Mississippi to get VA telemed pilot amid controversy

Mississippi has led the way in telemedicine projects in southern USA for some time with the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s various successful projects [grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Dept-of-VA-logo.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]attracting well deserved funding. Now the US Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs has announced that a new pilot programme to use telemedicine to reduce wait times for new patients at VA hospitals will take place in Mississippi.

This pilot programme comes in the wake of the highly criticised wait times reported for new patients at VA hospitals in 2014. A CNN report based on internal VA documents claimed that thousands of veterans had to wait more than three months to see a specialist.

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White paper identifies potential and challenges of telehealth

Telehealth is a rapidly growing field that has the potential to help states leverage a shrinking and maldistributed provider workforce, increase access to services, improve population health and lower costs says a report published a few days ago. Called “Telehealth Policy Trends and Considerations”, the white paper from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) focuses on three areas: reimbursement of telehealth encounters, licensure for telehealth providers and patient privacy, safety and security.

This white paper is the result of a year’s work by a group brought together by the NCSL consisting of state legislators, legislative staff and private industry. The white paper provides options for state policymakers in these areas.

The paper also covers recent research into cost-effectiveness of telehealth, the impact of telecommunications connectivity and some specific examples of telehealth/telemedicine usage. Examples of effective use of telehealth includes the use of telehealth/telemedicine by the Veterans Health Administration. Another example cited is the telemedicine usage by the Unversity of Mississippi Center for Telehealth about which we have reported previously

The full 28-page report, is available to download here.

Big home health win for telehealth confirms trend: must expand services, analytics

One of the most logical places for telehealth, remote care management (RCM) and transitional/chronic condition management (TCM/CCM) is with home health providers and post-acute care, yet perennially it has been on the ‘maybe next year’ list for most telehealth providers. That ‘next year’ may be getting a little closer with the news that Intel-GE Care Innovations has inked a multi-year deal (no pilot-itis here) with major (~400 facilities) home health provider Amedisys using their PC/tablet-based Health Harmony platform.

The initial focus is an ambitious one: reducing hospitalizations and ER/ED visits among patients with congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, depression as well as patients who have two or more of these conditions (co-morbidities). The most interesting to this Editor is the parenthetical mention of analyzing ADLs (activities of daily living) with clinical data. Does this imply the engagement of their venerable ADL monitor QuietCare? (It’s something the founding company worked on circa 2006 while this Editor was there; one would think the analytics have advanced since then.) Another aspect is that Care Innovations will manage Amedisys’ complete RCM program from recruiting to logistics, data analytics and application integration services. Business Wire

What this means: Telehealth (and telecare) companies are now increasingly obliged in these big wins to provide a plethora of additional related services. Health care providers demand services beyond the monitoring technology. They want the turnkey package, from nurse evaluations, care coordination/management, to analytics and logistics.This ‘service creep’ implies alliances and mergers to add on to technological monitoring capabilities–and beaucoup financing. (more…)

Care Innovations, UMMC Telehealth Center to expand care outside the home

Intel-GE Care Innovations, which markets both telehealth and telecare (QuietCare, one of the pioneers in behavioral telemonitoring) products, announced today a broadened relationship with the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Center for Telehealth. CI will help them to establish the Innovation Living Lab which will create and evaluate new models of care via remote technology and techniques for behavioral change. The Lab will open at UMiss’ Venyu Technology Center sometime in 2016. UMMC and CI’s goal is to extend care models so that the home is a key location for care delivery. In the past year, both had partnered on the Diabetes Telehealth Network. CI since their change of management has made several interesting moves in the past year, including grouping telehealth systems under Health Harmony and creating a Validation Institute. Business Wire.

University of Mississippi telehealth center to expand (US)

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/ummc_aerial.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]A Baton Rouge, La.-based data company set its sights on Jackson, Mississippi, and announced on Tuesday (10 March 2015) it will build a technology center that, in part, will house one of the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s fastest growing services – telehealth, according to a news release from UMMC. UMMC entered into a lease agreement with Venyu Solutions, LLC, which will construct a stand-alone, 16,000-square-foot facility to accommodate the increase in the services UMMC’s Center for Telehealth provides to hospitals, clinics, corporations and patients across the state.

Venyu CEO Scott Thompson is quoted to have said construction would start in April or May and take a little less than a year. The hospital’s lease will begin on or around July 1, 2016. (more…)

University of Mississippi awarded telemedicine Emergency and Specialty Care grant

More details have emerged of one of the projects funded by the $16 million USDA investment announced in February (see TTA 7 February 2014).

The United States Department of Agriculture grant of $378,360 to the University of Mississippi Medical Center will be enhanced by $200,000 from Appalachian Regional Commission [grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/TESCAN_map.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /] providing $578,360 for a three-year distance-learning and telemedicine service project  “Telemedicine Emergency and Specialty Care for Appalachia in North Mississippi (TESCAN)”, according to UMMC. UMMC is also the primary site for the Diabetes Telehealth Network we reported in January.

The sites, considered “medically underserved areas” and “health-professional-shortage areas” by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, include:

• Calhoun County Medical Clinic, Calhoun City;
• Trace Regional Hospital, Houston;
• Kemper County Medical Center, De Kalb;
• Tishomingo Health Services, Inc., Iuka;
• Webster General Hospital, Eupora;
• Yalobusha General Hospital, Water Valley;
• North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc, Pontotoc;
• Kilmichael Hospital, Kilmichael; and
• Holmes County Hospital, Lexington.

Representatives from the USDA and UMMC announced the grant agreement at a joint press conference at the UBS Building in Jackson.

The grant will expand the number of (more…)