Telemedicine/Telehealth News

Telehealth Boosts Self-Efficacy, Health Behaviors for Chronically Ill…

Telehealth chronic disease self-management programs can lead to improvements in self-efficacy, health behaviors, and health status for chronically ill patients, according to research published online ahead of print in the journal Telemedicine and e-Health. For the study, 213 participants participated in the chronic disease self-management program (CDSMP) at a Telemedicine Network studio in Ontario, Canada from September 2007 to June 2008. The program included six weekly sessions, with baseline and four-month follow-up surveys administered to assess self-efficacy beliefs, health behaviors and health status information. Participants were split up between a single and multi-site delivery model. According to the study's authors, delivery of the program via telehealth would address three barriers: •The need for program leaders in every community. •The need for leaders to travel long distances to communities, particularly remote areas without leaders. •The need for a sufficient number of participants to form a face-to-face group in each community. Results showed significant improvements from baseline to follow-up for self-efficacy, exercise behavior, cognitive symptom management, communication with physicians, role function, psychological well-being, energy, health distress and self-rated health. The study noted that there was no difference in results for the single and multi-site groups. "Improvements in self-efficacy, health status, and health behaviors were equally effective in single- and multi-site groups," the authors said. "Access to self-management programs could be greatly increased with telehealth using single and multi-site groups in rural and remote communities." Synchronous telehealth for cardiovascular disease patients was shown to help reduce costs, admission rates and length of stay, according to research published last week in the Journal of the Medical Internet Research. Additionally, research published in the April edition of Telemedicine and e-Health determined that telehealth increased patient adherence to hypertension ... Read more

For Robotic Surgery Training, A Variety of Approaches …

Varied teaching methods for robotic surgery delivered the best results for training surgeons, according to a new study from The Methodist Hospital and the University of Southern California, published in an upcoming issue of the British Journal of ... Read more

Telehealth Boosts Adherence to Hypertension Treatment…

Telehealth was found to have increased patient adherence to hypertension treatment, according to a study published in the April edition of the journal Telemedicine and e-Health. Analyzing a telehealth strategy for Family Health Teams (FHTs) ... Read more

Tele-anesthesia could Improve Productivity…

Communication among anesthesiologists using telecommunications among operating rooms has the potential to increase productivity, a new study published in Anesthesia & Analgesia finds. In the study, data for 13,368 pages were obtained from ... Read more

Mass General Aims to Extend Reach to Patients via …

Officials at Massachusetts General Hospital hope that a telehealth pilot program announced this week can help to improve care provided for heart failure and neurology patients, as well as for children considered hyperactive and those with Autism ... Read more

Telepresence of Surgeons Successful in Trauma Settings…

A new study suggests that telepresence of a remote trauma surgeon could be useful and functional in a trauma setting, with the potential to address staffing shortages in rural and urban trauma care during mass casualty or disaster scenarios. Published in Telemedicine and e-Health's April edition, researchers from the University of Miami's Lehman Injury Research Center, Division of Trauma and Surgical Care, utilized the Remote Presence-7 robot with real-time, two-way communication between local and remote physicians conducted at a local trauma center. More than 100 telepresence patient encounters were performed, with high levels of satisfaction reported among both remote and local physicians--92 percent and 79 percent, respectively. Overall, the telemedicine experience was rated as "excellent" or "above average" by 89 percent of local and remote physicians involved, according to the study. "The integration of telemedicine into the trauma environment extends the reach of the trauma care specialists beyond the limits imposed by time and distance," the study's authors said. "This study hypothesizes that telepresence is a useful and acceptable technology for an experienced trauma physician to successfully participate in the assessment and care of a trauma patient from a remote location." The robot enabled physicians to have remote access wherever Internet access was available, with high-quality audiovisual communications equipment and robotic mobility. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center uses telepresence technology to provide live support for surgeons in other countries who have difficulty replicating complex new procedures. Since 2005, its base surgical team of surgeons and otolaryngologists has trained more than 500 surgeons in 30 ... Read more


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Worcestershire County Council believes it can save more than £4m by using telehealth, according to a business case for investment. The council issued a tender notice for an assistive technology supplier in January this year, with a contract value of between £10m and £30m over five years. The council’s business case says it will identify 1,000 patients in the first year and 1,000 in the next to recruit to the new service. If this delivers benefits, a second stage project will be implemented that will see the number of users increase to 10,000 over five years. According to the business case, the financial impact of implementing stage two could be a total saving of £4.3m. “This is a full-year cost and benefit to health for a fully managed telehealth service for 10,000 patients,” it says. All savings will be “non-cashable” and calculated as: “40% savings on emergency admissions, 30% savings on A&E attendances, 30% savings on ambulance call-outs and 30% savings on outpatient appointments." The council, together with three clinical commissioning groups, is one of the 3millionlives pathfinders that are supposed to each enrol 10,000 telehealth users by the end this year. The 3millionlives project was set up to kick-start the industry with the support of Prime Minister David Cameron, who said that 'headline findings' from the whole system demonstrator project showed telehealth could deliver big benefits. The WSD programme was set up by the Department of Health specifically to make the case for telehealth and telecare technologies. However, a series of research papers have cast doubt on the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of the technologies involved. A recent economic analysis of the trial, published in the BMJ, found the technology was not cost effective. Despite this, the Worcestershire business case for both a telecare and a telehealth service cites the WSD programme in support of its investment. “This detailed business case has been written on the principle that telehealth cost benefits will contribute to savings for health and be paid for by health,” the paper says. “The Worcestershire detailed business case assumptions for telehealth are weighted towards the best case scenario, because these are the savings that the strategic partner considers to be achievable." However, it recognises that there are "financial risks" to the telehealth part of the programme, if not the alarm or telecare element. When asked about the tender, Charles Huntington, the council’s assistive technology programme manager, told EHI: “We are seeking a risk sharing arrangement with our managed service provider, where payments are based on delivery of benefits both in terms of patients and also financially.” The business case was approved by the council’s ‘Better Outcomes, Lean Delivery’ programme board in December last year. The council expects to award the contract in ... Read more

Haptics, Body Sensors, New Protocols to Bring …

Haptic virtual reality dallas texas Haptics, Body Sensors, New Protocols to Bring Telemedicine Up a LevelJudging by all the media coverage, telemedicine is surely a necessary part of our not too distant future. Yet the technology that powers today’s telemedicine continues to be essentially confined to something resembling Skype on wheels. At University of Texas at Dallas researchers are working on bringing new technologies together, like haptics, body sensors, and real time data transmission protocols, to allow for more substantial capabilities than just audio and video communication. They envision, for example, a rehabilitation system that can help therapists remotely work with patients on exercise techniques, including being able to feel the motion and strength of their movements while providing real time feedback. Dr. Mark W. Spong, dean of the Jonsson School and holder of the Lars Magnus Ericsson Chair in Electrical Engineering and the Excellence in Education Chair, is a leading researcher in control and teleoperation – operating of machines at a distance. He is developing techniques to eliminate instability in communicating the data from the haptic devices over the network. To minimize the amount of data that needs to be exchanged, sophisticated algorithms need to be created. That’s where Dr. Xiaohu Guo, associate professor of computer science at UT Dallas and a project co-principal investigator, comes in. He’s an expert in computer graphics, animation and modeling. Guo is refining techniques to not only allow the data between haptic devices to be transmitted over the network more efficiently, but also creating 3-D visual images of original movements in real time. “We do not only want the person to be moving the device, we want them to have a visual feel of what the movement is causing,” Prabhakaran said. Guo has had success transforming large amounts of data using what is known as spectral transformation techniques. These techniques transform 3-D images into points that represent the surface of an object. The data is then compressed into a smaller form that can be sent faster over networks. People using this platform would use body sensors similar to those installed in smartphones that can tell whether the user is looking at the device in portrait or landscape views. “If we put body sensors on the patients, then his or her movements can be tracked with high accuracy,” Prabhakaran said. “The advantage of the sensor is the data that is generated is only a few bytes large, so it is easily transmitted over the network. “You need a 3-D model to provide visual perspective, but if you are dealing with a lousy network and cannot have consistent visual perspective, the body sensors could provide that ... Read more

InTouch Health Launches ControlStation Telemedicine …

Controlstation ipad2 InTouch Health Launches ControlStation Telemedicine App for iPadAlthough it was already possible to roam the hospital halls and wards with a robotic avatar, now instead of having to sit down behind your desk or workstation you will also be able to perform duties lazily from the couch. InTouch Health has launched the ControlStation (CS) App for iPad, an interface for doctors to provide real-time, acute telemedicine consults with patients. The app integrates streaming video with clinical patient data and medical radiology imaging tools through a single user login. It can connect with any of the company’s other FDA-cleared, purpose-built remote presence devices, among them the RP-VITA which we recently covered. Features from the product page: Universal interface supports the full suite of InTouch Health medical devices Point-to-See and Box-Zoom touch gestures create seamless far-end camera control HIPAA and FDA compliance ensure safe and secure patient interactions Backed up by the SureConnect® platform, the CS App for iPad utilizes patent pending technologies to ensure the best connection possible Available for use on the iPad2, iPad3, iPad mini and iPad with Retina display InTouch Health is showcasing the ControlStation App for iPad along with its entire suite of TeleStroke products and services in Booth #307 at the International Stroke Conference in Honolulu, HI, February 6-8, ... Read more

Remote Patient Monitoring Grows Big Time…

In 2012, the remote patient monitoring market grew nearly 20 percent, just from 2011, and the numbers haven't shown signs of waning any time soon, according to a new report released this week. The report, conducted by Kalorama Information, pegged ... Read more

Telemedicine as Beneficial as in-person Visits for …

New research published online this week in JAMA Neurology aims to address the problem of the prevalent burden of neurological disorders paired with limited access to care by testing home telemedicine for patients with Parkinson's' disease. The ... Read more

Airedale Uses SystmOne with Telehealth…

Airedale NHS Foundation Trust’s telehealth hub has significantly reduced admissions of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients and increased prisoner access to health-care. The hub was set up in September 2011 and connects more than 1000 patients to a 24/7 nurse-led service at Airedale Hospital. The trust also offers telemedicine clinics to the area’s 14,000-strong prison population where TPP is used as the clinical system. Airedale has recently deployed TPP’s patient administration system and is going live with a suite of SystmOne acute products. SystmOne works with a single electronic record so telehealth staff can access a patient’s SystmOne GP record when necessary. Rachel Binks, nurse consultant critical care, said the hub had recorded a 30% reduction in admissions of COPD patients since being introduced. One patient had been admitted to hospital 11 times in the 15 months prior to having telehealth installed in December 2011, but had not been admitted since. The hub links to 29 residential homes, allowing hospital staff to support care home staff to keep patients safe where they live, rather than take them to hospital. If hub staff need to call an ambulance for a patient, they can relay their medical history to the emergency services. “The whole thing works fantastically well together,” said Binks. The hub also has links with some GPs where if they are thinking of sending a patient to A&E for an assessment, instead they call the hub and a consultant does the assessment remotely. “The whole point is to stop people being admitted,” said Binks. Eighty-five patients are connected to the hub through a device in their home with a green button that they can press if they need assistance. The video link then appears on their television. Airedale also holds special telemedicine clinics, such as dermatology and respiratory, for prisoners. Previously, if a prisoner wanted a specialist appointment they had to be accompanied by two guards and in some cases, if they were particularly dangerous, the whole A&E department had to be cleared before their arrival. Now, specialists do a clinic session from an area of the hospital with a video link. Airedale has done more than 1,000 consultations with prisoners, greatly expanding prisoners’ access to health services. The service will become more accessible to the general population when the trust gets new infrastructure allowing clinicians to do telehealth sessions from their outpatient rooms. The ultimate goal is for doctors to do a clinic seeing a mix of physical patients and patients via video link from their ... Read more

Patient Coding with A Twist
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Patients will be taught how to code and make apps as part of a patient empowerment programme being run by the NHS Commissioning Board. National director of patients and information Tim Kelsey has previously called on clinicians to learn how to program. In an NHS Institute webinar, he said that involving patients was key to the health care revolution. In the monthly webinar ‘Expert on Call’, he explained that the government was putting in place several measures to empower patients. These included promising everybody electronic access to their primary care records by March 2015, NHS 111 and introducing the friends and family test. Kelsey said learning to code was another type of participation and the NHS CB would soon publish guidance on how they were going to approach this. “We’re launching something called Code4Health, available for patients and clinicians, which will teach people quickly how to code and make programs and apps,” he said. The initiative would encourage both patients and health care professionals to reset their thinking about the power of data and information. He recognised that not all patients would have adequate computer literacy to take advantage of the new services being made available. “I’m very much about inclusion. However there will be a large number of people who will find it difficult to participate. So we are launching a health advantages programme,” he said. The programme would help those who needed it with understanding their online records and other electronic services available to them. “What we’re looking to do is turn the NHS into a social movement,” said Kelsey. He added that the principles of transparency and participation were key factors in making the new health service work. “If we can liberate the data and give it to people, that’s what we want to do. If we can make the data more freely available we will transform the way in which services is provided. "We need to learn how we can unleash the power of transparency,” he said. “A 21st century health service is about prioritising knowledge. It’s all about sensible, mature conversations where everyone shares the same currency. The currency is open data.” Code4Health is modelled on the US Code for America initiative, which encourages public sector workers to learn to ... Read more

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