Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Telemedicine VS. The Growing Tsunami of Health Care Costs

With 2011 approaching, we find ourselves immersed in many political debates that will determine which direction our country takes for decades to come. With our national deficit at record highs and facing the aftermath of the financial meltdown, one of our most pressing issues is how do we balance cost with good healthcare. Currently there are 53 million Americans without any form of healthcare coverage, a staggering number for the world’s only superpower. However, the debate continues: is healthcare coverage a right of citizenship or a privilege? Outside of this political debate is the undeniable fact that our healthcare costs are spiraling out of control, reaching $2.5 trillion in 2009. This accounts for 17.3 percent of GDP, after rising a record 5.7 percent in the previous year. Where are these dollars going and what is to show for it? Certainly a majority of the spending goes towards the treatment of chronic disease such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases like asthma and emphysema), diabetes, and heart failure. The most costly form of treatment is extended hospital stays.

So with our country facing a ballooning healthcare bill, what are the solutions when our aging population is steadily increasing our overall incidence of chronic disease? Combine this likely rise in hospital stays with a growing shortage of physicians and the addition of 32 million Americans to the healthcare system due to healthcare reform and you are faced with a daunting task of balancing budget with providing good healthcare.

Inherent in the answer is providing appropriate treatment with the most cost effective method. Telemedicine is proving to be one such answer: it’s a cheaper way to deliver quality treatment and it can be done without travel instantly through videoconferencing technology. Hospitals like UC Davis in California are adopting telemedicine as a way to extend specialist reach to patients without needing a doctor at every facility. Take a look at this video highlighting an emergency room scenario where a young comatose patient received the appropriate treatment for his diabetic coma through a consultation between his ER doctor and a specialist over a videoconference. Not only was his life saved as a result of the technology but tremendous cost savings were revealed by enabling immediate access to the appropriate care in the ER as well as for follow-up visits with his specialist.

If telemedicine can both save lives and save money then hopefully more hospitals will be following the example of UC Davis in the near future.

~Dr. Kevin Friedman

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Prescribing in the Technological Age: Defining Legal and Ethical Guidelines

We’ve all been to the doctor and received medication. You know the drill, where based on his questions, your answers, and typically a physical exam, he determines whether or not you’re in need of medication. If that medication requires a written prescription he writes you a script and you take it to the pharmacy. This is basically the way you and I are accustomed to seeing a doctor and receiving treatment. It wasn’t long ago that similar personal experiences, like banking and dating, were based solely on this type of face to face interaction. Technology, however, has changed the way we communicate with each other and now we can conduct much of our daily lives without ever leaving the comforts of our home by using telecommunications equipment.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Obama Signs 4.5 Billion Child Nutrition Bill: Protecting Children or Infringing on Choice?

One out of every three? Now that’s hard to believe. That’s one out of every three children in America is overweight or obese. A staggering statistic for a country that prides itself on athletic excellence, Olympic dominance, and a general ethic of competitiveness. But that’s what the statistics are telling us, and what became the motivation behind a sweeping overhaul bill of child nutrition standards signed by President Obama today.

As with any government action these days, there are voices of opposition from both the right and left, but I believe this health reform is right down the middle and completely common sense. To give you the brief overview, the measure gives the government more power to set nutritional standards for public school cafeterias and vending machines, and a financial boost to help make this a reality. The bill also provides funding to subsidize healthy meals for lower income children.

For those concerned (and we all should be) about the exploding costs of our country’s healthcare system, this move targets the root of the problem, where poor nutrition in children leads to chronic diseases in adults, like diabetes and heart disease. These diseases are reaching statistically epidemic levels in lower income and minority families, who often lack affordable access to healthy eating choices. America’s public school system is the only institution with the scope and reach to effectively address the issue. Having spent nearly three years working to reform New York City’s school system, I know firsthand that school-subsidized breakfasts and lunches are often the only chance for students from financially challenged families to get the regular nutrition they need. Healthy food is far more expensive, and sadly harder to find in underserved areas, such as Harlem or the South Bronx for instance, where I spent much of my time.

Detractors will say this is yet another example of the government overreaching and infringing on our choices to eat what we want. However, this smart policy actually increases choice in my view, and finally provides a new option so many kids lack today. A healthy option.

~Alex Price

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Great Barrier Reefs, Kangaroos, Fosters...And Now Telemedicine?

As telemedicine picks up momentum in the USA it is important to recognize that as a Nation we are not always the first adopters of new technology, and telemedicine is no exception. Certainly we are a world leader in healthcare however as the 38th ranked country in average lifespan at 78 years, Japan being the leader with an average lifespan of 82 years, we don’t own the market when it comes to an ideal healthcare system. Certainly there are recognizable issues with respect to healthcare access across different demographic groups, geographic locations, and time barriers to attaining adequate care that require an overhaul of the current system. The movement of telemedicine offers many possible solutions to these inadequacies as we combine technology with medical professionals and offer the combination to the patient. Many countries in Europe, China and recently Australia have recognized the benefits of telemedicine and are making great strides to bring it to their respective populations.

At this link is a great publication by the Australian government outlining the potential benefits, pitfalls, and possible solutions to connecting patient and physician over videoconferencing technology. Unique to this discussion is the Australian government’s outreach to health professionals and key interest groups to contribute their opinions to policy making strategies prior to implementation of such policies.

Among the topics addressed by the Australian paper is the general consensus that telemedicine offers a great solution to expanding healthcare to a country that has a widespread population over vast amounts of territory where many specialties are concentrated in cities. Of the concerns outlined are reasons telemedicine has not been widely accepted as of yet including lack of reimbursement for such services and technological barriers to delivering standardized care over such a medium. The Australian government’s Department of Health and Aging, responsible for delivering their form of Medicare, is in charge of coming up with some potential solutions to the problem. These solutions include financial reimbursement of physicians on both ends of the teleconference, an additional technology implementation incentive and expanding their broadband nationally through a National Broadband Network.

Telemedicine is a huge undertaking for our national government, hospital systems, physicians and patients alike, but will have a tremendous upside if implemented correctly. Certainly we should be aware of how other progressive countries, such as Australia, are planning to deliver this type of service to its citizens.

~ Dr. Kevin Friedman

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Show Me The Money! Quantifying Cost Savings The Key For Telemedicine

With the enactment of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the “stimulus bill”, many initiatives have been launched that will affect healthcare delivery in the future. One such initiative is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to expand broadband for the widespread use of telecommunication in hospitals and clinics. Additionally monetary incentives will be distributed to medical practitioners to convert from paper based tracking of their patient interviews and records to a completely electronic form. The big question is: will these programs to expand the utilization of telemedicine be enough to convince hospitals, doctors groups, and individual physicians to adopt a radical change in the way they have delivered healthcare, a system that has never undergone such transformation in so short a period of time?

It is my assertion that in order for the movement to gain traction and become a permanent fixture in our healthcare system, we will need conclusive evidence that telemedicine is a cost saver for the system and patient, and results in improved patient care and disease outcomes. Certainly the VA system, which has been an early proponent and adopter of telemedicine, is a perfect clinical environment for such data gathering, some of which is already being done as outlined in this article from the Gerson Lehrman Group. According to a recent report released by the Veterans Health Administration, telemedicine resulted in a “25% reduction in the number of bed days of care and a 19% drop in hospital admissions.” This significant improvement in patient care was seen among the VHA’s 32,000 veteran patients with chronic conditions being monitored and treated through a national program called Care Coordination/Home Tele-Health (CCHIT) .

Certainly objective criteria such as these, that have a direct correlation with cost savings, will be a major factor in the future widespread adoption of telemedicine, including remote patient monitoring and patient-physician consultations. The other highlighted and commonly accepted benefits of receiving coordinated care at home versus a traditional medical setting include saved transportation costs, reduced costly visits to the ER, decreased hospital admissions due to early detection of disease onset, and improved quality of care with patients given access to more specialists.

~Dr. Kevin Friedman

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Telemedicine = Borderless Philanthropy

Beyond the allure of the latest mobile devices and nearly life-like videoconferencing, to me the most exciting aspect of telemedicine is its potential to break philanthropic and humanitarian barriers over the next decade. The opportunities here are game-changing and may soon actually be life-changing. With all the best healthcare resources – physicians, equipment, facilities, medication – heavily concentrated in the most developed countries, and the world’s neediest populations located so far away, using new technologies to bridge the gap can truly solve medical crisis’ around the globe.

For decades, medical relief nonprofits have rescued and cared for people in crisis-stricken communities, facing the horrors of natural disasters, malnutrition and disease epidemics. Doctors Without Borders /Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), one of the world leaders, empowers nearly 27,000 aid workers each day, organized into teams to provide care internationally. Astonishingly, they’ve conducted up to 9 million outpatient consultations in a given year! Certainly other leading NGO’s, like the American Red Cross and UNICEF, have improved the lives of millions in developing countries by bringing healthcare and relief where none existed. Can you imagine the exponential impact this same nonprofit community will have once it starts employing telemedicine technology on a wide-scale? We could literally multiply this number of underserved people being treated around the world. Quite an idea.

Well there is one such nonprofit blazing a trail in this endeavor, and is being led by an unlikely pioneer. Hollywood and music icon Jennifer Lopez (yes, J. Lo!) recently teamed up with her sister Lynda to launch the The Maribel Foundation. Maribel is a nonprofit dedicated to improving the health of women and children in under-privileged areas all around the world…and doing this through the innovative power of telemedicine. Lopez explains, “Our organization will focus on the health and well-being of women and children, adopting a strategy that will achieve maximum impact in the area of children's health worldwide, through our commitment to telemedicine. Telemedicine is a remarkable new healthcare delivery system that uses telecommunications technology to remotely treat patients.” Maribel will build telemedicine clinics all over the world to provide patients access to care from physicians at one of America's top pediatric hospitals: the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

While this is only one such effort, it’s a step towards a whole new way for nonprofits to help those most in need. Healthcare philanthropy is now borderless….and will soon be limitless.

~Alex Price

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Government Push for Medicine's "Electronic Age"

It's a really interesting time for the health care industry. As 2011 approaches many physicians are preparing themselves for the electronic age where medical records will no longer be stored on paper. Here is a great article describing the still elusive definition of "meaningful use" and how a physician will qualify for the financial incentives promised by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the HITECH Act (Health Information Technology and Economic Clinical Health).

According to the HITECH Act, eligible professionals (physicians, dentists, chiropractors, and in some circumstances physician assistants and nurse practitioners) can qualify for up to $44,000 through Medicare and $65,000 through Medicaid for transitioning their medical notes from paper based to an inter-operable electronic format. The federal government's goal in this incentive is to establish a national initiative to ensure medical data is submitted to CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) where the information can be used to establish comparative analysis of disease management and improve disease outcomes through evidence based medicine in a cost effective way.

It's an ambitious objective, with the potential for game-changing impacts on medicine. The process, however, won't be an easy one. Read article.

~ Dr. Kevin Friedman

Monday, November 1, 2010

Palm Beach Post features iMD and its “Community of Care”

Last month, the Palm Beach Post ran a great feature article announcing the launch of our videoconferencing technology. The news piece did a nice job a describing the benefits of telehealth, and the quality of our providers, but what was most important to me was the description of one of our new members, Ron Perry.

Ron, like so many self-employed people, doesn’t currently have insurance and feels he can’t afford the time or expense of taking even a half-day to go see the doctor. I see this situation among so many small business owners and self employed people, especially in the past two years of the economic downturn. We feel everyone should establish a trusting relationship with a primary care physician, as this is certainly the optimal situation for all of us as patients. However, I’m glad to know our solution is making life easier for the small business community, as they truly are the backbone of America’s economy....and their vision and commitment should be applauded.

Have a read and let us know what you think.

~Alex Price

Thursday, October 28, 2010

iMD Ranks in Top Ten for Funds Raised Towards Diabetes

Waking up at 6:00am on a Saturday never felt so good. This past Saturday, our team at InteractiveMD joined with thousands of south Floridians and concerned corporations in StepOut: A Walk to Fight Diabetes. This event, one of the flagship initiatives of the American Diabetes Association, is a massive national push to raise donations to support diabetes prevention, and to fund research for a cure. The uplifting vibe and inspiring atmosphere on Saturday made the early wake-up call more than worth it, as dozens of our colleagues walked together for a cause near to our hearts. 

The charity walk was the culmination of a two month initiative of ours (and our parent company, the iCan Group) called “iCan Stop Diabetes!” kicking off our commitment to supporting the programs of the American Diabetes Association. This summer we chose diabetes as a health issue we wanted to impact, knowing so many of our members battle the disease daily and will benefit from ADA’s critical programs.  

As the walk began, the MC announced on stage that the “iCan Stop Diabetes!” team ranked in the top ten for corporations and groups in south Florida, raising well over $5,000 to fight this disease.  I’m so proud of our team and all their success, but we see this as just the beginning of a long-term connection to the mission. Thanks so much to all of you who supported this effort!

~ Alex Price

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Video of the Week – Nanette Eckard's Inspiring Story of Standing Up to Diabetes

In this our third in a series of weekly videos on fighting diabetes, I sat down with one of our wonderful and talented service agents who shared with me her inspiring story of standing tall to this disease. Nanette Eckard, who had witnessed her mother’s long, hard battle with the disease, made a promise to her mom that she would never allow her type 2 diabetes to control her life. In the video, she candidly explains the deep commitment she made with herself to drastically change her lifestyle so that she can live a long and full life with her family. I was particularly struck by how Nanette now characterizes diabetes….she says “It’s an opportunity. An opportunity to gain knowledge, turn your life around, and to share this with other people.” Thanks Nanette, for sharing your inspiration with us.

We welcome you to join Nanette and our whole team by participating in the American Diabetes Association’s StepOut: Walk To Fight Diabetes, and raise funds to find a cure:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Diabetes Prevention Tip of the Week: Know the warning signs

As with most diseases, the best way to combat diabetes is to prevent it all together, or to catch the warning signs as early as possible. Sometimes the symptoms of type 2 diabetes may develop slowly in children and adults, and initially there may be no symptoms at all. But eventually warning signs will emerge, and it’s critical to notice these indicators and to see your doctor as soon as you can for diabetes testing. Here are some very common symptoms for you to look out for…

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Video of the Week – Daniella Cooper’s Personal Fight To Stop Diabetes

This is the second in our series of weekly videos, where we are sharing the importance of "iCan Stop Diabetes!" through the personal story of one of our beloved colleagues and StepOut team members. Daniella Cooper, an enrollment agent in our organization, also faces the daily challenge of type 2 diabetes. In this inspiring video, Daniella takes us inside her experience of facing the diagnosis, how she’s changed her life to manage it, and the critical steps we should all take to prevent this difficult disease. Ultimately, Daniella explains why StepOut is such an important initiative, and we’re all proud to walk with her on October 23rd to help stop diabetes.

We welcome you to join us by participating in the American Diabetes Association’s StepOut: Walk To Fight Diabetes, and raise funds to find a cure:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

DIABETES PREVENTION TIP OF THE WEEK: The best ways for diabetics to keep their disease under control

This week we’re focusing on the best ways for diabetics to manage their disease, and we recommend a 2-prong strategy to keep the disease under control. Two important and essential elements include daily monitoring of blood glucose levels, and twice a year A1C checks to measure the condition overall. Here’s what you need to know about each…

Video of the Week - iCan Stop Diabetes

This is the first in our series of weekly videos, bringing to life exciting new this case the launch of "iCan Stop Diabetes!" Here, Dr. Kevin Friedman and I explain why we’ve chosen diabetes as a critical health crisis to address in 2010 and beyond. As the weeks progress towards the October 23rd event date, we'll feature compelling interviews from diabetics telling their true-life stories, and you'll get to meet many members of our staff here at InteractiveMD and iCan that are leading our StepOut team.

We welcome you to join us by participating in the American Diabetes Association’s StepOut: Walk To Fight Diabetes, and raise funds to find a cure:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

DIABETES PREVENTION TIP OF THE WEEK: Know all the risk factors you CAN control

When it comes to managing your health, there are certain factors – i.e. family history, age, race – that you simply can’t control. If your mom is a type 2 diabetic, and you’ve struggled with weight since you were a child, you face some built-in challenges that many others do not.

There are, however, many risk factors you CAN control and if taken seriously can dramatically reduce your chances of becoming a type 2 diabetic. The factor most commonly associated with the disease is obesity, and it’s critical to take proper measures to eat healthy so that you don’t become overweight, as defined as a body mass index over 25 (body mass index is your weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared). Diabetes is also strongly correlated with a sedentary life-style, so staying active through regular exercise and elevating your heart-rate daily is key. Proper diet should be complemented by abstaining from smoking or heavy drinking. 

Monitoring your cholesterol is vital as well. Abnormal cholesterol and blood fat levels, such as your HDL cholesterol (or "good" cholesterol) being lower than 35 mg/dL or your triglyceride level being over 250 mg/dL, signals major warning signs. High blood pressure, meaning greater than 140/90 in adults, signals a red flag that you need to make changes.

If you’re healthy by these standards, it’s important not to take it for granted and develop a strategy to keep it that way. And if you’re at risk for diabetes, heart disease or stroke, it’s imperative to see your doctor and create an action plan to get you on track. So that you know the right questions to ask your doctor, take this online self-assessment from WebMD and get your results today…


Friday, September 17, 2010

InteractiveMD spotlighted by a Fox News affiliate in Tampa

InteractiveMD’s versatility was on display last week, as Fox News’ Tampa affiliate showcased how telemedicine can transform the way orthopedic surgeons follow-up with their patients. In this compelling segment, Dr. Jared Salinsky from The Center for Bone & Joint demonstrated how telemedicine enables him to monitor his patients post-surgery, review x-rays, and determine if a in-person consultation is necessary for treatment. As InteractiveMD becomes more integrated into the healthcare community, medical specialists like cardiologists, pulmonologists, demonologists, and yes even orthopedic surgeons are seeing how telemedicine will revolutionize the way they see patients and manage their practices. For the complete story, visit the Fox Tampa website.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Join us in the fight to stop diabetes!

Our organization is made up of many diverse individuals, from doctors to software engineers, and from enrollment agents to graphic designers, just to name a few. But one thing we have in common is a desire to address the country’s most critical health crisis’s…especially those that hit close to home. Our family at InteractiveMD, and our parent company, the iCan Benefit Group, have recently chosen diabetes as a critical health crisis we want to impact in 2010 and beyond. With so many of our members and their families affected by the disease, and millions of Americans at risk, this is the perfect cause for us to champion, supporting those we care about so much.

To kick off this commitment, we’re launching a team called “iCan Stop Diabetes!”, which will participate in the American Diabetes Association’s StepOut: Walk To Fight Diabetes. The ADA is the nation’s leading nonprofit focused on the prevention and cure of diabetes, and this effort will be our first in a long-term initiative to support their mission. Please support our efforts by either joining our team or donating $10 or $20 to find a cure. Visit our page and either donate to the team member of your choice, or support the team generally by donating to our team captain Alex Price.

The walk will be held on Saturday, October 23rd, 2010, at the Bank Atlantic Center, Ft. Lauderdale, FL. We hope you can join us, but if you can’t, thanks for considering supporting this effort.

Monday, September 13, 2010

SunSentinel features front page story on InteractiveMD

Promoting patient empowerment and choice is central to our mission, and so it was an honor to be the focus of yesterday’s SunSentinel article where InteractiveMD was presented as an example of how Electronic Health Records (EHR’s) can be used to help patients. The piece references other compelling paradigm shifts we’re seeing in the healthcare industry, like the hospitals giving patients access to screenings and test results online, the emergence of build-your-own health record platforms – like Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault, and a push to have patients physically carry a digital copy of their health record for emergency purposes. The apprehension that some patients feel surrounding privacy concerns and digital mistakes are also considered in this balanced exploration into new health technology. Congratulations to Bob LaMendola at the SunSentinel on his great work.

Friday, August 6, 2010

eWeek Covers InteractiveMD's Launch of Videoconferencing Technology

This has been a very big week in the world of telehealth. It started on Monday when GE and Intel announced a new joint venture company that will focus on telehealth for the aging population and those with chronic conditions. The technology community has also become very excited about our upcoming launch of state-of-the-art videoconferencing on InteractiveMD, taking direct-to-consumer remote healthcare to a new level. We recently sat down with eWEEK to discuss the launch and our exciting plans for this year and beyond. Read about how this new technology will help us treat more conditions, for patients, all around the country.

~Alex Price, Sr. Manager, PR & Branding

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

InteractiveMD demonstrates new videoconference platform live on Chicago morning news show

Yesterday we unveiled InteractiveMD’s new videoconferencing capabilities in the Windy City, performing a live demonstration of our telemedicine platform on “You & Me This Morning” hosted by Jeanne Sparrow. WCIU-TV (known as “The You” in Chicago) was interested in producing a segment about how technology is changing the face of healthcare, and the emergence of InteractiveMD served as the perfect example of such revolutionary change.

Staring in the segment was our very own Vice President, Ghen Sugimoto, and our new Medical Director, Dr. Kevin Friedman. Watch Dr. Friedman performing a mock video consultation of one of the WCIU station producers. He also, for the first time, provides the Chicago audience with a glimpse of our future initiatives, integrating an otoscope device into InteractiveMD and performing an ear, nose and throat examination from a remote location.

So after that eventful morning the iMD team managed to squeeze in a boat cruise around the city and a trip to the top of the Sears Tower….all in all, an amazing day in Chicago!

~Alex Price, Sr. Manager, PR & Branding

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Closing the connectivity gap with remote healthcare

If you’re like me, you probably forget sometimes what life was like before we had high-speed internet. Though most of us have only had broadband in your homes for 5 years (10 tops), our lives have been totally transformed, allowing us to manage our social activities (Facebook), finances (online banking), watch TV (Hulu), listen to music (iTunes) and even read books (Kindle) online. But while it’s been well documented that disparities in high-speed access have widened the learning “achievement gap” between high and low income students, a similar type of  connectivity gap exists with healthcare access in rural America, and calling it a crisis is no overstatement.

For urban and suburbanites, we take for granted that we almost always have a pool of high-quality doctors and specialists within a few minutes’ drive. Not the case in America’s rural areas, where primary care providers are in very short supply and certain specialists are simply unavailable. Fortunately, the government has plans to help close the gap and bring broadband to rural health care facilities for folks who live in remote areas. This remote healthcare initiative would include diagnostic telehealth services, too.

Under the proposal, the FCC will ensure $400 million to annually pay for 85 percent of infrastructure costs to extend remote healthcare by developing broadband connectivity in rural areas, and 50 percent of the recurring monthly costs for accessing the services. This initiative will help bridge the healthcare divide in so many ways, like enabling patients to email their X-ray images to top radiologists, speak face-to-face with a credentialed psychologist, and address the majority of primary care needs from the privacy of their home.
This is a big step in the right direction, and I’m personally excited for the opportunity interactiveMD has as a remote healthcare platform, putting broadband to work treating patients in rural locations.

~Alex Price, Sr. Manager, PR & Branding

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Future of Healthcare: The Mobile Consultation

I’m sure many of you got a laugh out of the huge controversy stirred up a few weeks ago when the top secret prototype of the new iPhone was “picked up” at a California pub. Apparently an Apple employee mistakenly left the top secret devise behind, only to be scooped up by a technology enthusiast who proceeded to unveil its new 4G features on the Gizmodo website

One of the game-changing features of 4G (or fourth generation) wireless technology is that these devices will include a video-enabled camera built-in to the same side as the screen. As a result, 4G technology will make mobile doctor consultations much more natural and seamless than they are today. With this improved user experience, people will be far more likely to consider the mobile consultation because it will more closely resemble the face-to-face encounter they’ve grown accustomed to.

Keep in mind, the concept of mobile consultations isn’t new, but it’s picked up significant steam with the mass adoption of smart phones over the past few years. In fact, 42% of Americans owned smartphones as of December 2009. Studies suggest the smartphone is the most widely used connected device in today’s healthcare scene, and that it’s poised to become the new norm for delivery. Usage ranges from medical reference tools for providers, to remote physician consultations from consumers’ mobile phones. And don’t forget disaster relief. Recent natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes made mobile healthcare a necessity, as cell phones facilitated remote consultations when patients and medical professionals have been displaced. The creation of applications related to health care is also expanding rapidly. As of February 2010, there were nearly 6,000 health, medical and fitness apps within the Apple AppStore. 

Research also shows that two-thirds of physicians used smartphones in 2009, and the number is expected to reach 81% by 2012. It’s not surprising as the work of most physicians has the potential to be tremendously mobile. Opportunities for increased productivity, revenue generation, and lifestyle satisfaction are available as a physician is less tied down to a location. In a recent TV news story covering InteractiveMD’s telehealth platform, a network physician talks about how he’s been able to help patients remotely while on an airplane and in the mounts during a vacation in Hawaii. Pretty compelling application, and that’s BEFORE the launch of 4G.

So what does this all mean? In the coming three years I see the mobile consultation being viewed as a mainstream (if not preferred) method of seeing the doctor. As 4G takes over and revolutionary new platforms like Apple’s iPad become ubiquitous, the mobile experience will be too good and too convenient to ignore…

~Alex Price, Sr. Manager, PR & Branding

Monday, May 3, 2010

InteractiveMD’s Parent Company Partners in “Walk for Josie” to Support Victim of Teen Violence

Helping those in need has always been central to our mission, and nothing is more critical than providing aid to those in our own communities.

Just down the road from the iCan Group’s headquarters (the parent company of InteractiveMD), the Deerfield Beach community has rallied to support a child and her family at their darkest hour. On March 17, fifteen-year-old Josie Ratley of Deerfield Beach Middle School was severally beaten by a student from a neighboring school, and for three weeks lay in critical condition in a drug-induced coma. In an overwhelming grassroots showing of support, the surrounding South Florida community put together the “Walk for Josie” on Sunday, April 25th to raise funds for Josie Ratley’s hospital care and recovery.

When InteractiveMD employees got word of the growing effort, we were honored to donate pro bono services to help raise the necessary awareness, ensuring the “Walk for Josie” would be as successful as possible. Drawing from the talented and big-hearted staff from within our media department, our team developed the logo design for the event, as well as the outreach materials which included promotional flyers and banners and a press release announcement.

Josie’s struggle for life following her brutal attack has captured attention and deep concern on a national level, as programs like NBC’s Today Show and ABC’s Good Morning America have covered her story extensively. The story strikes at the heart of a growing national epidemic of teenage bullying and brutality. Statistics show that the problem of teen violence is growing and has become significantly worse in the past few years. “The community has organized this rally to raise money to help Josie Ratley, and to define actions that can help reverse the trend towards teen-on-teen violence,” said John Esposito, head organizer of the event and father of a 7th grader who attends Josie’s school.  “We’re just trying to raise awareness and get the community involved in helping this child and her family recover from this tragedy.” InteractiveMD understands the severity of this problem and was passionate about supporting young Josie in her painful struggle.

Thanks to the brave spirit of the Ratley family and power of a community coming together, the “Walk for Josie” did more than just inspire. The event brought thousands together and raised well over $10,000 for the "Josie Lou Ratley Fund" to help pay for her medical expenses.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Addressing America’s Doctor Shortage Through Telemedicine

The healthcare crisis we’ve not heard much about lately is America’s shortage of primary care doctors. Our number of graduating medical students entering primary care has dropped by more than half since 1997, and the shortage of family doctors has been projected to reach 40,000 in the next 10 years. Keep in mind, these projections pre-date the passing of President Obama’s sweeping healthcare reform law, which is estimated to bring in 32 million additional people into the health insurance market over the next few years.
No matter what side of the healthcare reform debate you fall on, most people agree that America’s shortage of primary care physicians has to be addressed. We can expect (and hope) that many of the newly insured will be actually seeking out doctor relationships for the first time. I suspect that finding a primary care physician will be step #1 for the majority, increasing the demand for PCP’s exponentially. It’s hard to say for sure, but many experts believe we’ll see a 10-20 % increase in primary-care visits due to the passing of the law.

Telemedicine is a big part of the solution. Surveys show that as many as half of PCP’s have stopped taking new patients, and many of those who do require lengthy wait times for scheduling an in-person appointment (sometimes months). Though the new legislation does provide some nominal incentives to encourage young doctors to enter primary care, these have been generally viewed as slow-moving and not strong enough to move the needle. The rise of Telemedicine, however, CAN move the needle with regards to absorbing the rapidly growing demand for primary care treatment. The physician burden is dramatically eased as more and more Americans seek physician care remotely, at the time that works best for them. Families will obviously still need PCP’s, but Telemedicine will help solve the problem by bridging the gap to access so many families face.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Tour the HIMSS 2010 Conference with InteractiveMD

The InteractiveMD team was just in Atlanta for the HIMSS 2010 Conference. Have a look at this video to get a glimpse of the sites from one the worlds biggest health/technology events...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How Can Telehealth Advance Medical Practices?

What a compelling time to be at the forefront of the Telehealth field. With the mainstream adoption of the web, video conferencing, and mobile devices over the past decade, Telehealth is now impacting our society in remarkable ways, both economically and socially, by expanding healthcare access. The transformative potential of the field is just beginning to be realized, however, and the key participants must guide and shape it responsibly. The InteractiveMD community takes the opportunity to effect positive change seriously, and periodically hosts roundtables and forums to explore critical industry issues. 

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tour the HIMSS 2010 Healthcare Conference with InteractiveMD

I could hear a buzz of excitement streaming through the halls of Atlanta’s Georgia World Conference Center last week, as our team from InteractiveMD took part in one of the most significant events in the world of healthcare and information technology. The Annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Conference and Exhibition – commonly known as HIMSS - is recognized as one of the world’s largest and most respected healthcare IT exhibitions. Without question, this is where the industry’s rock stars come to play.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Why Telehealth?

With the launch of our on-demand telehealth service, InteractiveMD, we thought it would be appropriate to share a little bit about what we offer and how it can benefit you.

Telehealth is a method of delivering health care that utilizes advanced technology to improve the accessibility, efficiency and quality of care received. Though it has existed for some time in the form of phone consultations, new advances in technology, coupled with the needs of an increasingly strained medical community, have spurred an increase in demand for the development and availability of low-cost, high-tech medical consultation.