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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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, 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.
In a merger of telehealth, mobile and cloud, Massachusetts-based swyMe is offering video conferencing in ambulances. The basic system includes three cameras in the vehicle: a standard “fish eye” 360º camera mounted high on the ambulance wall; a webcam attached to a touch screen monitor; and a handheld HDTV 720p IP camera.
The combination of the three affords a remote physician a view of the overall situation in the ambulance, the ability to communicate face-to-face with attending EMS workers and capability to zero in to close-up views of the patient. The system is HIPAA compliant and uses AES256 security.
swyMe COO Jeff Urdan explained that Read more
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