JULY 30, 2014 – HealthTap Prime, “concierge medicine” available via smartphone, tablet or wearable smartwatch, launches today as well. It’s a subscription-based service that will include 24/7 live consults with doctors via video and chat. Previous versions of HealthTap have garnered the company 100 million members. The company is backed by Vinod Khosla, Google’s Eric Schmidt and a few other major Silicon Valley players.
Will better technology save the VA? — Following up after a big day for telemedicine — New digital health initiatives announced today
By ASHLEY GOLD
TELEMEDICINE AT HEART OF VA REFORM COMPROMISE: The $17 billion Veterans Affairs bill moving through Congress gives special attention to telemedicine, the remote medical services that have growing popularity on the Hill thanks to a strong new lobbying operation. Bipartisan legislation may pass through the House on Thursday, with Senate passage Friday. The 132-page bill requires the VA to expand telemedicine through its mobile veterans centers and mobile medical units. Telemedicine is already in use at every VA hospital in the country, and its users report improved outcomes and health care cost savings. Congressional supporters hope wider use of the technology could reduce wait times for the beleaguered VA system. The bill also addresses the VA system’s scheduling problems, demanding a task force investigation, followed by action. Full story here: http://politico.pro/1rNiLq5
eHealth tweet of the day: @VinceKuraitis WHY ISN’T THE PUBLIC PISSED THAT #EHR VENDORS & PROVIDERS HOARD PATIENT DATA FOR COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE!! Getting riled up about health IT in a Twitter conversation — I like it!
Welcome to Wednesday morning eHealth! We’re pleasantly surprised by all the attention telemedicine is receiving in the VA bill. Ping me with your feedback at email@example.com and connect with us on Twitter at @POLITICOPro; @Morning_eHealth.
HEALTH IT NOW COALITION PRAISES VA TELEMEDICINE INCLUSION: Health IT Now told POLITICO that the telemedicine provisions in the VA bill could spark wider use of telemedicine across the country: “Health IT Now applauds the House Veterans Affairs Committee for including telemedicine at the core of the VA reform bill. They understand the potential to decrease wait times, improve care, and decrease cost. Both the DoD and VA have implemented what is essentially a one-license practice-anywhere model to enable providers to treat patients anywhere they maybe be at the time of need. Both have proven that patients who have access to virtual-care recover more quickly, are engaged and compliant with treatment programs, are healthier, and overall costs are at a fraction of the traditional in-facility care model.
“The VA system is far ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to telemedicine, and has already seen the benefits first hand. We hope the bill passes the full House and Senate, after which we will continue to encourage the rest of the nation to adopt telemedicine for improved care nation-wide.”
TECH ON THE MIND OF NEW VA SECRETARY: Robert McDonald, who was confirmed as the Veterans Affairs secretary today, has said he will apply knowledge of health technology he gained at Procter & Gamble to improve patient care in the department’s health system. “We worked to digitize the operations of P&G from end to end, including using digital technology in remote areas to acquire and serve new customers,” he told the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee during his confirmation hearing last week. He mentioned how the VA should use technology to “free human resources” and told senators he has already met with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel about building an interoperable electronic health records system. McDonald also said he wanted to build a world-class appointment scheduling system to replace the dysfunctional one that cost his predecessor, Eric Shinseki, his job.
TELEMEDICINE ‘COALITION’ IN THE WORKS: The American Telemedicine Association said Tuesday it is trying to pool the growing number of medical societies and lobbying groups working on telemedicine issues into a coalition with a more unified voice. “Five years ago, everybody turned to the ATA,” said Gary Capistrant, senior director of public policy at the American Telemedicine Association. “Now there’s all these other players.”During ATA’s This Month in Telemedicine webcast, Capistrant said ATA held a meeting with groups including the American Medical Association, HIMSS, the Alliance for Connected Care and others working on telemedicine issues to try to form a consensus around certain issues. He mentioned legislation and CMS rules as areas where telemedicine advocates could deliver a more uniform message to elicit change the groups are looking for.
NEW DIGITAL HEALTH INITIATIVES ANNOUNCED TODAY: Fortune 500 Company Insight is launching a “news and digital health information resource” dubbed Insight ON: Healthcare today. The resource is designed to help the health care community deal with IT challenges. The site’s launch coincides with Insight’s new whitepaper on merging existing technology new tools.
Users will be able to search topics and best practices for relevant information and guidance.
HealthTap Prime, “concierge medicine” available via smartphone, tablet or wearable smartwatch, launches today as well. It’s a subscription-based service that will include 24/7 live consults with doctors via video and chat. Previous versions of HealthTap have garnered the company 100 million members. The company is backed by Vinod Khosla, Google’s Eric Schmidt and a few other major Silicon Valley players.
ONC SPOKESPERSON TO HEAD WHITE HOUSE AGING CONFERENCE: ONC communications chief Nora Super has been named director of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging, said Cecilia Munoz, director of the Domestic Policy Council, on the White House blog Tuesday. White House Conferences on Aging are held every 10 years. Next year’s conference will mark the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security. Super has been ONC’s chief of public affairs and communications. She earlier led government relations at AARP and has a long history in health policy. “The fact that Nora was selected to lead this important conference demonstrates the impact she has had during her nearly three years at ONC,” said national health IT coordinator Karen DeSalvo. “Through her leadership, we’ve strengthened ONC’s partnerships with many important stakeholders.”
Peter Ashkenaz will serve as acting director of the communications office.
DESALVO PLAYS THAT OL’ N’AWLINS HEALTH IT CARD AGAIN AT WH EVENT: ONC National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo spoke of the need for updated health record databases in the event of disasters, at a White House event on innovations in emergency relief. As health commissioner of New Orleans during Hurricane Isaac, she discovered that the health department had registered only a few of the many residents who were dependent on power for their medical equipment, DeSalvo said. “When prioritizing power restoration, and being asked which blocks should have their power turned back on first…having data on who was oxygen-dependent was key,” DeSalvo said. The city later carried out a project with HHS that retrieved Medicare data to find beneficiaries using durable medical equipment and put them on an interactive map. She also mentioned an ONC project that tested health information exchanges for disaster preparedness and response.
WHAT WE’RE CLICKING
Insecure communications are costly for hospitals, InformationWeek reports: http://ubm.io/1qjTZcL
In Clinical Innovation and Technology: The case for continuous interoperability: http://bit.ly/1qjUkvW
Google Glass: Paramedics’ next tool? http://trib.in/1qjWg7J
Funding for Proteus Digital Health reaches $172 million: http://bit.ly/1qjWQ5n
Kurdo Health has raised $5.8 million for fighting childhood obesity with its mobile app, in Tech Crunch: http://bit.ly/1qjYbJF
Researchers fear that social media could ruin the “blind” nature of medical trial, The Wall Street Journal reports: http://on.wsj.com/1qJQcdJ