Healthcare Dive: VA Proposes Innovative Telehealth Strategy To Treat Veterans

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By Shannon Muchmore/Healthcare Dive

Dive Brief:

  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has released a proposed rule that would allow its healthcare providers to treat patients anywhere through telehealth, regardless of state laws.
  • The proposed rule would bring about change more quickly than legislation introduced earlier this year that would also waive state telemedicine laws for VA physicians. The Veterans E-Health and Telemedicine Support (VETS) Act has been referred to the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
  • Health IT Now Executive Director Joel White said he supports both the proposed rule and the VETS Act. “This proposed rule will be instrumental in breaking down geographic barriers that, for too long, have prevented our nation’s heroes from accessing the care they need where they need it,” he said in a statement.

The VA says its proposed rule is needed for the agency to continue growing its telehealth services, which are particularly crucial for veterans who need mental health care.

The VA has been quite active on the telehealth front recently, as it works to improve care for veterans in rural areas and remove hurdles to accessing care. It comes in the wake of the agency’s scandals from the past few years, which included care quality lapses, excessive appointment wait times and falsified records…

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Washingtonian: Virtual Reality is Coming Soon to a Hospital Near You

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By Caroline Cunningham/Washingtonian

The patient is lying on the table in front of me, bright fluorescent lights shining down on her blood-stained clothes. I know she’s been in a car accident, but I have no idea of the extent of the damage yet.

I step closer to the table and glance at her vitals on the screen next to her. My scrubs-clad team stands nearby, waiting for my instructions. I wonder where to begin, trying to shut out the sounds of the emergency room around me.

Suddenly, the patient begins to convulse—she’s vomiting. If I don’t make a move soon, she’ll choke and die. Her skin is turning a sickly bluish-gray.

Finally, I remember what I’m supposed to say: “Check for breathing.” One of the doctors jumps forward to follow my command.

Gently, I lift the goggles off my eyes, blinking as I come back to reality. The ER, the patient, and the other doctors have all vanished, and I’m standing in the MedStar Institute for Innovation office, surrounded by the people who built this virtual-reality program from scratch.

With the help of headphones, a microphone, VR goggles, a handset controller, and laser sensors on the wall that followed my every move, I’d been thrust into an “emergency” where the commands I gave and the clinical decisions I made determined whether the patient lived or died…

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HealthCare Dive: 3 Steps We Can Take to Transform the Health Care Industry

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By Constance Sjoquist/HealthCare Dive

It will come as no surprise that the healthcare ecosystem is disorganized and increasingly destabilizing.

Key stakeholders have made countless claims that healthcare is broken. Payers, providers, employers, government, pharma, startups and investors have competing interests, priorities and methods of working.

Three steps that healthcare stakeholders can take to drive healthcare transformation.

There is much discussion about the innovation and transformation that needs to materialize, as the necessary collaboration amongst stakeholders to achieve this is rare.

There is no one magic bullet to revolutionize the industry, but there are strategies that can result in significant change.

Following are three steps that healthcare stakeholders – and the industry collectively – can take to drive healthcare transformation:

1. Learn from other industries
Healthcare lags in comparison to other industries when it comes to integrating and deploying innovative technologies. To catch up, healthcare must take pages out of other industry playbooks, particularly the playbooks that finance, travel and retail have used to radically change and improve the way they operate…

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Have you visited My Quality Insights lately? If not, you’re missing out on our latest tool to help you combat cardiac disease in your patient population.

The Million Hearts® 2022 Cardiac Kit is the first in a series of electronic packages that includes a recorded educational message, the slide deck shown in the recorded message, a transcript of the recording and any relevant patient and staff educational resources.

This first Cardiac Kit features Million Hearts® Executive Director Dr. Janet Wright discussing how preventing a million heart attacks and strokes is possible. The 19-minute recording is accompanied by links to sample blood pressure protocols and the printable 7 Simple Tips to Get an Accurate BP Reading flyer.

Visit the Cardiac Health Community of My Quality Insights today to check out our first Cardiac Kit. Don’t have a My Quality Insights login? See the list of state-based team members below – your local contact can help you get access.

Yelp Me? What Millenials’ Online Shopping Habits Means For Health Care Providers

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By Meg Bryant/Healthcare Dive

With out-of-pocket costs for healthcare rising, more consumers are shopping for their medical care and comparing reviews.

Younger people, the demographic known as millenials, have grown up with online rating sites like Yelp, Trip Advisor and TestFreaks and expect the same smooth, connected experience with healthcare they find in other areas of their lives.

And with patient satisfaction now playing a role in how hospitals and doctors get paid, providers can no longer afford to ignore online comments and star ratings.

According to an ongoing athenahealth study, patients’ ratings on Yelp and other sites match HCAHPS survey results and should be taken seriously and responded to…

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Healthcare Dive: Robots or Not, Futurists Predict Health Care Will Embrace Automation, Machine Learning

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This article is part of a series on the future of healthcare work.

By Jeff Byers/Healthcare Dive

The future is never executed exactly how it’s envisioned. Using pop culture texts as examples, hoverboards didn’t hit the mass market by 2015 as Back to the Future II had implied, but there is still time to reach The Jetsons’ flying cars by 2062 (I wouldn’t bet on it, though).

The reality is many futurists currently seek to conquer boring activities in hopes to make our daily lives easier. It’s this sobering thought many in healthcare industry should square against the hype and promise that’s sweeping the industry over artificial intelligence and machine learning.

There is potential to make workflows more efficient with machine learning and automation.

Though artificial intelligence hasn’t become deeply seeded in the healthcare industry (it is just still recovering from adopting EHRs on the whole), there is potential to make workflows more efficient with machine learning and automation.

As hospitals and health systems are largely fixed costs businesses, administrators are no doubt interested in tech that prove ROI. Some wonder or worry if these new tools will lead to unintended consequences such as the loss of jobs.

Many experts dismiss this concern, believing new technology will — interestingly — alleviate burden and allow clinicians to return to their patients, rather than planting their faces in screens.

Providers are still exploring the space (many are looking into readmission use cases) but considerations over liability still need to be firmed up as the industry enters this brave new world…

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