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At&t wireless ehealth


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At&t wireless ehealth

  1. 1. Trend Report: MedicineeHealth Initiatives StreamlineMedical Record Sharing new health information Recently, a Man dIagnoSed wItH an aggReSSIve foRM of cancer walked into a Memphis hospital looking for a second exchange technology opinion. Rather than immediately ordering a battery of tests to promises to improve the confirm the diagnosis, his doctor logged on to the MidSouth eHealth alliance, a new health information exchange (HIe) that quality of health care lets Memphis area hospitals share patient medical records. the and reduce costs. doctor discovered that the requisite tests had already been performed at a nearby medical center and that their results were instantly available through the HIe’s electronic database. Using existing test results, he was able to quickly confirm the patient’s diagnosis without subjecting him to additional and unnecessary discomfort. for years experts have argued that the U.S. could offer better and more cost-effective health care if it could find a way to electronically aggregate patient records—often scattered in the far-flung file drawers and hard drives of family medical practices, specialists’ offices, clinics, pharmacies and hospitals—and make them readily available to health-care providers everywhere. when HIes provide patient records electronically, a doctor in california will be able to immediately access the medical history of a visit- ing Pennsylvanian needing care. cost savings would accrue by eliminating duplicative medical tests—enabling faster and more complete diagnoses—and by reducing the time spent tracking down and sharing hard-copy medical records. costly mistakes could be minimized too, if a doctor knew, for example, that a new patient was allergic to certain types of medications. this is becoming an increasingly realistic goal with the develop- ment of regional HIes like the one used in Memphis. dozens are springing up across the country, representing the leading edge of the growing eHealth movement, which seeks to use information technology to improve the quality and reduce the cost of health care. other common eHealth initiatives include ePrescribing, which uses the Internet and other online tools to create and >>
  2. 2. Trend Report - eHealth Initiatives Streamline Medical Record Sharing __________________________________________________________________________ 2>> sign prescriptions electronically. eHealth experts say it can reducemedical errors, decrease pharmacy costs and increase efficiency, in daRRIn KlIMeK/dIgItal vISIon/getty IMageSpart by giving prescribers real-time information about potential druginteractions and allergies and eliminating mistakes associated with theinterpretation of handwritten prescriptions. ePrescribing reduces theneed for phone calls between doctors and pharmacists and providespatients with safer care. telemedicine leverages telecommunicationstechnology to enable long-distance patient consultations and deliveryof clinical diagnosis and other medical services. for example, physi-cians can employ videoconferencing to consult with and in some casesexamine and treat patients in remote locations who otherwise mightnot have access to their expertise. this reduces the need for travel bypatients and physicians, facilitates faster and more consistent treatment State eHealth initiatives are making it possible for doctors to accessof injuries and illnesses, and allows some patients to be treated at home patient records electronically, saving both time and costs.rather than in a hospital.States Take the Lead tennessee is among the leaders of the movement to create state-State governments are providing leadership in bringing eHealth’s wide HIes. Its governor, Phil Bredesen, co-chairs the State alliance forpromise of broadly shared electronic medical records to reality. as eHealth, an organization created by the national governors associationpartners with the federal government in administering Medicaid and to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of health informationthe State children’s Health Insurance Program and as employers of technology initiatives developed by states. In addition to helping fundmillions, states are among the largest buyers of health-care services in the MidSouth eHealth alliance, tennessee has contributed money tothe country. Rising health-care costs, which now consume about 16% of the launch of a regional HIe in eastern tennessee and is overseeingU.S. gross domestic product, have a direct impact on their budgets. “we the development of the tennessee eHealth exchange Zone. the Zone,have to be involved in this,” says dave goetz, commissioner of finance a statewide HIe, is intended to enable ePrescribing as well as theand administration for the state of tennessee who oversees its eHealth sharing of high-density medical images and secure exchange ofadvisory council. “Making health care more effective and affordable is health information among all health-care providers in tennessee.a worthwhile goal for us as a purchaser and as a government.” caracampbell, a policy analyst for the national governors association’s announced at the beginning of 2008, the eHealth exchange Zone iscenter for Best Practices says, “States perceive health information scheduled to go live with its first users at as many as 400 sites beforeexchanges to be the top priority for the next two years.” the end of the year. Its rapid launch was made possible partly by the decision to build the exchange on the back of the state’s existing at&t virtual private network (vPn), which reaches into all 95 tennessee counties. at&t has created a vPn-based portal for the network’s Trend Report Note users and has tapped a third party—covisint, a division of compuware HIEs aren’t the only promising eHealth initiatives, of corporation—to provide a dual-factor user-authentication protocol to course. Telemedicine applications that allow health- further ensure the privacy and security of the system. “It is very safe care providers to deliver their services electronically are for the sharing of files,” says Melissa Hargiss, interim director of the also becoming popular. Such applications let doctors tennessee eHealth advisory council, which is overseeing the initiative. meet with patients remotely via videoconferencing; receive readings from their diabetic patients’ glucose A National Solution monitors via the Internet; send advice to their patients’ Ultimately, forward-thinking health-care professionals and policymak- cell phones via text messaging; and share high- ers envision a day when americans will be able to reap the benefits of resolution medical images with other physicians via a national HIe. Before that can happen, though, the industry will have high-speed Internet connections. Read more about these to overcome an array of technical, financial and social challenges. innovations in the Healthcare Research Library from for example, beyond figuring out how to get many different medical AT&T at information systems to communicate with one another, the industry will have to persuade patients and health-care providers alike to >>
  3. 3. Trend Report - eHealth Initiatives Streamline Medical Record Sharing __________________________________________________________________________ 3 State and Federal Governments Push eHealth Initiatives A number of states have joined Tennessee in pursuing eHealth initiatives, many of them financed at least in part by the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Rural Health Care Pilot Program, with $417 million aimed atJIM cRaIgMyle/coRBIS furthering the development of eHealth programs. Doctors may soon be Minnesota, for example, has passed a law requiring able to create and sign that medical-care providers embrace ePrescribing by prescriptions using Jan. 1, 2011, and is offering grants to support the creation Internet-enabled PDAs. of health information exchanges (HIEs) in rural and underserved communities. >> participate in the effort. despite the seemingly obvious benefits, Rhode Island operates KIDSNET, an HIE for children that that hasn’t always been an easy sell. Some patients harbor privacy and integrates information from the state’s immunization and birth security concerns, and some health-care providers worry about the registries and health-care providers. Ultimately, the state cost of participation and the return on their investment. plans to link it to an HIE for all Rhode Island residents. Other states that have announced HIE initiatives in the past that said, a true national HIe would seem to be inevitable, and if two years include Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, Maryland, governments do not make it happen, private enterprises might. at&t is New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia among the companies working on a solution. Healthcare community and Washington. In addition, Arizona, Connecticut and New online, at&t’s patented vPn-based eHealth network and portal Mexico are among the states that have also announced platform, will enable patient data located in disparate systems to be ePrescribing initiatives. aggregated into a single-patient view. It will also provide secure access Meanwhile, the FCC isn’t alone in driving eHealth initiatives for caregivers to patient information and eHealth applications such at the federal level. In October 2007, the U.S. Department of as electronic Medical Records (eMRs) whenever and wherever it is Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded $22.5 million to needed. at&t has also partnered with Microsoft and covisint to develop nine state and regional HIEs to begin trial implementations a nationwide HIe aimed at individual users. It would allow them to of an envisioned Nationwide Health Information Network. use Microsoft’s Healthvault platform to store their personal health information and share it with any health-care provider connected to HHS also announced in July 2008 an ePrescription incentive the at&t Healthcare community online. “It’s not that difficult to create program for physicians and other eligible health-care a regional data repository that is beneficial to consumers,” observes professionals who write prescriptions for Medicare patients. tom eng, founder and president of and the eHealth Institute, Beginning in 2009, doctors who use ePrescribing will receive a private charitable organization that promotes eHealth initiatives. “But a payment equal to 2% of their total Medicare billing. The knowing how mobile people are, you really need to make this a national incentive will drop to 0.5% by 2013. Those who have not and eventually a global solution.” implemented a successful ePrescription program by 2012 will incur a payment reduction. developing the appropriate financial incentives to spur widespread adoption will help, and federal and state governments are working to create them. (See sidebar at right, “State and federal governments Push eHealth Initiatives.”) tennessee, for example, has offered grants— medical history from a much more global standpoint,” says charlmain $3,500 per physician and $2,500 per midlevel health-care provider, Johnson, clinical director for centennial Pediatrics. “this is a wonderful such as a nurse practitioner—to medical practices that agree to opportunity for the practice to take much better care of our patients in join its eHealth exchange Zone. centennial Pediatrics, a practice a more efficient and safe way.” with 13 locations in central tennessee, is applying those grants to the cost of medical-records software it will need to connect to the that, of course, is the great promise of eHealth, and the reason that network sometime in 2009. “once we’re connected to that portal, government organizations and private entities alike are pursuing we’ll be able to access patients’ information and understand their its implementation. To read more about technological trends in health care and to find out how AT&T can meet your organization’s challenges, visit us at © 2008 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T and the AT&T logo are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property.