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Paramedics prepping patient for transport and EMS telemedicine

Are Paramedics Ready for EMS Telemedicine?

As video communications infrastructures and telemedicine technology constantly improve, the opportunities to expand telemedicine into new fields are multiplying rapidly. One such area, mobile health (mHealth), refers to the application of telemedicine technologies in areas beyond the four walls of a hospital or clinic—in other words, medicine on-the-go. For instance, EMS telemedicine (Emergency Medical Services) integrates telemedicine into ambulances so that paramedics can contact a specialist at the hospital for an initial assessment, diagnosis, and treatment plan—even before arriving at the emergency department (ED). This capability offers the potential to save crucial minutes for patients like stroke victims, for whom the drug of choice—tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)—must be administered within a certain time frame to be effective and life-saving. Indeed, a recent meta-analysis of over 6,600 patients treated with tPA found a strong correlation between EMS telemedicine availability in the ambulance and decreased times from symptom onset to treatment. However, the technology can only be useful if the operator can wield it effectively; how do paramedics value and use mHealth? Read more

EMT first aid bag prior to emergency telemedicine program

Six Tips for Planning Your Emergency Telemedicine Program Smartly

Five years ago, the Houston Fire Department (HFD) developed the Emergency Telehealth and Navigation (ETHAN) program as a way to respond to every call by providing the appropriate level of health care rather than bringing everyone to the emergency department—without using up resources to transport non-emergency patients. Since its inception, the ETHAN project has picked up a few tips that could prove helpful if your organization is designing, or will design, an emergency telemedicine program. Read more

ambulance with telemedicine reimbursement

Ambulances in Line for Telemedicine Reimbursement

Starting early next year, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) will begin a trial program with new financial incentives, including telemedicine reimbursement, to encourage emergency medical services (EMS) to use telemedicine and transport Medicare and Medicaid patients to clinics other than the emergency room. Currently, only visits to hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and dialysis centers are reimbursed, even when a lower-acuity destination may be more appropriate. The goal is two-fold: to promote a value-based payment system and to reduce unnecessary ER visits and hospitalizations. Read more

work injury being treated via telemedicine for workers' compensation

Telemedicine for Workers’ Compensation Is a Win

Buoyed by convenience, along with time and cost savings, employers and workers’ compensation insurers have begun eagerly offering telemedicine as an alternative to visiting an urgent care center. Originally, telemedicine for workers’ compensation was billed as a solution for employees in rural areas, where access to health clinics is limited. However, the program has been so well received that insurers have begun offering telemedicine in urban areas as well. Additionally, healthcare providers are finding that telemedicine is useful for more than just treating the initial injury on-site; the platform works well for follow-up appointments and post-op visits too. Read more

logo TechRadar for best telemedicine companies article

swyMed Named in Best Telemedicine Companies for 2019

TechRadar, an international technology news and reviews site, recently assembled a list of the best telemedicine companies for 2019. Out of over 250 telemedicine companies on the market, swyMed is honored to have been named as #3. Besides being able to deliver the expected benefits of telemedicine—including reduced travel, time and costs, as well as increased convenience and efficiency—the top platforms must also have the following essential features, as outlined by TechRadar: Read more

Life Flight mobile ambulance

ER Telemedicine Leads to Faster Treatments

A recent study from the University of Iowa shows that in rural emergency departments, patients who had ER telemedicine consults generally saw clinicians more quickly and had shorter lengths-of-stay at the emergency room before a hospital transfer than patients who did not have telemedicine consults. That 15-minute difference, said lead researcher Nicholas Mohr, MD, can be important for patients with certain serious diseases such as stroke, myocardial infarction, or severe trauma. Read more

ambulance hurrying down street

Anthem Begins EMS Reimbursements, Even without Transport

When it comes to EMS reimbursements—even without transferring the patient—Anthem BlueCross BlueShield is leading the way. In an era when community paramedicine, mobile healthcare concepts, and telemedicine programs have sometimes struggled to garner financial support, Anthem quietly began paying for on-site treatment by EMS in situations where the consult does not result in a ride to the emergency department. Read more

elderly man in ambulance

Maximizing the Potential for Mobile Telestroke

When it comes to treating stroke, every moment counts. A stroke patient only has a three-hour window from symptom onset in which access to the clot-busting and lifesaving drug tPA can do the most good; after that, the chances of recovery plummet. Unfortunately, many regional and rural hospitals don’t have a 24-hour neurologist on hand to make timely diagnoses. To make things worse, only about 27 percent of stroke patients arrive at the hospital within 3.5 hours of symptom onset, leaving nearly three-quarters of stroke patients at risk for more permanent damage. (1) In an effort to deliver care to patients in a timelier manner, systems are increasingly looking into mobile telestroke programs. Read more

swyMed Goes the Distance for Mobile Stroke Units

We’ve all heard that “Time is Money,” but what about “Time is Brain”? When it comes to treating strokes, we already know that every minute really can make a difference in recovery. In this high-pressure environment, the health care industry eagerly embraces any proven innovation that can save crucial seconds in delivering treatment.

That’s where mobile stroke units come in. Recently named as the leader among the Top 10 Medical Innovations for 2015 by the Cleveland Clinic, mobile stroke ambulances are equipped with telemedicine units so stroke treatment can begin en route to the hospital.

Sounds great, but what’s the catch? Mobile stroke care only works if the technology works. Read more

Max Life emergency response

Emergency Response Day Video from ITS World Congress

Max Life, with whom we provide remote urgent care, remote ER screening, and mobile trauma care, participated in the the ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) World Congress Emergency Response Day back in September. It may be several months later, but the ITS has released this wonderful video on YouTube showcasing the Mock Incident exercise. Max Life can be seen starting at the 1:06 mark, showcasing swyMed’s telemedicine communication platform inside their ambulance beginning at 1:27.  However, watch the entire thing. It’s less than three minutes and provides a great example of how telemedicine can play an important role in emergency response.