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Transforming Health Care with Telehealth

Submitted by on 06 Oct 2011 – 11:45

Telehealth ServicesMunir Ismet, Vice-President of Sales, EMEA, Public Sector, Health Care and Life Sciences, Hewlett Packard

A perfect storm is demanding healthcare transformation: an aging population; fewer clinicians; escalating costs; government reform; and digital-savvy patients who seek greater empowerment. In a world where two-thirds of healthcare spending is for chronic disease management, care cannot afford to end after a hospital stay. Today, providers are responsible for integrated health management: care must foster ongoing wellness.

The result is a sea change in how care is coordinated, delivered, and paid. The performance-based and population-based reimbursement models are forcing hospitals, physicians, and other care providers to orchestrate care beyond the four walls of their institutions. Providers embracing telehealth strategies have the opportunity to reduce costs and hospital readmissions, improve the speed and quality of care, extend coverage to underserved populations, and increase patient empowerment and wellness. Extending the reach of healthcare requires organization among care teams and patients, and therefore necessitates large scale, many-to-many synchronization. Moreover, care providers must seamlessly shift between physical and virtual interactions. Systems designed to support telehealth practices must ease coordination, readily scale, and meet the ever-evolving needs of both patients and providers.

There are a variety of telemedicine vendors on the market today. And although healthcare organizations have invested in telemedicine technology (broadband network and videoconferencing equipment), adoption and usage rates are low. These issues commonly stem from:

• A failure to transcend inter-enterprise barriers of different IT systems and business processes

• The complexity and lack of sufficient financial incentives involved in getting providers to participate in the network

• A lack of process and management tools

• Inability to scale as the network grows

• The expense involved

With HP V-Health, Providers can offer a unique flexible infrastructure that enables care workers to build their own telemedicine protocols, manage their own resources and referrals, and create their own educational material, all within a centrally managed, scalable environment. This bottom-up approach, coupled with centralized service management, improves reliability and lowers the costs of delivering telemedicine events while increasing care workers sense of value and trust, which in turn increases utilization.