Tag Archives: telehealth

How Apple’s Health Records Could Reshape Patient Engagement

Dignity Health’s chief digital officer explains why he thinks Apple can succeed for population health and precision medicine efforts where other PHR launches have not.

By Mike Miliard     April 18, 2018     09:46 AM

As a longtime collaborator with Apple – since before it even beta-tested its Health Records project, live now at 39 hospitals – San Francisco-based Dignity Health is in sync with the iPhone developer’s vision, said Shez Partovi, MD.

screensnap of Apple's personal health record feature with iOS 11.3.
A screensnap of Apple’s personal health record feature with iOS 11.3.

“We had been working with Apple prior to their initial announcement for some time,” said Partovi, chief digital officer and senior vice president of digital transformation at Dignity Health. “We’d been working with them for a while because we’re aligned in our philosophies of empowering patients by giving them their data.”

As part of the Health Records launch, Dignity will leverage HL7’s FHIR standard to securely move patients’ health data from own electronic health record system to the iPhones of patients using iOS 11.3 – enabling them manage meds, labs, allergies, conditions and more, and notifying them when the health system makes changes to their health information.

[Also: Apple reveals 39 hospitals to launch Apple Health Records]

“When you think of personalized medicine, you can think about caring for yourself in two dimensions,” said Partovi. “There’s care management, where a health system or physician or team is managing your care, and there’s self-management.”

For those patients managing an illness or a chronic condition, “a big part of your life is self-managing that condition,” he said.

Luckily, nowadays there are “more and more tools out there that will be enhanced if they have your data.” A tool like Apple’s Health Records, that puts valuable EHR data right onto a person’s smartphone, can only be a boon.

“That, for us, has always been the philosophy,” said Partovi. “We recognize that a lot of care happens outside the four walls of a health system. And we believe that for healthy populations we need to give patients their data.”

Picking up where Google left off

The idea of personal health record is nothing new, of course. Most providers offer at least a basic patient portal that can be accessed via computer or smartphone, although utilization of them remains underwhelming.


Smartphone Apps Reduce Depression

September 22, 2017

New Australian-led research has confirmed that smartphone apps are an effective treatment option for depression, paving the way for safe and accessible interventions for the millions of people around the world diagnosed with this condition.

screen shot of smartphone app for treating drepression for article, Smartphone apps reduce depressionDepression is the most prevalent mental disorder and a leading cause of global disability, with mental health services worldwide struggling to meet the demand for treatment.

In an effort to tackle this rising challenge, researchers from Australia’s National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM), Harvard Medical School, The University of Manchester, and the Black Dog Institute in Australia examined the efficacy of smartphone-based treatments for depression.

The researchers systematically reviewed 18 randomised controlled trials which examined a total of 22 different smartphone-delivered mental health interventions.

The studies involved more than 3400 male and female participants between the ages of 18-59 with a range of mental health symptoms and conditions including major depression, mild to moderate depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and insomnia.

The first of its kind research, published today in World Psychiatry found that overall smartphone apps significantly reduced people’s depressive symptoms, suggesting these new digital therapies can be useful for managing the condition.

Lead author of the paper, NICM postdoctoral research fellow Joseph Firth says this was an important finding which presented a new opportunity for providing accessible and affordable care for patients who might not otherwise have access to treatment.

“The majority of people in developed countries own smartphones, including younger people who are increasingly affected by depression,” said Mr Firth.

“Combined with the rapid technological advances in this area, these devices may ultimately be capable of providing instantly accessible and highly effective treatments for depression, reducing the societal and economic burden of this condition worldwide.”
Continue reading Smartphone Apps Reduce Depression

New Study Highlights The Importance Of Telemedicine

A recent study from Canada Health Infoway adds to the mounting evidence that telemedicine, specifically virtual visits and consults via video conferencing actually offer value to both the patient and the provider.

Infoway, a Canadian federal non-profit whose mission it is to advance mobile hillustration of telemedicine for article about Canadian study shows value of telemedicine visits to patients, cliniciansealth, worked with researchers from the University of British Columbia to conduct surveys and interviews with clinicians and patients participating in virtual visits.

Lead author of the study Kimberlyn McGrail stated:

“The patient survey results clearly show that virtual visits can be a way to offer patient-centered care. Whether we realize that potential depends critically on how these services are integrated into existing care delivery.”

They found that virtual visits increased access to care for patients with most saving travel time and avoiding work absence. Many may have reservation about online security, but 91 percent of participants of the study said that they were confident their information was secure. And 57 % stated that they avoided a physical trip to the doctor altogether.

iMedicalApps has covered other recent studies that support these findings, like one that showed e-consults improved access to infectious disease care and high satisfaction ratings in pediatric care.

While the study comes from Canada where access to care in remote parts of the country is a problem, access to care even in urban areas around the world is a problem and a good reason for more investment in telemedicine.


Telemedicine – A Primer

By |

illustration of telemedicineIt’s among the hottest topics in work comp these days.

Telemedicine will be one of – if not the – most disruptive force in workers’ compensation medical care. Companies such as CHC Telehealth, Go2Care, and AmericanWell are moving rapidly, adopting different business models in an effort to gain first mover advantage.

Looking for a broader perspective, I recently had the chance to interview Jonathan Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association. Here’s what he had to say…

MCM – What service types/specialties are embracing telemedicine most rapidly?  Why those?

JL – It covers the gamut from primary care to urgent care, but there are some popular specialties – mental health, behavioral health, neurology – stroke care, ICU/CCU. Dermatology is one of the earlier adopters and radiology via remote reading of images has become a standard in the industry

The greatest increase in the number of services has been via consultations with online providers, Intensive Care monitoring either continuously or in evening hours (30% of ICU beds are hooked up to remote monitoring) and remote monitoring of chronic care.

Slower adopters include surgery, although that is changing with some robotics and oversight/proctoring from specialists from a distance.

[Telemedicine is now being used for] Initial or follow-up visits with providers. Online consults are growing quite significantly with 1.2 million services delivered to 750,000 members in 2016. Possible stroke victims are being assessed by neurologists remotely today.

In terms of the largest number of people served, the top specialty is radiology where 7 – 10 million pictures are read remotely followed by cardiology with remote monitoring.

Continue reading Telemedicine – A Primer

Incorporating Telemedicine into Workers’ Compensation Care

By Safety National 12/02/2016

telemedcine logo graphicTelemedicine is a hot topic with lots of discussion around its potential to favorably impact workers’ compensation by improving medical care access, but to what extent is it actually feasible today? This session at the 2016 National Workers’ Compensation & Disability Conference featured viewpoints from an employer, vendor and carrier.

Speakers included: Ann Schnure, VP Risk Management – Claims, Macy’s, Jill Allen, President & CEO, Consumer Health Connections and Paul Morizzo, Provider Networks Manager, Missouri Employers Mutual

Telemedicine is the next generation of managing injured workers’ medical care and claims. In fact, the telehealth industry is predicted to grow to $34 billion by 2020. Industry experts also estimate that, by 2018, 80% of employers will be offering a telehealth benefit to employees.

The industry has been slow to embrace telehealth, possibly due to worries that employees will not want to do it, the installation of equipment will be costly, or the preconceived notion that today’s telemedicine product are only for triage.

Employer’s Viewpoint

Macy’s uncovered that injured employees sent to occupational clinics were returning to work without attending follow-up visits. Employee excuses ranged from no time, limited transportation and that they were recovered, so did not feel the need. Macy’s wanted to fix these problems. They reviewed several telehealth options that either did not work for their employee population or to where they couldn’t justify the ROI. Continue reading Incorporating Telemedicine into Workers’ Compensation Care

Telemedicine Companies See Mental Health As Next Frontier

Bruce Japsen, Contributor

telepsychiatryTelemedicine companies that have been landing a flurry of new contracts with employers and insurers to provide less expensive and more convenient medical consultations with physicians are now adding mental health services for their customers.

MDLive, Teladoc and American Well are among the telehealth firms getting into the business of offering access to psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists via smartphone, tablet and computer as the nation grapples with a rising rate of suicides, opioid addiction and other mental health issues.

The companies see a huge growth opportunity, with more Americans suffering mental health conditions than common medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Meanwhile, less than 50% of Americans who are prescribed medications to treat mental health conditions take them as directed, if at all, according to industry reports and Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Teladoc is among the telemedicine companies pushing into mental health services, offering consultations with therapies, psychiatrists and psychologists via computer, smartphone and tablet. (Teladoc photo)

American Well in July is rolling out a new “telepsychiatry” service it expects to have in seven states by August and the rest of the country by the end of the year.

“Every year, nearly one in four adults will deal with a mental health disorder, yet less than half of these individuals will actually receive treatment,” said Zereana Jess-Huff, vice president of behavioral health at American Well.
Continue reading Telemedicine Companies See Mental Health As Next Frontier

Shoulder Surgery? There’s an App for That!

Study tests a postoperative app platform for day surgery patients

JMIR Guest Contribution | December 8, 2015

The Development of RAPP: A Mobile Phone Application for Post-Operative Recovery Monitoring and Assessment

App for post operative surgery patients1. What was the motivation behind your study?
There is a current lack of a standardised follow-up after discharge when undergoing day surgery. Day surgery is a high-quality, safe and cost-effective approach and it is fast becoming the norm for nearly all elective surgery. These practices still leave many patients feeling insecure, worried, and lonely after discharge due to a lack of feedback and information regarding normality and relevant expectations during the recovery process leading to unexpected visits to health care providers and hospital re-admissions. Systematic follow up will enhance patients´ self-care capability and knowledge about managing their own health and recovery.

2. Describe your study
This paper describes the development process of a web-based application Recovery Assessment by Phone Points (RAPP) — a post operative app platform. The development included five steps:
setting up an interdisciplinary task force evaluating the potential needs of app users developing the Swedish web version of a quality of recovery questionnaire constructing a smartphone application
evaluating the interface and design by staff working in a day-surgery department and patients undergoing day surgery.
RAPP consists of two parts: a smartphone app installed on the patient’s private smartphone, and an administrator interface for the researchers.

3. What were the results of the study?
The evaluation of the interface and design led to some minor adjustments concerning text size and screen color. The visual analogue scale (0-10), on which the items were answered, was clarified and was made easier to answer by only touching the line and the dot on line was programmed to go back to neutral, 5, each time a new question was shown. Overall, that the app was considered easy to use, understand, and navigate by both patients and personnel. A web based app including The Swedish web-based Quality of Recovery (SWQoR) can be installed and functional in patients own smartphones.

4. What is the main point that readers should take away from this study?

Taking advantage of joint expertise, a usable web-based app adaptable to different technical platforms was constructed. In addition, the SWQoR was successfully transferred into digital format for use on mobile phones.


Mood Tracker App Helping Veterans and Service Members

Douglas Maurer, DO/MPH/FAAFP | November 18, 2015

Mood Tracker AppSince 9/11, the country has been at war. This longest conflict in US history has resulted in an enormous number of active duty soldiers and veterans with mental health concerns.

Part of the response to these issues was the creation of numerous apps by the Department of Defense National Center for Telehealth and Technology (AKA T2). These apps are targeted for both patients and providers and cover topics ranging from depression, insomnia and post-traumatic stress disorder to traumatic brain injury and resiliency.

One of the most popular apps they have released to date has been T2 Mood Tracker. Previously on iMedicalApps we reviewed an unrelated app developed by a patient with bipolar disorder called Mood Watch.

T2 Mood Tracker was developed by psychologists at T2 and has become popular with civilian as well as military and veteran patients. The purpose of the app is to provide patients the ability to track their mood and behavior in order to identify trends or triggers.

The data is ideal for patients receiving cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as the data can track mood between visits and can be shared with their healthcare providers. This is an app that can get into a patient’s “white space”–the time when patients are NOT with a healthcare provider (approximately 525,000 minutes per year).

There is not a lot of robust data for mood tracker, but the DOD has performed some research using T2 Mood Tracker with service members and veterans. One published study showed the app was “beneficial, easy to use, and useful” and was useful for PTSD symptoms, chronic health conditions and bipolar symptoms.

The app allows patients to record their mood via multiple categories such as anxiety, depression, stress, etc. In each category, patients can adjust simple sliders for common mood questions and add more detailed notes. All of this information can be tracked and graphed on the app.

The data can be saved offline by patients and or shared with providers. All of the data is “sandboxed” on the device and cannot be “seen” by anyone but the patient without their deliberately doing so.


59% of Large Employers Expected to Offer Telemedicine in 2015

By Safety National










At the 2015 Workers’Compensation Educational Conference in
Orlando, a panel discussed telemedicine and its potential application in the workers’ compensation space.

The panel consisted of: Bill Lewis, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Concentra Medical Centers, Steve Shaya, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Health Net Connect, Sri Mummaneni, M.D., Chief Health Officer, Opus Telehealth

Telemedicine is being utilized more and more in healthcare models throughout the United States:

  • 59% of large employers are expected to offer telemedicine in 2015
  • Many national health plans offer telemedicine to employers
  • The VA and Department of Defense have adopted telemedicine.
  • 43 Medicaid programs currently reimburse some forms of telemedicine services

In spite of this, workers’ compensation has been a slow adopter of telemedicine.

Are we addressing patient needs?

  • 37% of rural patients do not have easy access to medical care, which is something telemedicine helps to resolve.
  • Telemedicine would also allow a primary physician to immediately consult with an specialist during the appointment. This would significantly speed up treatment delivery to the patient.
  • Consumers are gaining awareness with telehealth and mHealth options and have interest in using them for individual health and as a means for their health providers to have up-to-the-minute updates on their health status.
  • Chronic disease management is increasingly reliant on telehealth tools to engage the patient and provider.

How can we enhance relationship with key stakeholders?


Is Sweden Ready for Digital and Virtual Care?

healthcare worker manipulating a virtual screenSweden’s healthcare system is regar- ded as one of the best in the world, with it ranking highly in relation to health outcomes and quality of care1. We are however living in a changing society with new needs and rising healthcare costs driven by an ageing population and increasing incidence of chronic disease.

In order to effectively meet these emerging challenges, healthcare must become more efficient and patient-centered. The shift beyond digital to virtual care has the potential not just to modernise the healthcare system and “do better with less” in terms of public resources and tax money, but to also improve quality and access to health services for a population with increa- sing expectations for seamless care.

Digitalisation of care is the new black

While the last few decades have seen other industries such as banking and retail becoming more efficient and consumer-centric through the use of technology, the healthcare sector is just beginning to realise the benefits of the digitalisation.

Through a survey we conducted in spring 2015, 1,034 Swedes provided us with their perspectives on digital and innovative care solutions. Their answers reveal that there is an open- ness of Swedes to use new digital and virtual care, as well as a willingness to receive care with the help of modern technologies:

1. OECD Reviews of Health Care Quality Sweden 2013

4 PwC • 2015

  • Over 40% of respondents are open to virtual care and DIY (do-it-yourself) solutions over traditional care options.
  • 33% are open to having a live visit with a physician via a smart-phone application.
  • 20% would be willing to receive care via videocalls.
  • 74% said yes to being monitored virtually via a wireless heart moni- tor if the situation called for it.
  • 43% believe that virtual care can lead to faster access to care.
  • Only 6 % were most concerned about privacy in relation to virtual care; in contrast, 41% voiced the qu- ality of care as their biggest concern.

    © 2015 PricewaterhouseCoopers