Healthcare News June 1, 2013

  • Hospital IT Leaders Agree on Network Priorities and Future Wireless Challenges

    CHICAGO (May 6, 2012) – Today HIMSS Analytics, with the support of Comcast Business, releases the results of a study of hospital IT leaders on information network challenges and barriers, as well as strategies being implemented to address current and future network demands. The study, based on the results of a focus group, was conducted at HIMSS13 in March. The findings show that these leaders aligned in IT infrastructure priorities but diverged in their approaches to addressing the current issues relating to network scalability, executive support as well as the viability and security of cloud computing.

    Focus group participants identified four interrelated IT infrastructure priorities:

    • Use of mobile devices
    • Security
    • Data storage
    • Images and information exchange

    “We found that IT network priorities for all participating hospital systems were consistently focused around accommodating greater mobile and wireless connectivity to their networks,” said Jennifer Horowitz, senior director of research for HIMSS Analytics. “Simultaneously, the IT leaders were also concerned with ensuring the security of patient data, particularly as they relate to the challenges associated with Bring Your Own Device environments.”

    Participants were asked to share their thoughts and concerns regarding their current network environment. The following are the key findings:

    • Current hospital IT network environments are both wired and wireless. Participants reported that they used a number of different items to establish their networks, from Wi-Fi to DSL lines, but that the number of wireless versus wired devices was growing exponentially.
    • Reliable IT networks are critical. Participants said that it was imperative to design a network with “zero downtime” because a great deal of data is housed electronically and “physicians are data hungry.” Disaster preparation is critical as well, with each participant reporting various strategies for data protection including tape back-ups and multiple data centers.
    • IT networks are good for now, but healthcare organizations will need to be prepared for the increasingly wireless world. Overall, participants reported that they were content with current network environments but expressed concern on how their networks will adapt to accommodate the increased use of wireless technologies and devices.

    “As the healthcare industry becomes increasingly focused on utilizing technology to improve patient care, health IT leaders are examining their network infrastructures to ensure they have a strong, reliable and scalable foundation,” said Karen Schmidt, vice president of enterprise marketing for Comcast. “A key challenge will be keeping pace with the growing number of mobile devices entering the market while maintaining secure access and providing the performance to deliver vast amounts of healthcare data.”

    Despite overall satisfaction with current IT networks, challenges still loom. The focus group cited wireless “drop zones,” regulating web access to limit personal internet use and the lack of options offered by vendors regarding networking solutions. Each participant had a different approach for addressing these issues.

    When asked about the future of healthcare network environments as network demands continue to grow, the participants identified three areas of concern, all with mixed responses and different experiences:

    • Scalability of solutions. Healthcare organizations relying on older technology, such as DSL lines, were more concerned about their organization’s ability to scale in the future than were those using more cutting edge solutions.
    • Executive support for the necessary investments of an expanding network. Several participants noted they had to educate their executive team about the nature of networks and that additional staffing needs would arise with the expansion of networks.
    • Viability of cloud computing and ensuring the ability to secure data. Participants approached cloud computing with caution and some noted that they would not trust storing personal health information in the cloud.

    “Moving forward, healthcare organizations must ensure that they can provide secure access to patient data and local networks via a wide variety of devices as the world of apps and mobile technologies continues to evolve,” said Horowitz. “In order to successfully execute expanding mobile strategies, ongoing network vendor collaboration will be key.”

    To download the full report, visit here: http://www.himssanalytics.org/research/AssetDetail.aspx?pubid=82090&tid=127.

  • Obama to host mental health conference

    President Obama will host a conference on mental health issues and reducing the stigma of mental illness on Monday at the White House.

    Obama called for a national dialogue on mental illness earlier this year after a string of mass shootings shocked the nation. Monday’s event is part of the administration’s wider campaign against gun violence.

    The summit will include remarks from Obama and Vice President Biden. Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, tapped to lead the administration’s efforts on mental health, will moderate two sessions.

  • House GOP renews effort to gut Obama’s healthcare ‘slush fund’

    Republicans first sought in April to kill the Prevention and Public Health fund in ObamaCare.

  • Vidyo and Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Partner to Enhance Statewide Medical Network with Vidyo Communications

    Vidyo-Powered Solution Will Visually Connect over 200 Sites and 2500 Healthcare Providers Across all Regions of Alaska
    American Telemedicine Association (ATA) Conference – May 6, 2013 –Vidyo, Inc. and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) today announced that they have partnered to add Vidyo’s visual communications and collaboration capabilities to ANTHC’s existing statewide telehealth network — AFHCAN.  By integrating Vidyo’s Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) with AFHCAN’s existing tConsult software-based system, thousands of Alaska health care practitioners will have the ability to conduct real-time, high-definition video consultations and examinations with hundreds of thousands of patients in more than 200 locations.

    “The implementation of Vidyo has given us the ability to change the way we provide health care in rural Alaska,” said Dr. Stewart Ferguson, CIO, ANTHC. “The AFHCAN Telehealth program has more than 1,500 active providers in its network at any one time, with an average of 500 new providers each year. There’s a daily challenge of how best to reach out and connect with more than 200 sites scattered over 37 autonomous organizations at the end of land lines, satellite links, microwave towers, sea cables, you name it. For our complex world, we needed something that just works, period. That’s Vidyo.”

    ANTHC/AFHCAN

    ANTHC encompasses every city and village in the state of Alaska serving the majority of the state’s population through the AFHCAN telehealth program. Alaska is home to 700,000 people who are spread out over 660,000 square miles. This creates a challenging technology landscape that mixes satellite connectivity, high bandwidth, low bandwidth, high latency as well as terrestrial infrastructure, which all make connectivity and communication huge challenges.

    Since being deployed statewide more than a decade ago, tConsult has vastly improved health care delivery in remote regions of Alaska. It has also expanded well beyond its initial concept of improving primary care workflows like specialty clinic referral, post-discharge continuity of care, and billing. Now Vidyo capabilities will be a core part of the system. Vidyo’s rich APIs enabled easy integration with AFHCAN’s tConsult solution to deliver the most cost-effective, scalable high-quality video via standard IP networks.  The Vidyo solution is extremely interoperable so that it performs seamlessly over all devices: PCs, Macs, laptops, tablets, smartphone and also with older, legacy equipment.

    “We are extremely impressed by how well ANTHC tackles the challenge of serving such a geographically dispersed population with high-quality health care,” said Ofer Shapiro, Vidyo’s CEO and co-founder. “For ANTHC doctors to directly assess a remote patient’s condition in an emergency situation, they need a reliable system that offers high visual acuity over unpredictable network conditions. The unequalled level of quality, performance and reliability that Vidyo offers makes this possible. The integration of Vidyo with AFHCAN’s existing software solution creates an extraordinarily powerful tool for assisting physicians and ultimately helps save lives.”

    The integration of Vidyo with the tConsult system will be demonstrated at AFHCAN’s Booth #1242, at the ATA Conference taking place May 4-8, 2013 in Austin, Texas.  Vidyo will be showing a documentary on the ANTHC use case, as well as demonstrating other use cases of its telehealth solution at ATA Booth #616.

    The Vidyo Difference for Healthcare

    Vidyo provides a highly flexible software communication and collaboration platform that can be easily customized for healthcare needs and integrated into other healthcare solutions. The patented VidyoRouter™ architecture eliminates the MCU and offers unprecedented error resiliency, low latency rate matching thus enabling natural, affordable, high-quality video to work over the Internet, LTE and 4G networks.  Vidyo delivers end-to-end encryption, provides HIPAA-compliant security, and easily integrates into existing healthcare environments with support for a variety of medical devices and seamless interoperability with existing conferencing infrastructure. The Vidyo for Healthcare solution includes the industry’s richest and most versatile video collaboration platform with an API to video-enable third party medical applications and for easy integration into the medical workflow.

    About Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

    ANTHC is a not‐for‐profit tribal health organization managed by Alaska Native Tribal governments and their regional health organizations. ANTHC provides statewide services in specialty medical care; construction of water, sanitation and health facilities; community health and research; information technology and professional recruiting. For more information, please visit www.anthc.org.

    About AFHCAN

    AFHCAN is an FDA listed medical device manufacturer providing telehealth products and services that empower organizations to improve health care delivery worldwide. AFHCAN offers a diagnostic store-and-forward platform with the ability to create a telehealth case containing textual information, forms and data from biomedical peripherals, and send the case for consultation. Health care professionals are able to view the data and respond to the case using a standard PC workstation or mobile platforms. AFHCAN provides an array of telehealth program services to its ATHS (Alaska Tribal Health System) partners, Indian Health Services and commercial customers.

    About Vidyo, Inc.
    Vidyo, Inc. pioneered Personal Telepresence enabling natural, HD multi-point videoconferences on tablets and smart phones, PCs and Macs, room systems, that interoperate with legacy H.323 and SIP endpoints, telepresence solutions and affordable cloud-based video conferencing as a service solution.  The VidyoWorks™ platform allows solution providers to integrate high quality visual communications into their applications, leveraging H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC) and Vidyo’s patented VidyoRouter™ technology. Learn more at www.vidyo.com, on the Blog or follow @vidyo on Twitter.

     

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