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MedTrans Options in preparing for rollout of its telemedicine network in the State of Ohio over the past 12 months enjoyed the embrace and support from a wide base of experienced health care and medical professionals and the nation's most talented manufacturers and distributers that are involved in innovation and building creative solutions for the affordable delivery of services to all Americans. In our research we uncovered the foundation pieces where support for delivering affordable health care of the future is based. It comes as no suprise that a few companies have the edge, that spark opening up new directions, and providing ideas, resources, and talent that can inspire and drive the birth of new models for continuing ideals that make America unique.

If you want to know where MedTrans Options is going, follow these links to where it has been and learn about the companies that helped it to realize its quest and build the gold stantard in telemedicine infrastructure, telemedicine diagnostic assessment equipment, and telemedicine furnishings and delivery vehicles that is not only both innovative and creative, but just have to experience it.

Take a peek at our list of innovators that helps us make real our belief that Telemedicine brings and supports LIFE at the last mile:

The Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization and a medical practice and medical research group located in 3 metropolis areas: Rochester, Minnesota, Scottsdale/Phoenix, Arizona, and Jacksonville, Florida, along with Mayo Clinic Hospitals and some satellite healthcare and research facilities in and near those cities (such as a few nearby satellite primary healthcare facilities). It is an integral part of the larger Mayo Health System of clinics, hospitals and medical research facilities and schools consisting of Mayo Clinic, Mayo Medical School, the Mayo Graduate School, the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, and several other health science Mayo Clinic partners with a number of smaller clinics and hospitals in Minnesota, Iowa, Arizona, Florida, and Wisconsin. Mayo Clinic specializes in hard-to-treat diseases, and is known for innovative and effective treatments for diseases that had gone undiagnosed or under-treated in the same patients with other doctors. Mayo Clinic is known for being at the top of most accredited quality standard listings. For example, it has been near the top of the US News and World Report of Best Hospitals for 20 years . It accomplishes high medical quality through values such as "The needs of the patient always come first", by coordinating the efforts of its entire group of doctors, and by devoting over 40% of its resources towards research (rather than just medical practice).


is a multinational corporation with more than 2,700 employees worldwide and an annual revenue of approximately $967 million in 2009. The company manufacturers and sells telepresence and voice communications solutions.

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Polycom offers the best way for Healthcare providers to increase their level of patient care, control costs, address staffing shortages, serve rural patients and keep pace with the competition. Only Polycom offers a portfolio of end-to-end, scalable, secure, award-winning Unified Collaborative (UC) solutions.

  • Increase productivity of healthcare professionals
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  • Improve patient care with mobility solutions


formerly known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation based in Maplewood, Minnesota, a suburb of St. Paul.

With over 76,000 employees they produce over 55,000 products, including: adhesives, abrasives, laminates, passive fire protection, dental products, electronic materials, electronic circuits and optical films. 3M has operations in more than 60 countries – 29 international companies with manufacturing operations, and 35 with laboratories. 3M products are available for purchase through distributors and retailers in more than 200 countries, and many 3M products are available online directly from the company.

"Innovative solutions - from a trusted supplier - for better health" We're a global leader offering innovative products and solutions for medical, oral care, health information management, drug delivery and food safety. We leverage 3M technology, world-class manufacturing and global reach to provide trusted products that help promote health and improve the quality, cost and outcomes of care.

Herman Miller

based in Zeeland, Michigan, is an American manufacturer of office furniture and equipment, as well as modern furniture for the home. It is notable as one of the first companies to produce modern furniture, and the manufacturer of the Equa chair, Aeron chair, and Eames Lounge Chair. Herman Miller is credited with the invention of the office cubicle (originally known as the "Action Office") under the vision of then-director of research Bob Propst, in 1968.


is an international health care information technology corporation that specializes in providing complete systems for hospitals and other medical organizations to manage and integrate all electronic medical records, Computer physician order entry (CPOE) and financial information.

Cerner is the largest provider of electronic medical systems in the United States

Welch Allyn

was founded in 1915 and is a manufacturer of medical diagnostic devices, cardiac defibrillators, patient monitoring systems, and miniature precision lamps. Headquartered in Skaneateles, New York, USA, Welch Allyn employs more than 2,300 people and has manufacturing, sales, and distribution facilities located throughout the world.

A fourth generation family-owned business headquartered less than ten miles from where it was founded in 1915,[1] Welch Allyn is still family owned and based primarily in the United States. According to the Center for Family-Owned Business, only 30% of family businesses make it to second generation, and only 10% of family businesses make it all the way to the third generation. [2] Currently, the company has two fourth generation family members involved as executives helping to manage day-to-day operations, and three fourth generation family members serving on the board of directors. [3] Welch Allyn produces 90% of the medical diagnostic equipment sold in the United States.

Welch Allyn has been named one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For by Fortune Magazine


Researchers Question Security of Implanted Medical Devices

Researchers warn that hackers could gain access and remotely control medical devices that transmit wireless signals, such as insulin pumps, pacemakers and cardiac defibrillators, CNN reports.Over the past few years, computer scientists have been working to develop additional safeguards to protect patients from the potentially life-threatening consequences of hacked medical devices.

FDA Regulation

Some people are urging FDA to increase its regulation of wireless medical devices to help avoid potential hacking.FDA spokesperson Karen Riley declined to comment on whether FDA would apply stricter regulations on such devices. She added that manufacturers hold primary responsibility for ensuring the security of wireless medical devices.

Wendy Dougherty -- spokesperson for implantable medical device manufacturer Medtronic -- said Medtronic is willing to work with FDA to create "formal device security guidelines." However, she added that the risk of someone hacking into a wireless medical device is "extremely low" (Sutter, CNN, 4/19).

Reader Comments:

  • 04/21/2010
  • Kel Mohror

Lost or stolen USB drives, laptop computers, desktop computers, and other IT ensure ongoing PHI breaches. PHI now includes the internet addresses of implanted devices, addresses that are open doors that allow potentially-life threatening changes in device specifications, parameters, and fail-safe limits. "Criminal negligence" will be combined with "malpractice" when breaches include implanted device internet protocol information.

Health Information Exchanges -- To Lead or To Follow

by Protima Advani

As hospitals continue to wait for the final definition of "meaningful use" one year after passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, one critical requirement outlined in the HITECH Act is off the table for now -- Health Information Exchanges.

Recognizing the lack of or inadequate state-level infrastructure needed to facilitate health information exchange between regional care providers, CMS' recently proposed meaningful use definition does not require hospitals to participate in HIEs to demonstrate meaningful use in Stage 1. However, future stages of meaningful use will not offer such concessions -- hospitals aiming to collect the federal incentives associated with meaningful use will have to actively participate in HIEs.

State-Driven ExchangesTo accelerate exchange efforts regionally, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT recently released $386 million in grants to assist states and state-designated entities with HIE development. Of these grants, $162 million was awarded to 16 states and qualified state-designated entities just last week. However, dollars alone won't compensate for the competitive dynamics that have prevented regional providers from sharing information. Hospitals view their patient data as a critical asset, and collaborating and exchanging data with competing facilities often seems unfathomable.

This is where state-driven exchange initiatives will be critical to wiring the community; however, this process will undoubtedly take longer and be plagued with local politics. Worse yet, even when states bring HIEs online, they will likely cater to the lowest common denominator of data that all participants can electronically capture and exchange. And these state-level HIEs will be just as vulnerable to the all too common problem of financial sustainability that derailed exchange efforts across the last decade.

Without a sustainable business model wherein the benefits realized by the participants outweigh the costs of exchange, state-level HIEs run the risk of dying a premature death when the grant dollars dry up because exchange participants will be unwilling to pay for ongoing operations.

Hospital-Driven Exchanges

In contrast, hospitals that invest in platforms for exchange with physician offices and other post-acute care facilities stand to gain a competitive advantage in their local markets. For starters, hospital-led exchanges are more likely to come online sooner because the hospital is driving the effort between its affiliated care providers. In addition, hospital-led efforts are also more likely to be financially sustainable because the hospital has strategic reasons for making the investment unlike state-driven initiatives, which are driven by federal mandates, rely on grant dollars and often lack a solid business case for exchange.

Furthermore, connectivity between the hospital, physician practices and other affiliated providers across the community will enable all clinicians to easily access a much richer set of patient data at the bed side than the limited data set available through the state-level HIE, reducing unnecessary delays in care and improving quality. More importantly, these investments in data exchange will lay the foundation necessary for hospitals to succeed under payment reform, wherein providers across the continuum will be collectively responsible for coordinating patient care to improve outcomes and reduce costs.

In fact, one could argue that HIEs are uniquely positioned to provide transparency into patient records necessary to facilitate treatment coordination between providers across the continuum. And the benefits of HIEs are not limited to better access to information in a timely manner.

Successful HIEs have expanded their scope of services to realize economies of scale through shared services like quality reporting and electronic prescribing, as well as to capitalize on their collaboration through improvements in payer contracting and reductions in malpractice premiums. With a clear short- and long-term value proposition for sharing information with local providers, the question for hospitals should no longer be whether to invest in HIEs but when.

Keys to HIE Success

That said, HIE development is no small undertaking and hospitals considering such an investment must consider the following key planning elements:

  • Automation levels of affiliated providers -- Benefiting from information exchange across the delivery network is only possible if physician practices and other affiliated providers in the community are operating in the electronic world. Unfortunately, a majority of the smaller physician practices have yet to adopt an electronic health record system, and many of the other post-acute care facilities might not be wired either, leaving hospitals with a larger investment decision around whether or not to subsidize EHRs for these affiliated providers.

  • Short- and long-term goals of exchange -- Most hospitals driving local exchange efforts only consider the near-term objective of efficiently sharing patient information with other care providers in the community -- basically replacing the traditional results mailing process with an electronic delivery service. While a valuable starting point for securing participation in exchanges, such a narrow vision precludes the hospital from selecting the right technology solution that might be leveraged to support future stages of HIE development, and thus fails to optimize the value of the hospital's investment. To that end, having clear short- and long-term plans for the HIE is critical to getting the maximum bang for the hospital's investment buck.

  • Metrics of success -- The upfront and ongoing costs associated with HIEs are significant, and unless hospitals can quantify the value of the strategic advantage they hope to capture from driving local exchange efforts, they should resist such massive endeavors. Undoubtedly, HIEs facilitate convenient and timely access to patient information across care settings, thus improving care delivery at the bedside and subsequently reducing costs. However, today these benefits are often realized by the payers instead of the exchange participants. While payment reform will shift some of these benefits back to providers that effectively collaborate on patient care through information sharing, hospitals driving HIE development today must identify tangible benefits in the near term to justify their investment.

  • Local exchange efforts in process -- While hospitals might be interested in establishing their own exchange with affiliated providers for competitive reasons, understanding current exchange efforts in their market and at the state-level will be critical to avoiding failure. At the state level, understanding the implementation timeline, participation requirements and technology solution for the state-driven exchanges will allow the hospital to maintain the flexibility necessary to connect its proprietary exchange to the state-led HIE, thereby allowing the hospital's exchange participants to easily meet state exchange requirements. And at the local market level, unless the hospital is the first mover, it runs the risk of offering a solution that fragments physician workflows as they search for patient information in the hospital-run HIE in addition to the exchange solution offered by the hospital's competitor. In such an instance, the hospital may be better off partnering with the competing provider to offer physicians seamless access to patient information through a common exchange platform. Such a partnership does not force the hospital to share its patient data with the competing provider, but allows the hospital to realize the benefits of connectivity with affiliated providers without sinking significant dollars to reinvent the wheel.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

FCC Unveils U.S. Broadband Plan Promoting Health IT, Telehealth

On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission released a National Broadband Plan outlining the agency's plans for extending high-speed broadband services nationwide and boosting health IT connectivity, Government Health IT reports.

The 2009 federal economic stimulus package directed FCC to develop the broadband extension plan (Robinson, Government Health IT, 3/16).

Health IT Provisions

The plan includes 11 recommendations for using broadband networks to spur greater use of electronic health records, health data exchanges and telemedicine.In the plan's health care chapter,

FCC recommends:

  • Allocating at least $29 million annually for the Indian Health Service to upgrade its broadband services;
  • Establishing a Health Care Broadband Infrastructure Fund to help defray health care delivery costs in underserved areas;
  • Extending broadband grants to nursing homes, health care administrative offices, health care data centers and other locations;
  • Increasing federal reimbursements for telemedicine and eliminating barriers to the technology by updating certain rules; and
  • Partnering with FDA to clarify regulatory and approval requirements for devices that have dual uses in communications and health care.

The American Telemedicine Association has indicated that it supports FCC's plan (Lipowicz, Federal Computer Week, 3/16).

Next Steps

FCC said it intends to begin formal comment proceedings on a portion of the plan that the agency can execute on its own.Other recommendations would be dependent on responses from Congress, and state and local governments (Government Health IT, 3/16).stopindex

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Defense Dept. Launches Telehealth Treatment for PTSD, Brain Injuries

The Department of Defense is launching a portable telehealth system that will allow physicians to use video teleconferencing equipment to treat U.S. Army soldiers who have post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injuries, NextGovreports.

According to NextGov, the Army has had difficulty providing such treatment because of distance and a lack of facilities.Soldiers will receive remote care by visiting an 8-by-20-foot unit that has three treatment rooms. Doctors will be able to communicate with the soldiers through the unit's computer network and teleconferencing system.

The National Center for Telehealth and Technology -- part of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury -- is testing the first transportable unit and will begin treating soldiers in American Samoa.The system also will be used to connect an Army Reserve unit in Iraq to a Veterans Affairs hospital in Honolulu (Brewin, NextGov, 3/22).stopindex

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Monitoring Tools Help Improve Chronic Disease Management

Remote patient monitoring tools are gaining increased attention as a strategy to lower health care costs and improve chronic disease care, Kaiser Health News/Washington Postreports.

Seniors and people with chronic conditions sometimes end up in hospital emergency departments if they forget to take their medications or if their condition is not properly monitored. In some cases, patients must move to nursing homes or assisted living facilities to receive continuous care.

In response to these challenges, home health care providers and others are launching new pilot programs to determine whether remote monitoring technology can help patients track their conditions at home.Such devices allow patients to take readings of their blood pressure, blood sugar, weight and other measures. The home monitoring tools then transmit this information to physicians, who check the data for any abnormal indications. The devices have received recent attention from technology companies such as General Electric and Intel.

Last spring, the two companies announced a $250 million joint investment to develop wireless tools that connect patients and physicians.ChallengesDespite the promises of remote patient monitoring tools, several obstacles are preventing the devices from becoming more mainstream. For example, Medicare and private insurers typically do not provide reimbursements for home monitoring tools, which can be quite expensive. Health plans also tend not to reimburse physicians for treating patients remotely.

In addition, some patient advocates have expressed concern that health care providers might use remote monitoring as a substitute for direct medical care (Olson, Kaiser Health News/Washington Post, 11/17).stopindex

Legislation Would Provide Health Care IT Loans to Pharmacists A provision in the Small Business Financing and Investment Act of 2009 would establish a lending program to provide state-licensed pharmacists and other health care providers with reduced-cost health IT loans. The legislation has been approved by the House Small Business Committee and now goes to the House. Healthcare IT News.
FROM THE FOUNDATION Tools to Transform Health Care
In 2007, $1.7 trillion went to care for patients with chronic conditions. This report focuses on the development of applications that can help individuals remotely manage their illnesses.

National Center For Assisted Living Reports

Medicaid spending for home- and community-based services (HCBS) skyrocketed by 81.5% between fiscal years 2001 and 2007, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Center for Assisted Living. Meanwhile, spending on nursing homes grew by a modest 9.8% during that time.

Nursing home spending expanded to $46.9 billion in 2007 from $42.7 billion in 2001, while HCBS spending rose to $16.7 billion from $9.2 billion during that period, the study said. The number of people receiving Medicaid coverage for services in licensed assisted living settings increased by 43.7% between 2002 and 2009, the study found. HCBS Medicaid waivers cover services in residential settings in 37 states, while 13 states provide coverage directly through state Medicaid plans. That marks a departure from the past when Medicaid paid only for nursing home care. Medicaid now pays for assisted living care for some 131,000 elderly adults nationwide.

Non-institutional options for long-term care typically cost less to states, are preferred by consumers, and have "created a shift in the supply and utilization of nursing homes over the past several years," according to the report. Between 2001 and 2008, the national supply of nursing homes declined by 1.6%.

The report, "State Medicaid Reimbursement Policies and Practices in Assisted Living," can be found online at

The purpose of this website is to provide a reference to support private payer reimbursement for telemedicine clinical consults. The information contained in this website is the result of a survey jointly sponsored by the American Telemedicine Association and AMD Telemedicine. The directory contains a listing of:

  • Telemedicine providers receiving private payer reimbursement
  • Private payers providing reimbursement
  • State legislation mandating private payer reimbursement of TM services

Success Stories:

United Home Health Services is a client under transformation from offering traditional home care services into a telemedicine empowered service provider providing direct supervised medical exams under supervision of a licensed provider in homes and community settings.

ka pa hoola PCMH is a Hawaii based Level 3 status medical home practice that is telemedicine enhanced to support remote patient exams and monitoring.