Posts Tagged ‘broadband’
Travis Proctor logged onto his computer, turned on his new webcam and clicked his mouse. Within seconds, the 42-year-old father of three was face to face with Dr. Kelvin Burton, his primary care physician.
Just months ago, Proctor would have had to drive for nearly an hour round-trip from his home in Powder Springs to Burton’s Douglasville family care practice just for a checkup. Not anymore. (Read more at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).
The referenced article by Gracie Bonds Staples prompted a Linkedin discussion where I couldn’t help but respond. Here’s what I said:
• Telemedicine includes video calls with patients, video consultations among specialists, remote monitoring of sensor devices, and more, all aimed at increasing service, improving outcomes, and lowering costs.
I spent several days this week at SXSW promoting accessible web design in the Knowbility booth and gained a new perspective of Modern Health Talk in the process.
South by Southwest (SXSW)
“South By” is a week-long music & film festival with over 2,000 bands and dozens of movie premiers from all over the world, as well as a fairly new SXSW Interactive segment for web, mobile and social app developers. Downtown Austin is closed to traffic all week and mobbed by an entirely different and very creative, live-fast, party-hard, and die-young species that thrives on alcohol, energy drinks and a high-energy vibe that can over stimulate older people. Bloomberg described it as “Woodstock for Geeks.”
Making traffic and parking even worse, Austin holds its annual rodeo during the same week. So each year I avoid the mess and have never attended even the tech conference, although it is credited for launching Twitter, Foursquare and other web hits and might normally have been interesting to me.
I just found the whole thing too loud, wild and geeky, and with way too much purple hair, tattoos & body piercings for my taste. But this year was different. Some of its attention shifted to Health, and that’s why I was there with Knowbility, taking the Metro Rail from near home to avoid traffic and parking hassles.
A New Look at Web Design (new for me anyway)
Universal access to education, jobs, government and society today means going online on the Internet, but imagine what it’s like for someone who’s blind, has severely limited vision, has some other disability that makes access difficult, or where English is not their primary language. I sat down with a blind person to get a critique of Modern Health Talk and listen to the text read aloud with JAWS screening reading software.
Five months ago I posted a challenge on Linkedin titled, “Innovative Ideas for a Totally New Healthcare System?” and it generated a discussion that’s been active for 5 months now with over 900 responses from different perspectives worldwide.
As a fun exercise to stimulate creative, out-of-box thinking, pretend you have all been appointed to the new World Health Commission by the new King of the World (or whatever title you prefer). You have absolute power to determine health strategy, for the whole world. Think like a child, and forget the constraints you’re used to dealing with as adults. There are no financial hurdles, no political worries, no cultural barriers, no legacy to contend with, no managers looking over your shoulders, and no imposed time frames. What is it that patients, providers and society seek from healthcare? Why can’t they get that now? Starting with a completely blank canvas, what would be the objectives of the new System? Imagine potential roadblocks and how we might overcome them.
The discussion has evolved, and most participants have come in and out of it, but Clifford Thornton posted one of the longest and most thoughtful replies and gave me permission to reprint it here.
A Totally New Healthcare System
By Clifford Thornton
Wow sir, a blank sheet; this is a dynamic exercise.
I came into the healthcare field about 9 years ago from a marketing strategy business background in the cable/telecommunication industry. Let me say that I cannot think or even imagine a bigger contrast in terms of quality of service, efficiencies, level of customer satisfaction, duplication of service levels, delivery, and range/availability of services.
According to this article in Fierce Mobile Health, results from a large telehealth study that monitored 6,200 remote patients show that telehealth can dramatically improve the care people receive while helping to reduce costs. The study took place over three years and covered patients in three cities suffering from one of three primary conditions: diabetes, heart failure or COPD.
Get ready for outsourced health care. Last week I wrote TeleHealth: The Doctor Will See You Now, Remotely, but what if Remotely means someplace in India or China?
As Dr. David Lee Scher notes, interest in mHealth is driven by several factors, including:
- The rising costs of health care;
- The worsening shortage of primary care physicians, and an even greater shortage of specialists;
- The shift away from diagnosis-related fee for service management of diseases to reimbursement based on wellness & measured outcomes; and
- The advent of more widespread use of electronic health records (EHRs).
There’s a fairly new option for after-hours medical care that connects you with practitioners anytime, anywhere. It’s called Telehealth or Telemedicine, and it’s offered by companies like American Well, MyNowClinic, and OptumHealth.
Hospitals already use high-speed Internet connections to share medical information among specialists within the facility or in different locations. And they can even put a rural patient in front of a big city specialist miles away. But as Internet use permeates people’s everyday lives, health care professionals are able to connect with patients in real time over any distance without traveling or scheduling an office visit. Previously when you were sick, you had to go to the doctor. Now she can come to you, electronically 24/7. Some services also provide in-home visits by physician assistants to supplement telehealth.
“While having access to a doctor outside of normal office hours is a popular telehealth service, it isn’t the only one. Doctors can also Read the rest of this entry »
Transforming Rural Economies: Bridging The Digital Divide (excerpt)
by Maine State Representative Diane Russell
Growing up in Bryant Pond, about as rural as it gets in Maine, taught me a little something about being at the tail end of innovation. The last crank phone operator station in the country was located right down the street from our home. While the celebrity status is great, the educational piece was the vigorous debate over whether or not our town should upgrade to that fancy new technology — the dial tone.
Wayne Caswell (Modern Health Talk) posted the following comment:
We all know that technology and the Internet are keys to telemedicine, telework (jobs), distance learning, e-commerce, and e-government, but the latest FCC report to Congress says a full one-third of U.S. households lack broadband access. That’s either because they have no access to it or because it’s too expensive or they lack the skills or perceived need.
So, are we willing to write-off entire sectors of our population and give them inferior healthcare and access to jobs, commerce and government because they’re poor, black, Hispanic, elderly, live in rural communities, and don’t have broadband Internet access? Or are we going to fund computer literacy and universal access to broadband? Which is cheaper or better? We can’t always rely on Market Forces. Sometimes public funding is warranted – like NOW (or actually 20 years ago).
Telemedicine and many of the high-tech home healthcare solutions we write about depend on high-speed access to the Internet, but only 65% of homes have broadband. That’s why I was so interested in the FCC’s recent status report to Congress.
Seventh Broadband Progress Report and Order of Reconsideration
The report shows that:
- Too many Americans still are unable to fully participate in our economy and society because they lack basic broadband services.
- Some 26 million Americans live in areas that are unserved by broadband.
- A full one-third of U.S. households don’t subscribe due to other barriers such as cost and lack of literacy or perceived need.
- Adoption rates are lower among blacks, Hispanics, rural, low-income, less educated, disabled, seniors and the unemployed.
- The costs of digital exclusion are high and growing, limiting healthcare, educational, and employment opportunities that are essential for consumer welfare and America’s economic growth and global competitiveness.
Urban and suburban patients have advantages not generally available to those living in rural settings, including easy access to more healthcare professionals, specialists and well-equipped medical facilities, better roads and taxi service, public transportation systems, and broadband Internet. The challenges of providing rural health care present opportunities for innovative organizations willing to take them on, because doing so helps improve the nation’s health care system overall.
It’s kind of like when President Kennedy visited Houston’s Rice University in 1962 and said, “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”
And it’s why we support Intel’s Eric Dishman and his call for a “Going to the Moon” type of effort to reduce health care costs with technology solutions – solutions that enable home health care and aging in place. As a nation, we must address the rising costs by creating personal, networked, home-based care options and move at least 50% of care from hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted care facilities to homes.
Digital Smart Homes, including some of the same sensor and networking technologies that we promote for home health care, have long been associated with large and expensive new homes with custom installation. It’s a market that has languished as a niche for over 40 years now and has never managed to find its way to mainstream consumers. Why?
Someone asked that question in a forum I monitor, and I had to add my two cents, which I include here for perspective.
Contrast the Digital Smart Home with a modern car. When you buy a new car, it comes with everything included and already integrated to work together. There are many things you DON’T have to buy separately and install yourself, including tires, air conditioning, radio, CD-player, navigation, antilock brakes, towing package, etc.