76% of health systems to adopt consumer telemedicine by 2018: Teladoc survey

We normally don’t feature corporate or sponsored surveys, but are making an exception here as it demonstrates two trends: that hospital systems can’t fight consumer telehealth** anymore, and that the future mix of usage is starting to change. Teladoc’s/Becker’s Healthcare Hospital & Health Systems 2016 Consumer Telehealth Benchmark Survey projects that by 2018, 76 percent of health systems will adopt consumer telehealth (vs. site-to-site), double from 2016, and that most who have it will be expanding offerings. As a benchmark survey, it tracks services offered or plan to offer, organizational priorities, and goals.

An interesting part is how the mix of services under telehealth is evolving. Presently, the top three among current users are urgent care, primary care, and psychiatry/mental health. For new users, their priorities are ED/urgent care (45 percent), readmission prevention (42 percent), primary care, including internal medicine and pediatrics (42 percent), chronic condition management (41 percent). Nearly one in five (18 percent) plan to include cardiology services.

As implemented by health systems, telehealth has run into problems that were totally predictable and will provoke the ‘Duh?’ response from our Readers. From the report:

  1. They didn’t measure patient or physician satisfaction with their telehealth programs, even though improving patient satisfaction is a leading motivator for offering telehealth services.
  2. Gaining physician buy-in was cited by 78 percent of respondents, and rated as the #1 lesson learned
  3. The second most important? The importance of aligning telehealth initiatives with organizational goals (75 percent). (more…)

Smart flooring that can simplify alerting

The ELSI Smart Floor underfloor sensing laminate is a thin laminated copper based sensor that offers some potentially very valuable benefits. According to the website, the capacitative sensing technology can be used to trigger alerts created by patient movements. Examples given are:

  • Falling/slumping on the floor
  • Getting out of bed
  • Triggering lighting when getting out of bed
  • Going to the toilet
  • Leaving the room at night time
  • Staying anywhere where someone shouldn’t stay for any length of time such as the toilet, or on a balcony in wintertime

There’s no indication of price or the difficulty of installation; one presumes it would be best suited for hospitals and residential care establishments as a permanent installation.  There’s also no indication of sensitivity and the danger of false alerts – it’s clearly got to be pretty sensitive to pickup changes in the capacitance of a floor so false alerts is a topic I’d want to explore before making an investment.

That said, it looks to be a very exciting development, that does not require users to wear devices, cannot be fiddled with or switched off by users and, sadly equally important, cannot easily be tampered with by cleaning staff or require regular replacement (as opposed for example to bed sensors).

There would also seem to be the benefit that the output could be used for ADL (activities of daily living) monitoring too (though there is no mention of equipment that this Finnish company provides that could do that).

Clearly this will potentially have other applications in addition to monitoring frail people – the website, under ‘ongoing developments’ also mentions:

  • gaming solutions
  • elevator systems
  • pedestrian counting systems
  • energy optimisation systems
  • prisons
  • intruder and flood detection systems.

This seems a most exciting addition to the array of sensors available, particularly because it requires nothing to be worn and cannot easily be disabled or wear out.

Soapbox: Further thoughts on CarelineUK, O2 & WSD

The many, excellent, comments on O2’s withdrawal of their current telecare & telehealth offerings in the UK market, most notably from my fellow editor Alasdair Morrison, have prompted further thoughts on the post about CarelineUK’s 25th anniversary earlier today: what will CarelineUK,  and other organisations like it, look like in 25 years’ time?

Perhaps the most significant change that appears to be coming in the area of telemonitoring is  (more…)

Hospitals can benefit from telemonitoring (US)

As someone who has spent a huge amount of time attempting to persuade acute trusts in the UK that telehealth is in their interests (with, I’m glad to say, a modicum of success more recently) it is good to see this paper entitled The Financial Impact of a Pediatric Telemedicine Program: A Children’s Hospital’s Perspective in the July 2013 edition of the Journal of Telemedicine & e-Health (freely accessible).  The key finding is (more…)