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K4-12 - Telemedicine

Wm Magill - December 11, 2017

Lack of consistency remains about the terminology, but one thing is certain: Telehealth and Telemedicine are becoming cornerstones of health care delivery and stand to significantly improve senior care.

A 2016 survey from the National Business Group on Health found that by 2018, 96% of health systems will be using some form of Telehealth in their health care delivery.

We are all (hopefully) familiar with MyLGHealth https://www.mylghealth.org/mychart/ - available both via a browser on the desktop and via an “app” for both smart-phones and tablets.

This window into the Penn Medicine / Lancaster General Health Epic system allows you to view test results, frequently within hours of your blood-draw, without having to schedule a doctor’s appointment, check on your upcoming appointments, or request one, and to read your After Visit Summary. . . just the name the three most commonly accessed functions. One thing important to keep in mind — you can do much, much more with the Browser based version than you can do with the Smart Phone or Tablet “App.”

This same window is also available with Penn State / Hershey Medical - My Health Patient Portal - http://hmc.pennstatehealth.org/ - Penn State Hershey uses Cerner Health to provide its portal.

The term “Telehealth” is a broad and often misunderstood one. Yet its sweeping qualities make it an easy concept to understand: it is the use of digital or electronic technologies in the the delivery of health services.

This can mean anything from teleconference doctor appointments to wearing fitness bands, like a Fitbit, that monitor personal behavior to build a health-related dataset.

What is a “Health-related dataset” and why is it important?

Historically, medicine has been a serious art-form, with very little qualitative or quantitative information to support the practitioner. The reason that Medical School and internships are so extensive is to expose the practitioner to as wide a variety of patient symptoms as possible. Symptoms were largely dependent upon the patient being able to verbalize “what was wrong with them.” Yes, certain “signals” were observed in ancient times — “Sweet Urine” (don’t ask) being one of the first diagnostic symptoms of Diabetes observed in ancient Greek medicine - ancient as in 1000 BC! But those signals were extremely crude and in many cases applied to many different possible diagnoses.

Today, when you visit the doctor, the first thing they do is check your weight, blood pressure, and more recently oxygen level in the blood. All of these are data-points which describe “you at the moment.” As such, they may or may not provide any immediate diagnostic information — but if those data points are combined with the same data collected over time — viola! + or - 10 pounds of weight gain or loss over a brief period of time, can indicate serious medical changes. That data collected over time is called a “dataset.” … your personal "health-related dataset!" It is unique to you and tracks YOU and the changes in your health over time.

Avoiding delving into contemporary medical theory and practices, suffice it to say — medicine today is not epitomized by Dr. Kildare, Ben Casey, Marcus Welby or Gregory House; or even Nurse Jackie, ER or Gray’s Anatomy, (let alone MASH).

Medicine today is far closer to Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy from Star Trek - his Tricorder version 1.0 was just awarded the Qualcom Tricorder X Prize — an automatic non-invasive health diagnostics system packaged into a single portable device — https://tricorder.xprize.org was awarded at the Qualcom Tricorder XPRIZE awards ceremony on April 12, 2017. The two winning teams exceeded the competition requirements for user experience, nearly met the challenging audacious benchmarks for diagnosing the 13 disease states. Visit https://tricorder.xprize.org/teams to see what and how these Tricorders work. Final Frontier Medical Devices, creator of DXtER (dexter), is headed by Dr. Basil Harris, a practicing Emergency Room physician at Lankenau Medical Center just outside of Philadelphia.

How does all this relate to K4?
It’s not surprising, then, that perhaps more than any other demographic, seniors could see the most upside from Telehealth’s three key benefits: access, personalization, and quality.

“Fifty percent of hospital readmissions are actually from those over the age of 65,” said moderator Ginna Baik, strategic business development executive at CDW-Healthcare. “It’s becoming not only a pertinent but most important issue inside of health care in general, as well as the continuum of care in senior care.”

The Masonic Village at Elizabethtown’s Transitional Care Unit (TCU) does an excellent job at combating “Re-admissions” by providing post-discharge care.

Now with a change in Medicare, the Masonic Villages, Inc. has licensed Ashlar Hospice and Home Health Care.

Masonic Village Home Care
Note that this is a very different service from “Masonic Village Home Care” — which aids in the day-to-day chores of living: To quote from the Home Care website: https://masonicvillages.org/home-care/

Masonic Village Home Care is a Pennsylvania Licensed Home Care Agency.
Home care services are non-medical and are not covered by Medicare

Or the Masonic Villages Hospice service https://masonicvillages.org/hospice

Ashlar Hospice and Home Health Care
https://www.healthcare4ppl.com/home-health/pennsylvania/elizabethtown/ashlar-home-health-398272.html

Ashlar Home Health provides Medicare certified services:

K4 Monitoring will allow a central station to monitor various aspects of an individual at home much the same as a central nursing station monitors the individual in the TCU or Nursing facility.