Remember…it is about the patient!

A couple of weeks ago, I listened to a presentation on Minnesota Public Broadcasting (MPR) by Adam Darkins, MD, which again energized me about the work that we do supporting the growth and development of telehealth.

Dr. Darkins, VP for Medical Affairs and Enterprise Technology Develop at Medtronic, was presenting at a conference in Minneapolis focused on the use of technology in healthcare. Early on in his presentation he said something that made me sit up a bit straighter and listen just a bit more closely. It was something that I have heard many times from a former co-worker of mine (a registered nurse and telehealth champion): remember, it is about the patient.

Yes! That is who must stay at the absolute center of our focus as we discuss all things telehealth!

Telehealth, more simply healthcare, must focus on what is happening with the patient. When we consider the new opportunities in telehealth, we need to specifically identify what problem we are trying to solve, not just for the provider, the health system or the insurance company, but for the patient.

While convenience and access are both key components to the value of telehealth, it needs to be about more. It must also be about improvements – improvements in a patient’s overall health, improvement in the overall costs of providing that care, improvements in the health of the general public – in order for telehealth to truly make a difference.

Or maybe, as Dr. Darkins shared, it is about shifting the model of care to more fully benefit the patient. Maybe the patient’s primary care location really is considered their home, and they would “in-reach to the hospital” or clinic for supportive services and care when needed, rather than obtaining “outreach from the hospital” only after a major illness episode or the identification of a disease. His description of the current or traditional healthcare delivery model as being “very much from the industrial age”, where you brought people TO their care access point, is really not the way the rest of the world functions today. It is becoming more important to figure out ways to bring healthcare to the patient, in their everyday experiences. The right place for the provision of care could be almost anywhere, and the right time could be now.

Healthcare, supported by telehealth, needs to continue to focus on what is actually being done and why, remembering always…it is about the patient!

Listen to the entire presentation here:

Making Health Addictive – Dr. Kvedar Speaking at gpTRAC Telehealth Forum

Joseph C. Kvedar, MD is the founder and director of the Center for Connected Health at Partners HealthCare.  AND, we are very excited to share that he will be joining us at the gpTRAC Regional Telehealth Forum as the Keynote Speaker on April 3rd.

Dr. Kvedar has long been involved in leading the development of telehealth modalities, stretching the idea of what telehealth should be, and defining what it will look like in the years to come.  Check out Dr. Kvedar’s cHealth Blog to get an idea of some of what he might be sharing at the Forum in Minneapolis.

We hope you will be able to join us.  Go to the “Forum” tab above for additional meeting information and to check out the rest of the schedule.

Regional Telehealth Forum: Early Bird Deadline April 1!

April 1 marks the end of the early-bird registration rate.  Don’t miss out!  Go to the forum registration page on our website for details and forms.  We also offer a special student rate for those actively enrolled as full-time college students. 

We have put together a very exciting schedule!  Come learn from our keynote speakers Carl Taylor (Fraser Institute for Health Research) and Rob Sprang (Kentucky TeleCare) and other telehealth experts from around the region and nation. 

Hotel Registration:  The block of rooms are also available through April 1.  Rooms are $99 and are on a first come basis.   

Post-Forum Event:  Immediately following the conclusion of the Regional Forum, Polycom is hosting a Grant Writing Workshop.  This is a separate event.  There is no cost to attend, HOWEVER, registration is required as space is limited.  Please contact if you are interested in participating.

Questions about telemedicine? Let us know!

Here at gpTRAC it is our goal to be your primary resource for telehealth program development and implementation in the Great Plains region.

Over the last two years, this goal has led our blog contributors through a wide range of topics including: telemedicine legislation, applications, ATA standards and guidelines, technologies, rural health, health care reform, national conferences, and current events- just to name a few.

My name is Haley.  As a new member of the gpTRAC team, and now primary author of the gpTRAC blog, I hope to share with you topics you can use in the coming weeks and month.  Here is an idea of what you can expect:

We will continue to follow innovation.  What are the latest technologies and best practices?  Where is telemedicine headed?  How can you, as providers/clininicians/payors/employers/patients/legislators/schools/home health and long term care facilities, catch the wave and benefit from adopting telemedicine programs?

We’ll also look at current uses of telemedicine.  Who is using telemedicine in the Great Plains region?  Or elsewhere in the world for that matter.  And in what form?  How well are they working?

Lastly, keeping with the ancient wisdom of “you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you have been,” you can expect a few briefs on the history of telemedicine mixed in:  where did it come from?  Who were the early adopters?  What did early forms of telemedicine look like?  And most importantly, why does it matter to you?

I am excited about the future of telemedicine.  I see potential applications everywhere, and unrealized benefits for doctors and patients alike.  My goal is to make this your go-to source for information and advice on everything telehealth.  So if you have questions about telemedicine, ask us!  If there is a topic you would like to know more about, let us know!  If you have a story you want to share, go for it!  Post your thoughts and comments below, and we look forward to hearing from you!