Digital health and redefining the point of care

By: Brian Dolan | Nov 6, 2012        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsOne of the shifts that occurred in telecommunications once most people began to carry mobile phones was that we no longer only called places, we called people. Location no longer mattered us much, we can now make calls — for better or worse — from virtually anywhere.

A popular phrase in healthcare — “point of care” — has historically been a phrase that is very much tied to a particular geography. The doctor’s office. The emergency room. The clinic. Because of digital health technologies, however, the “point of care” increasingly means wherever the patient is.

That is the longterm opportunity that a number of mobile and digital health services promise — that for many health-related services, location will no longer matter. Already, however, the point of care — where patients and care providers meet face-to-face — is undergoing some changes because of new digital health offerings. Patients and physicians alike have new and improved tools that augment their relationship. The in-person point of care is changing, too, as the remote point of care is under development.

Later this month and early in December I’ll be discussing mobile health at the point of care with two different groups of healthcare industry thoughtleaders.

On November 29th at 2PM ET I’ll be joining AirStrip Technologies CEO Alan Portela and HCA’s Clinical Transformation Officer Dr. Divya Shroff to discuss this very topic in a complimentary MobiHealthNews webinar, Mobile Health At The Point of Care. HCA, of course, is one of the largest private operators of healthcare facilities in the world. I am excited to hear from both Portela and Shroff, who will share HCA’s perspective on what is practical today as well as possible in the future when it comes to digital health technologies that support physician workflow and enhance the patient experience. Don’t miss this webinar — be sure to register today.

Next month, coincidentally, I’ll be moderating a panel on a similar topic at HIMSS’ mHealth Summit in Washington D.C. The mHealth Summit organizers assembled an interesting mix of panelists for the discussion, which is called Point of Care Delivery Transformed. The group includes Pierce Graham Jones, Innovator-in-Residence HHS, West Health; Hon Pak, CEO & Director, Diversinet; Chanin Wendling, Manager, Geisinger Health Systems;  and Michael Yuan, CEO, Ringful Health. The session will kick off at 2:45PM ET on Monday, December 3rd.

  • Carolyn Kerouac

    It is wonderful  that the Point of Care issue is being discussed, but until CMS (Medicare) changes their reimbursement rules for the largest group(and growing by 8,000 per day) using our healthcare system, mobile health will be limited or become a consumer product for those who can pay out of pocket.

  • Pete @e_Cntr

    Agreed.  I’m interested to learn the quickest and best way to make that change happen.

  • Carolyn Kerouac

    As many of us in this field are, I lobbied for this change beginning in 2003, so 10 years later CMS has not been able to score this effectively to take the plunge!  Change is coming one way or another…

  • Laura Mitchell

    This completely makes sense as we start transitioning patients from hospital to home…we shift from servicing locations to actually servicing the patients themselves (no matter where they are). Obviously being home not only is cheaper and more comfortable, but also lessens the risk of hospital infections. I believe this to be a very positive shift : being able to combine virtual and hands-on care as a perfect marriage!

  • Laura Mitchell

    in regards to medicare reimbursement, my feeling is that it will reimburse for outcomes and not technology/products. this would be the smartest way to go, as it would encourage individuals to choose the best fit instead of choosing a specific tech or product because it is the only one covered… remember the scooter fiasco?? i sincerely hope that medicare sees this obvious advantage and starts to give incentive to individuals that choose to provide care for a loved one at home, perhaps with a digital health or ADL monitoring technology to complement the hands on caregiving. We need support for this industry…we need organizations like AARP to STEP UP and give technologies in the digital health world some credibility!!
    -Laura Mitchell
    GrandCare Systems

  • Carolyn Kerouac

    We did provide huge savings using technology to the home, and improved clinical indicators in a 6 month window, but the shift in risk is now going to the ACO market for Medicare, as fear still permeates.  With the number of baby boomers staying at home and physician shortages, new ways of delivering healthcare will now be forced on all payers to save money.  I am excited to see the change!  It does make sense!
    -Carolyn Kerouac

  • Kel M

    CMS wants to cut M&M by $716 billion over the next ten years. mHealth and telehealth have been championed by DoD and VHA, which was reported in “Telehealth services save time and money, ” by Peter A. Buxbaum. “One of the leading trends in telehealth today is to get technology as close as possible to the patient.” “A recent study of 17,000 patients showed a 30 percent reduction in hospital admissions and a 20 percent decrease in hospital stays.”

    In the same breath CMS is penalizing hospitals for experiencing high readmission rates. Apparently interagency communication of achieving dove-tailing goals is not done. Could we motivate our Congressional representatives to facilitate communication between the three? Start an emailing campaign?

    This, coupled with new requirements for healthcare providers to encourage their patients to more frequently use a personal health record (*PHR*) or patient portal, creates a greater possiblility for “Patient engagement”and attesting “meaningful use.”* only must we “think outside the box,” we must act “outside the box” to leverage a fluid “point of care.”