fix it if something goes wrong,” says DiDio. “Windows 10 is unknown territory.”</p> <p>Due to the complexities, DiDio advises healthcare organizations to hire a third party to help with the migration. “That’s money well spent if your staff isn’t up for it,” she says. “I wouldn’t fool around with this in healthcare.”</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM HEALTHTECH: </strong>How Windows 10 can improve healthcare collaboration and communication.</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Kesley-Seybold Makes Room for Migration</h2> <p>Kelsey-Seybold began its Windows 10 migration project in 2017 with a head start. The organization upgraded to a virtualized data center in 2010, then spent years converting to virtual desktops. <strong>Of its 6,600 desktops, 4,697 are now accessed via thin clients</strong>, and Kelsey-Seybold migrated them from Windows 7 to 10 after they were virtualized.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/melissa-delaney" hreflang="en">Melissa Delaney</a></div> </div> Mon, 12 Aug 2019 21:35:34 +0000 andrew.steger_ofuW 42786 at How UC Solutions Deliver Better Care to Patients <span>How UC Solutions Deliver Better Care to Patients</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/rickyribeiro-3" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">andrew.steger_ofuW</span></span> <span>Mon, 08/12/2019 - 14:08</span> <div><p>Unified communications holds a double meaning for <a href="" target="_blank">Fast Pace Urgent Care</a>.</p> <p>The technology supports <a href="">integrated c­ommunications and collaboration</a> within a facility, of course. But it also helps the 95 Fast Pace clinics spread across four states to improve patient care and employee productivity.</p> <p>In 2017, the healthcare provider, based in Waynesboro, Tenn., implemented solutions from <a href="" target="_blank">Cisco Systems</a>, including an IP-based phone system, videoconferencing, instant messaging and call center technology to streamline workflows and ease daily chaos.</p> <p>When front-desk teams at Fast Pace clinics face an unexpected rush of sick clients, <strong>they can now forward outside queries to staffers in a central call center</strong>.</p> <p>“It’s hard to answer the phone when they have to take care of the mom and sick kid in front of them,” says Wesley Shepherd, vice president of IT at Fast Pace Urgent Care.</p> <p>Using the new tools, clinical and administrative staff might reach each other on their desk or mobile phones through a single phone number. Or, they could check each other’s online presence and begin a chat via instant message or video call.</p> <p>“<strong>It’s inherently difficult to reach physicians and nurses the first time</strong> because they are constantly on the move,” says Lynne Dunbrack, research vice president for IDC Health Insights.</p> <p>Efficiency derived from collaboration tools can also boost an organization’s bottom line, healthcare technology leaders and analysts say.</p> <p>That’s because consolidating to a single enterprise collaboration system can simplify IT management and reduce costs. Furthermore, patient satisfaction is closely monitored as part of health reform and impacts reimbursements, Dunbrack says.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>DISCOVER: </strong>How providers are leveraging technology to enhance the patient experience.</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Fast Pace Turns to Cisco for Collaboration</h2> <p>Fast Pace Urgent Care operates clinics in small, rural towns in Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi. Before Shepherd’s arrival in January 2017, the company had 35 locations, nearly one-third of its current number.</p> <p>At the time, <strong>three different phone systems were in use</strong>, which is why Shepherd standardized on <a href=";searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">Cisco Unified Communications Manager and Unified Contact Center software</a> running on <a href="" target="_blank">Cisco HyperFlex hyperconverged infrastructure</a> across two redundant data centers. He also purchased Cisco IP phones for each clinic.</p> <p>Now, <strong>employees can transfer calls with four-digit dialing</strong>.</p> <p>“When a patient calls the wrong clinic, instead of telling the patient, ‘You have to hang up and dial these other 10 digits,’ you can say, ‘Let me put you on hold and forward you to the right clinic,’” Shepherd says.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/wylie-wong" hreflang="en">Wylie Wong</a></div> </div> Mon, 12 Aug 2019 18:08:03 +0000 andrew.steger_ofuW 42781 at Should Hospitals Continue to Maintain Their Own Data Centers? <span>Should Hospitals Continue to Maintain Their Own Data Centers?</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/rickyribeiro-3" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">andrew.steger_ofuW</span></span> <span>Fri, 08/09/2019 - 15:49</span> <div><p>The healthcare cloud computing market is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of <strong>22 percent through 2022</strong>, <a href="" target="_blank">according to Technavio</a>. As the market continuously expands, healthcare organizations consider how to best maintain their data centers: on-premises or in the cloud.</p> <p>“<strong>Every organization that I work with is questioning the right size of their data center</strong> for their health system or hospital,” says Rob Faix, a vice president at Impact Advisors, a healthcare IT consulting firm. “There’s <a href="">increasing interest</a> in cloud or hybrid-based solutions, as opposed to ‘I’ve got to own everything in my physical data center.’”</p> <p>Physical data centers still have their advantages, Faix notes. They give organizations control over every aspect of that data center — from security measures and the type of technologies used to which employees can physically access the data. </p> <p>With on-premises and cloud solutions both offering key benefits, <strong>healthcare organizations must evaluate which solution makes the most sense for them</strong>.</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="220" src="/sites/" width="700" /></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Physical Data Centers vs. Cloud Solutions</h2> <p>Physical data centers, whether located on campus or attached to local networks, typically have higher performance speeds. This is helpful for things like <a href="">picture archiving and communication systems</a>, which are used to store and share medical imaging. </p> <p>Physical data centers are also necessary for hospitals that still run legacy applications designed to be used only locally. </p> <p>Beyond on-premises data centers, <strong>cloud systems</strong> — even with their <a href="" target="_blank">authorized use for protected health information</a> — <strong>still make some hospitals uncomfortable</strong>, says Mark Ustin, a healthcare regulatory attorney and partner at Farrell Fritz. </p> <p>“There’s still an internal panic about cloud computing solutions, what you’re allowed to do and what you’re not allowed to do,” Ustin says. </p> <p>But <strong>cloud solutions offer too many benefits to be ignored</strong>, such as flexibility and rapid scalability to better meet immediate business demands.</p> <p>“A cloud-based solution allows them to effectively, with a phone call and a stroke of the pen, increase their computing power in order to meet new demands,” says Faix. And rather than trying to guess future data needs when building a physical center (and possibly overbuilding the space, leaving resources unused), organizations can buy what they need now and scale up later when needed. </p> <p>That has prompted many healthcare systems to evaluate what they could do with the large amount of physical space available after a data migration is complete. </p> <p>“There’s an opportunity to convert physical data center space that’s inside of a hospital <strong>into revenue-generating space</strong>, rather than space that costs the organization money,” Faix says.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM HEALTHTECH: </strong>For IT upgrades, healthcare organizations must think big picture.</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_1">Cloud Strategy Must Not Be Overlooked</h2> <p>Despite the benefits, <strong>organizations shouldn’t just leap into the cloud</strong>. </p> <p>“Outside of what is allowed, there is the question of what our patients are comfortable with, and what our practitioners are comfortable with,” Ustin says. “As with any new technology, we’re still in the period where people are getting used to it.” </p> <p><strong>Moving to the cloud won’t solve all of an organization’s data problems</strong>, and it certainly won’t protect them from all cybersecurity threats. </p> <p>To protect themselves, healthcare organizations need to look beyond vendors <a href="">that are simply “HIPAA certified.”</a> Organizations need to be asking providers whether they’re compliant with other federal privacy laws and local regulations, and carefully examine what’s covered by the service-level agreement.</p> <p>“Having this agreement doesn’t absolve you from your obligations in terms of doing your own risk assessment of that solution and where the vulnerabilities are,” Ustin says. </p> <p>Nor does it stop employees from getting phished — or employees of vendors hooked into healthcare systems from getting phished. To prevent such attacks, <strong>organizations should develop a robust cloud strategy</strong> and remain alert to evolving threats.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>CLOUD MIGRATION:</strong> Determine your workload strategy upfront.</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_2">Benefits of Hybrid Cloud Storage</h2> <p>With benefits offered by both on-premises and cloud management, the future will most likely be hybrid, Faix says. “Hospitals and health systems for the foreseeable future will always require some data presence, if for no other reason than hosting the <a href="">infrastructure systems for the network</a> to connect to the cloud vendor themselves.” </p> <p>Hospitals that have already implemented hybrid solutions are seeing the cost savings. </p> <p>“Ultimately, it only cost us tens of thousands of dollars per year to run those applications in Azure, versus having to make that huge capital investment,” Chris Carmody, senior vice president of infrastructure at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, <a href="">told <em>HealthTech</em></a>. </p> <p>And it would have cost $1.2 million to introduce the necessary hardware and software to the data center. “Our hybrid cloud approach allowed us to move workloads into the public cloud and back again,” Carmody says. </p> <p>Flexibility is also a <a href="">major benefit of hybrid solutions</a>. </p> <p>“You could move data from this platform to a low-cost cloud storage service for data archiving and long-term backup, then move it back on-premises if you need to,” Jim Livingston, CTO of University of Utah Health, told <em>HealthTech</em>. “You just set the policy and it automates the process.”</p> <p>By taking a deeper look at evolving cloud architectures, healthcare organizations can find an infrastructure that fits their needs while offering scalability, flexibility and cost savings.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/jen-miller" hreflang="en">Jen A. Miller</a></div> </div> Fri, 09 Aug 2019 19:49:21 +0000 andrew.steger_ofuW 42776 at Q&A: AARP’s DR. Charlotte Yeh on Seniors and Technology <span>Q&amp;A: AARP’s DR. Charlotte Yeh on Seniors and Technology</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/rickyribeiro-3" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">andrew.steger_ofuW</span></span> <span>Wed, 08/07/2019 - 09:27</span> <div><p>Seniors are more tech-savvy than you might realize.</p> <p>As the chief medical officer of AARP, <strong>Dr. Charlotte Yeh sees a strong <a href="">connection between technology and health</a> as people get older</strong>. It can help them stay active and ­connected with others, both of which help them remain healthier.</p> <p>“I think we haven’t paid enough attention to keeping people connected and mobile outside of the home so that they can stay active in the community,” Yeh says. “<strong>To me, that is the next-generation opportunity for technology</strong>.”</p> <p>Yeh spoke to HealthTech magazine’s Matt McLaughlin about how seniors view technology, which solutions are most important to their health, and how they feel about privacy and security.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM HEALTHTECH: </strong>Voice activation and virtual assistants modernize health and senior care.</em></a></p> <h2><span style="color: #c74037;">HEALTHTECH:</span> AARP’s 2019 Tech and the 50+ Survey found that more than 58 million seniors are interested in technologies that “make their lives easier or more enriched.” Which do you consider most critical to that goal, and what impact have they had already?</h2> <p>Three things really struck me. The first is that, contrary to popular opinion, people 50 or older are embracing technology. The fact is, <strong>over 91 percent have used computers</strong>. If you look overall at the 55-plus group, <strong>75 percent of them have smartphones</strong>. This is a group that embraces technology.</p> <p>The second thing is how they’re using the technology. <strong>Ninety percent of them use it for communication</strong>, such as texts and email. But, like every other generation, they also surf the web, they make purchases, they read the news. They use it to get directions. They use it for social media and banking. In fact, <strong>71 percent of them are on social media</strong>.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/matt-mclaughlin" hreflang="en">Matt McLaughlin</a></div> </div> Wed, 07 Aug 2019 13:27:45 +0000 andrew.steger_ofuW 42771 at Why Medicare’s Expanded Telehealth Reimbursement Matters <span>Why Medicare’s Expanded Telehealth Reimbursement Matters</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/rickyribeiro-3" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">andrew.steger_ofuW</span></span> <span>Tue, 08/06/2019 - 09:21</span> <div><p>More patients are about to <strong>benefit from the care and convenience of telemedicine</strong>.</p> <p>In April, the <a href="" target="_blank">Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services</a> finalized policies allowing Medicare Advantage plans <a href="" target="_blank">to offer additional telehealth benefits</a> by 2020. CMS Administrator Seema Verma called the move “a historic step in bringing innovative technology to Medicare beneficiaries” in a press release. </p> <p>Because <strong>34 percent</strong> of Medicare recipients are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans — with numbers <a href="" target="_blank">projected to increase by <strong>11.5 percent</strong></a> this year — I’m encouraged by the news. </p> <p>Not only does telehealth offer a bridge to treatment, especially for older patients with physical disabilities or who lack transportation, it can also help an organization’s bottom line. <a href="" target="_blank">A 2019 telemedicine study</a> published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine found net <strong>cost savings range between $19 and $121 per visit</strong>. </p> <p>“Telemedicine offers opportunities for significant savings,” Dr. Ana Maria Lopez, president of the American College of Physicians, <a href="" target="_blank">told Medical Economics earlier this year</a>. “There is a strong case to be made for its use to expand patient access to care and to reduce medical costs.” </p> <p>Which is why the promise of reimbursement for a wider range of telehealth services could <strong>encourage more organizations to bolster their infrastructure</strong> as more Medicare Advantage patients choose virtual visits as part of their overall care.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM HEALTHTECH: </strong>How telehealth programs can evolve to meet patient demands.</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Wider Telemedicine Access Marks Progress</h2> <p>It isn’t the first shift in practice. Original Medicare (also known as Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B) began paying for <a href="" target="_blank">virtual check-ins by phone or video</a> earlier this year — a welcome upgrade from past policy that limited the option to seniors in rural areas. </p> <p>But those five- to 10-minute exchanges <strong>come with many restrictions</strong>. Original Medicare enrollees can’t use telehealth to help manage chronic conditions or receive urgent care, for example.</p> <p>On the other hand, Medicare Advantage patients have already been able to access some telehealth services as part of their supplemental benefits. The new CMS rule will make it likelier that Medicare Advantage <strong>plans will offer additional telehealth benefits</strong> for even greater access.</p> <p>Although specific applications haven’t been detailed, <strong>the potential is great</strong>. </p> <p>Telemedicine has been crucial in providing healthcare services <a href="">during natural disasters</a> and connecting rural patients with <a href="">a wider range of specialty care</a>. It’s also a critical means of <a href="">addressing mental health care</a> in communities lacking psychiatrists. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>DISCOVER:</strong> Five ways telehealth is taking modern healthcare to the next level.</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_1">Advance Telehealth to Serve More Patients</h2> <p>Although the CMS changes to Medicare Advantage reimbursement come at a moment when <strong>more health plans and medical specialties are embracing telemedicine</strong>, notable challenges remain.</p> <p>A 2018 research letter published in JAMA notes that <a href="" target="_blank">telehealth adoption is far from universal</a>. But the letter, which cites data from privately insured and Medicaid Advantage enrollees, nonetheless reported double-digit annual growth between 2005 and 2017. </p> <p>One finding noted in the letter underscores the necessity of expansion: A large majority (<strong>83 percent</strong>) of telehealth users were urban residents, a clear signal to legislators and insurers that patients needn’t live in a remote area to benefit from a wide array of virtual care services. </p> <p>With the <strong>$38.3 billion</strong> global telemedicine market projected to <a href="" target="_blank">more than triple by 2025</a>, there’s plenty of momentum to support a continued expansion of telemedicine coverage for seniors. </p> <p>The time to start making those connections is now.</p> <p><em>This article is part of </em>HealthTech<em>’s <a href="">MonITor blog series</a>. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using <a href="">#WellnessIT</a>.</em></p> <p><em><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="MonITor_logo_sized.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="" /></a></em></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/jonathan-karl" hreflang="en">Jonathan Karl</a></div> </div> Tue, 06 Aug 2019 13:21:47 +0000 andrew.steger_ofuW 42766 at