Embrace Ambiguity and Complexity When it Comes to Telehealth

The healthcare sector has embraced technology and continues to look for ways it can benefit providers, doctors, and patients.  One example of this deals with telehealth services as many are looking for ways to improve as well as making it more beneficial.  According to a senior director of telehealth services, she feels that one needs to embrace ambiguity and complexity for these services to become successful.

Source: healthcareglobal.com

The Challenges That Telehealth Faces

Before going any further, it is important to understand what telehealth refers to.  Telehealth involves a “distribution of health-related services and information via electronic information and telecommunication technologies.  It allows long distance patient/clinician contact and care, advice, reminders education intervention, monitoring and remote admissions.  As well as provider distance-learning; meetings, supervision, and presentations between practitioners; online information and health data management and healthcare system integration.

 The importance of telehealth was brought up in a recent article appearing in Health Tech Magazine and mentions when trying to acquire a twenty-four-hour care model, it is important for the industry to address first reimbursement as well as other issues that deals with virtual care.  During a discussion with a CEO of healthcare, the senior director of telehealth services at St. Luke’s Health System’s Krista Stadler noted the importance of six words that were said, “Passion for complexity, tolerance for ambiguity.”

Keeping these words on a sticky note that ever since has been kept on her desk, Stadler said that “That is telehealth in a nutshell.  There’s no book out there, and even if there were, it would be outdated in two months because it’s a rapidly evolving environment.”  She realizes that there are many challenges that nee to be dealt with that includes scheduling visits with remote patients and physicians, clinic nurses need to adapt workflows, equipment needs to be prechecked to ensure it is fully operational, health records needs to be managed, guaranteeing HIPAA compliance and being able to establish consent processes across facilities as well as compliant billing policies.

Source: nrtrc.org

Stadler points out that “Technology, although complex, is the easy part.  It is the building of processes that support the use of the technology that provide an additional level of scrutiny to ensure a safe, compliant and reliable program for the patient and provider.”  Sadly, adoption of telehealth continues to be relatively low, as pointed out in the College of Health Information Management Executives (CHIME) Most Wired annual survey.

The report notes that “While this may seem low compared to adoption of other capabilities, it is actually high given that virtual care is still developing, and few patients have participated in it.  The progress of virtual care may indicate that the industry is approaching around-the-clock connectivity as telehealth enables clinicians to provide more direct, more accessible care.”  Unfortunately, this model of twenty-four-hour care will not occur unless many of the stubborn issues are tackled that plague telehealth.

Top Challenge for Telehealth Programs is Reimbursement

Reimbursement is a complex issue that needs to be resolved.  Consider that in Alabama, the MainStreet Family Urgent Care is in the process of planning the rolling out of what it refers to as being micro clinics in far-flung parts of the state.  The clinics will be thoroughly prepared in staff, rooms and equipment to treat incoming patients; however, the challenge is getting Medicaid or insurance coverage with no onsite provider.

Betsy Stewart, the marketing director for MainStreet Family Urgent Care, said that “Cost is a huge factor.  It’s basically what’s limiting us.”  While MainStreet is pondering a self-pay option for the micro clinics, this becomes increasingly difficult as the rural areas the clinics are focusing on serving are economically depressed.

Source: healthcareglobal.com

Considered as a center of telehealth excellence, the University of Mississippi Medical Center has been working to build a research body influenced by telehealth and create a standard of the best practices.  Michael Adcock, UMMC’s Center for Telehealth executive director, said that “We’re trying to find out what works, what doesn’t work, how people can grow these programs and build programs that really work for the patient.”


Funding to Increase Access to Education, Workforce Training and Health Care Opportunities in Rural Communities

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that USDA is awarding grants for 128 projects to increase access to job training (PDF, 351 KB), healtheducational and health care services in rural areas.

“Empowering rural Americans with access to services for quality of life and economic development is critical to rural prosperity,” Secretary Perdue said. “Distance learning and telemedicine technology bridges the gap that often exists between rural communities and essential education, workforce training and health care resources.”

USDA is awarding $39.6 million through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program. More than 4.5 million residents in 40 states and three territories will benefit from the funding.

Below are summaries of some of USDA’s investments in rural communities:

  • Washburn University, in Kansas, is being awarded $349,213 to help provide resources to enable two-way interactive distance learning via video teleconferencing technology. The technology will help develop workplace skills that are increasingly needed in the modern, technical work environment. The resources provided through this investment will enable rural students across Kansas to obtain these skills. Additionally, this investment will be used to recruit and retain health care workers for rural communities. More than 3,700 students will have access to the educational opportunities provided with this project, including students in a high school in the Lawrence-Gardener Juvenile Corrections Center.
  • St. Anthony Hospital, in Oklahoma, is receiving $457,020 to help SSM Health Care of Oklahoma purchase telemedicine equipment to expand its Saints 1st Telehealth Network to serve up to 3,434 inpatients and 3,401 outpatients. This project will reduce time and expense for patients to access specialized medical services such as cardiology, endocrinology, pulmonology, ENT (ear, nose and throat), pediatric, hospitalist, primary care, and mental health care. Telemedicine links will be established at 12 hub/end-user locations in Beaver, Blaine, Custer, Garvin, Harper, Kiowa, Lincoln, Major, McClain, Washita and Woods counties. Project sites include nine rural hospitals and three rural physician practices. This project will significantly improve health care in the affected areas.

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.

To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.


More nursing students arrive at Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health

2018 Nipissing University Distant Learning Program

Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health, in Goderich, and Nipissing University are once again collaborating to provide placement for community projects as part of the Nipissing University Distance Learning Program.

This semester, a registered nurse and vice-president of the Gateway board of directors, Gwen Devereaux is mentoring two nursing students.

“We are very happy to assist our nursing students this year,” Devereaux said. “Gateway’s mission is to improve the health and quality of life of rural residents through research, education and communication. We are always interested in researching health issues relevant to our local community members. There is no better way than to assist our local health-care professionals to advance their education. Once again we have two very bright students and we are delighted to help.”

This is the third cohort of nursing students that Gateway has hosted. Devereaux stated she really enjoys assisting these ambitious and dedicated students who are working full time in our communities and at the same time, carrying out a study and placement program, that over five years will lead to a bachelor of science in nursing (BScN).

The two nursing students are:

Holly Al graduated from HealthKick’s local practical nursing program and began her nursing career in 2010 as a registered practical nurse (RPN) in Wingham & District Hospital. “The fact that I would be able to pursue a college education in a field I loved and was passionate about was very important,” Al said. “Being able to obtain my education locally was extremely instrumental in where I am today. To further develop my nursing career while working with the Listowel Wingham Hospitals Alliance, I returned to school to obtain my nursing degree (BScN Distance Learning Program) at Nipissing University. The opportunity to work with Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health to complete part of my program locally, means everything.”

Stefani Hickmott is currently working on her third year of the bachelor of nursing degree from Nipissing University.

“I completed a bachelor of health science (2005) from Western University and the practical nursing program (2013) from Georgian College, through HealthKick in Huron County. I am currently working as a RPN at AMGH (Alexandra Marine and General Hospital) while completing my community nursing semester. I am excited to be working for four months with Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health.”


HSSC Group D Admit Card Released, Direct Link Here

HSSC Group D Admit Card Released, Direct Link Here

HSSC group D admit cards are available online now. The Haryana Staff Selection Commission (HSSC) has released the group D admit cards today for the exams scheduled to be held on November 10 and November 11, 2018. As of now, the official website of HSSC is not responding. Candidates are suggested to wait for a while and retry later. Soon after downloading the group D admit card, candidates are suggested to go through the entries made. Candidates should read the instructions properly before going to the exam hall.

HSSC Group D Admit Card 2018: Know How, Where To Download

Or else, candidates can also download the HSSC admit card, application number wise here:

“It is for the information of all concerned candidates that the Admit card for Group-D Post against Advt. No. 4/2018, Cat. No. 01 for dates 10.11.2018 and 11.11.2018 will be made available on Commission’s website from 2.11.2018,” reads the official notification. Candidates can download the HSSC group D admit card using their registration ID and password details. A total of 18218 Group D vacancies which will be filled through this recruitment process.

For recruitment to the Group D posts, HSSC will select candidates on the basis of a Written Examination which will comprise a total of 90 marks and Socio-Economic criteria and experience (10 marks).

The written examination will comprise of questions from General Awareness, Reasoning, Maths, Science, English, Hindi. This section will carry a weightage of 75%. Rest 25% weightage will be for History, Current Affairs, Literature, Geography, Civics, Environment, Culture etc. of Haryana. Candidates should check the official notification for the written exam syllabus and pattern.