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All Posts in Category: Telemedicine

Uncontrolled Diabetes and Pregnancy: Doubly Important

This Pregnancy’s Challenge:

An 18 year old patient presented in a rural area to the local OB physician when she was 16 weeks pregnant. Her OB history showed she had been diagnosed with Type I Diabetes at age 5. She had been seeing a local endocrinologist but was told he would not follow her and manage her insulin during pregnancy.

The close diabetic monitoring required throughout the pregnancy would need to be provided by a Maternal-Fetal Specialist. Because the closest one was approximately 1 ½ hours from the patient’s home, she was referred to Women’s Telehealth by her local OB physician for co-management. Women’s Telehealth provided MFM care through telemedicine visits.
Of additional concern was that the patient was noted to be non-compliant in her insulin regime and diabetic care.

The Team’s Actions:

  • Initially, the patient was taking both long-acting insulin daily and at bedtime, and rapid-acting insulin with meals. She had an implanted blood glucose monitor and was to follow an ADA diet.
  • During her initial MFM consult, Women’s Telehealth counseled the patient to monitor and bring her blood sugar logs and insulin regime to every visit. 
  • For four weekly visits, the patient did not follow instructions.  Women’s Telehealth continued to counsel her as to the potentially poor outcomes for the baby if her blood sugar was not controlled, as well as the importance of complying with the monitoring, diet and insulin regime. During this time, her baby slipped from the 55th percentile to the 29th percentile.  Not a positive trend. 
  • Women’s Telehealth provided on-going insulin management, ultrasound fetal monitoring and counseling regarding non-compliance. With positive reinforcement, SOMETHING CHANGED!
  • Her 18-20 week anatomy scan was normal.
  • From 23 through 33 weeks, the patient started bringing in her blood sugar logs and her insulin levels became controlled.  In fact, she reported they were, “the best they’ve ever been.” The baby grew from the 29th percentile to the 52nd percentile. Dopplers and antenatal testing showed GREAT improvement. 

The Results:

  • The story has not ended as the baby has not delivered. But, the baby is healthy and within a few weeks of a safe delivery.  The patient was moved to an “all as needed” status with her insulin regime and blood sugars under control.
  • Through telemedicine, the patient was able to stay local and receive the needed medical care, as she could not have traveled outside of her area.
  • The tele-MFM option greatly improved patient compliance and results.  
  • The patient realized travel savings of 1,980 miles and over 35 hours.                                                                                                                                                                      

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The prevalence of diabetes in pregnancy in the U.S. is increasing. Pre-existing, Type I diabetes confers an increased and more significant risk to both mom and baby than gestational diabetes. Tight blood sugar control is critically important at all stages of pregnancy. Uncontrolled diabetes in pregnancy can lead to such complications as fetal anomalies, pre-eclampsia, fetal demise, macrosomia, neonatal hypoglycemia and spontaneous abortion.

 To learn more, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/pregnancy/diabetes-types.html

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Our goal in sharing patient case stories is to show the role and possibilities Women’s Telehealth plays in accessing high risk situations and  to help turn patient and OB provider concern into the best possible care plans and outcomes for mom’s and their babies. For more information, call our office at:  404.478.3017              

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Alliance Establishes New Tele-MFM Service Line and Geo-expansion

Women’s Telehealth and Eagle Telemedicine are working together to bring scarce, high risk OB services to more communities across the country!

Eagle Telemedicine is a premier telemedicine organization with a national network that brings a wide variety of healthcare providers to acute and critical access hospitals and health organizations. They provide night coverage and specialty care as well as fill staffing gaps, all exclusively by telemedicine. Eagle Telemedicine provides over 20,000 telemedicine patient encounters annually. Women’s Telehealth has completed over 31,000 maternal fetal medicine patient encounters/studies.

“This alliance will expand the capabilities of both companies,” said Women’s Telehealth President, Tanya Mack. “Eagle Telemedicine now adds maternal-fetal medicine to their service line and Women’s Telehealth gains expanded geographic coverage.” Builders and shapers in their respective areas of the telemedicine industry, the companies share mutual goals of bringing much needed specialty care to where it is needed and serving the underserved in a sustainable, cost effective manner. The companies’ combined strengths will allow high risk moms to keep their care local and allow hospitals and healthcare organizations to retain their patients and provide scarce specialty care.

For more information visit:

http://: https://www.eagletelemedicine.com/telemedicine-services/telespecialty-services/telematernal-fetal-services/
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Advisory Board Publication, Telehealth Primer: Pregnancy Care, Features Women’s Telehealth

Virtual pregnancy care spans from prenatal to postpartum care.  It incorporates a variety of telehealth modalities including audiovisual visits, remote patient monitoring and “live” and asynchronous store and forward imaging.

The Advisory Board is the best practice firm helping healthcare organizations worldwide improve their performance using a combination of research, technology and consulting. They have 12 offices on 3 continents and publish to over 9,000 healthcare organization outlets.

Recently, the Advisory Board published the piece, “Telehealth Primer: Pregnancy Care.” The publication features four innovative healthcare organizations using telehealth tools to deliver different aspects of pregnancy care and their business cases and results.

Women’s Telehealth is pleased to be featured in the primer for our work in providing maternal-fetal medicine services, delivered 100% via telemedicine, to help decrease preterm labor and improve access to maternal-fetal medicine providers.  

The Mayo Clinic’s OB Nest program and the University of Utah were also featured in the Primer for their work in delivering antepartum visits virtually vs. in-person visits, to improve patient satisfaction with the same clinical outcomes.

The Primer also featured the University of Pennsylvania for delivering postpartum visits via remote patient monitoring to ease post-delivery care and outcomes for new moms.

For a copy of this informative primer, visit: https://www.advisory.com/research/service-line-strategy-advisor/resources/2018/telehealth-primer-pregnancy-care

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Telehealth from a Soldier’s Perspective: Saluting Lt. Col. (Ret.) Daniel R. Brewer

On a spring day at Lake Blackshear at the Global Partnership for Telehealth annual GA conference, I heard one of the most inspirational keynote speeches I’ve ever heard about my telehealth profession. Dressed in full uniform, LTC(R) Daniel R. Brewer delivered the moving address, “A Soldier’s Perspective on Healthcare.” Along with a series of impactful pictures, Brewer’s presentation about the intersection of telehealth and war unfolded. The audience was spellbound.

LTC Brewer served several tours in Afghanistan and Iraq and had the opportunity to work with Generals David H. Petraeus and James N. Mattis. Brewer solved environmental problems we often see or associate with war, when we are viewing from afar. However, burn pits, hazardous waste, medical waste, oil spills and improper water disposals were issues that needed his solutions. But then he was injured.

LTC Brewer clearly outlined for us from his first-hand perspective, how once a soldier is injured, the task at hand quickly focuses on staying alive. Access to immediate healthcare is essential and that’s what telehealth provides. Healthcare access = ALIVE. LTC Brewer pointed out that he and many other soldiers may not be here today if not for the remote care provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Telehealth is one of the rare success stories of war. The U.S. military has been a leader in telemedicine for decades, employing technologies ranging from pictures from the battlefield, to direct emergency treatment, to mental telehealth visits for PTSD once vets are home. Telehealth at any point, delivered to an injured soldier, improves healthcare accessibility.

The military is also using new technologies, including EEG devices, to measure concussion effects and the extent of brain injuries. They lead in telemedicine in so many ways and the U.S. VA system is one of the world leaders in the use, scope and scalability of telehealth during deployment, active duty and once our soldiers are home.

At the end of his speech, LTC Brewer challenged the audience to be strong telehealth “enablers,” in the positive sense of helping make things happen! He was the biggest enabler of all of us that day and we were proud of acknowledge him with a standing ovation.

In our business, we save high risk moms’ and babies’ lives often via telehealth. But from the audience that day, I had the opportunity to see how telehealth also prevents death and injury from a different perspective. It made me proud to be in the business of telehealth and so proud of our U.S. military taking care of their own, when the system is often criticized.

As we celebrate our freedom this week, Women’s Telehealth once again salutes LTC Brewer for sharing his amazing story!
~Tanya Mack, President

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Baptist Medical Center East Partners with Women’s Telehealth to Solve MFM Gap in AL State Capital

Baptist Medical Center East in Montgomery, AL, is seeing the positive results of keeping high risk obstetric patients local after partnering with Women’s Telehealth to add maternal-fetal services via telemedicine. The hospital opened their new perinatal center in late 2018 and became the first MFM telehealth operation in the state of Alabama. Prior to opening, high risk OB patients often had to travel over 2 hour to either Birmingham or South Alabama for MFM consultation and care. In their first several months in operation, hundreds of high risk OB patients have been cared for in their home community of Montgomery.

“This partnership has allowed Women’s Telehealth to expand services into the State of Alabama,” said Tanya Mack, President of Women’s Telehealth. “It has also helped payers in Alabama to see the value that adding access to high risk OB services to telehealth brings to rural Alabama by expanding their coverage.”

Jeff G. Rains, CEO of Baptist Medical Center East reports that, “Partnering with Women’s Telehealth has allowed us to fill our maternal-fetal medicine gap while improving and advancing our obstetric service line. Since the beginning of this partnership, we have seen a significant growth in patient encounters, outcomes and satisfaction. We are proud to be able to offer this service locally and proud to be partners with Women’s Telehealth.”

For more information about Baptist Medical Center East visit: https://www.baptistfirst.org/locations/baptist-medical-center-east

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The Addis Clinic Partnership Expands Women’s Telehealth Global Footprint

Women’s Telehealth is pleased to announce the partnership with The Addis Clinic, to provide volunteer obstetric and maternal-fetal medical expertise to healthcare workers in other countries lacking high risk OB physicians. Michelle Turner, Executive Director, and Meghan Moretti, Clinical Operations Manager, The Addis Clinic, and Tanya Mack, President of Women’s Telehealth, met at the Global Partnership for Telehealth’s Conference in Georgia this past spring. They later connected at the national ATA meeting and decided to combine resources to increase access to high risk OB care through Addis Clinic’s global partner clinics and telemedicine.

The Addis Clinic is a non-profit organization that connects volunteer physicians with local organizations to provide health care to vulnerable and underserved populations around the world. The primarily locations served include sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and Central America. It is estimated that there is a shortage of 4 million healthcare workers globally.

The Addis Clinic partners with medical experts willing to donate their expertise to help train frontline clinic healthcare workers thousands of miles away using an innovative healthcare communications platform.

Thus far, Women’s Telehealth has been able to remotely assist high risk OB patients and healthcare workers in Kenya for such obstetric problems as: stroke at 20 weeks gestation, uncontrolled diabetes mellitus and malaria infections in pregnant women.

For more information about The Addis Clinic visit: https://www.addisclinic.org/

Photo: Michelle Turner, Executive Director, The Addis Clinic; Tanya Mack, President, Women’s Telehealth

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Women’s Telehealth Announces New Partnership with Envision Healthcare

Women’s Telehealth welcomes Envision Healthcare’s Women and Children’s Division as a strategic partner. Envision Healthcare is a preferred national medical group that partners with hospitals and healthcare systems to provide anesthesia, emergency medicine, hospitalists, radiology, surgical and women and children’s services. They have a national network of over 25,000 clinicians over 45 states.

“This partnership expands the capabilities of both companies,” says WT President, Tanya Mack. “Envision Healthcare will add to their telehealth capabilities and NICU continuity of care and Women’s Telehealth will expand their service area to provide improved and quick access to maternal-fetal medicine services.”

Both companies share the goal of improving the clinical outcomes of high risk OB women and their babies. The WT team looks forward to working with Envision Healthcare team members, Deidre Jordan, VP of Clinical Operations, Juli Stover, VP of Virtual Health and Dr. Meg Prado, President of Envision’s Women and Children’s Services.

For more information about Envision Healthcare visit: https://www.evhc.net/

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Eager to Share My Passions – Telehealth, Entrepreneurship, Leadership

Call me a healthcare adventurer! I’m always pursuing my vision to help others! Above all, my goal is to lead industry change with the tools available in modern healthcare.

I welcome your invitation to serve as a guest speaker or advisor! It would be an honor to share some of the varied expertise I’ve gained through seasoned experience. See bio for details.
~Tanya Mack, President

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TOP 10 “TAKEAWAYS” FROM ATA CONFERENCE 2019

Educate. Inspire. Provoke.  The 2019 American Telehealth Association industry conference, held in New Orleans, LA this week, accomplished all of these. Telehealth is evolving as one component of “Digital Health” and has proven its value as a health care accelerator.  Here are some of my top of mind observations from the meeting:

  • A Huge Gap Exists Between Telehealth Capability and Use: Consumers are actually leading telehealth adoption.  Experts at the conference cited 22% of providers are using telehealth but 69% want to.  Hospital use disparity is similar. More opportunity exists than is realized.
  • Strategic Partnerships are Critical to Advance Telehealth: Telehealth delivery is too complex for organizations to work in isolation and do everything themselves.  Interesting partnerships are emerging to expand capability, share risk, access developed distribution channels and engage patients.
  • Access to Care Remains a Key Motivator: Behavioral Health.  Opioid Crisis.  Access to Specialty Care are top needs.
  • Retail Entering the Telehealth Space is Forcing Change Fast:  Think Best Buy Healthcare in stores and offering “Tech Pharmacy”- like device and service bundles.  Think Alexa answering medical questions, scheduling referrals and sending you medication reminders.  Think Geek Squad keeping your wearables and home blue tooth medical devices functioning.   It’s here people.
  • Meet the Patient Where They Are – Millennials First!: HopeLab shared, “46% of young people would rather have a broken bone than a broken phone.”  90% of young people go online for healthcare.  45% of millennials have no primary health provider.  Smartphones and online are the preferred access points. Patient engagement and satisfaction are vital signs of telehealth success.
  • Platform and Product Integration is Crucial: Hospitals are moving to enterprise telehealth solutions. Payers are looking for company diagnostic tech partners. Providers will not tolerate multiple in/out of platforms.  Patient devices vary. Who makes it all work together with the fastest, least amount of clicks wins.
  • The Hospital is Coming Home: Remote home monitoring, wearables, blue tooth devices, medical apps, sensor technology  and little healthcare affordability relief.  We are moving away from a hospital dominant healthcare system. Patients are finding healthcare environments comfortable and affordable for them.
  • AI and Data are Real. Now. : Analytic rigor. Disciplined innovation cycles. Population health management.  Hospitals showed how they are using AI in an intra-facility manner in the surgical post op area to alert staff more quickly via set triggers to avoid more complex complications using AI and feeds from medical monitors in-house.  In addition, one company outlined their use for AI in the healthcare operation space vs. clinical as a priority to speed up mundane processes.  Image reading by AI faster than we can blink, let alone think.   It’s here, evolving fast and touching telehealth.
  • We Remain Collectively Concerned about Security: Read the news. Daily breaches.  Our health privacy is top of mind for valid reasons. Keep vigilant.
  • The Government is Our Slowest Path to Change-But You Can Help: Senator Bill Cassidy of LA, who is also a physician, gave the audience a reality check about Congress members’ experience of healthcare. Not the same as ours – and he cautioned that any change is a long process that will require education.  Fastest way to advance telehealth – invite them to come and see what we do so they have the direct experience of it. While they are there, provide them with the answers they can use when they are questioned about telehealth – in writing.           

As I left the meeting, having attended for several years, it is satisfying to see telehealth not only mature but start skyrocketing to benefit many. We are all still learning quickly and together.  I was encouraged to see new faces… but, was left questioning whether the meeting was too heavy  on “industry” and too light on patients and providers tracks.  My biggest question, as echoed by others there:  “Now that we’ve proven it, how will we work together to get the value out of telehealth?”         

Tanya Mack, President
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ARE YOU A TELEHEALTH ENABLER?

Enabling often gets a bad rap. We’re not talking about enabling someone to persist in self-destructive behavior, but in the positive sense of “making able!” Our goal is to help you be the person who not only makes telehealth possible, but successful! 

Attending the Georgia Global Partnership for Telehealth conference last week, I listened to the breakdown of their 650+ telehealth sites in Georgia.  There were two surprises – only 26% of sites were hospitals and only 6% were providers.  LOW ADOPTION IS REAL. Georgia is one of the nation’s leaders in the telemedicine business.

What’s Missing

I often do telehealth “readiness” walks through many types of facilities, from private practices to government clinics to hospitals, and I’m constantly amazed by the most common barriers to telehealth adoption by organizations:

1) Lack of a telehealth enterprise-wide strategy 

2) Lack of telehealth expertise (internal or identified partners)

Driving Forces

The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) recently reported that patients are the biggest group driving telehealth adoption because they expect access and are eager to take advantage of advanced technologies.

Most medical organizations are now saying, “Yes, we want to offer telehealth services.” The motivating factors include expanded geographical coverage, increased patient satisfaction and additional specialist offerings.  The immediate, important question is, “how?”

Steps on the Telehealth Path  

The organization CEO and a telehealth provider champion taking action together is not only a great place to start, but required for telehealth program success.  Here are other steps in the process.

  • Conduct a needs assessment (internal resources, top value based initiatives, vendors)
  • Prioritize the findings and create an enterprise-wide telehealth strategy
  • Access internal resources and the telehealth marketplace (government, consultants, industry vendors) to fulfill the needs and gain access to experts
  • Use /partner with telehealth experts (Government regional offices, organizations, consultants)      
  • Path: Assess/Strategize/Engage Stakeholders/Install/Test and Train/ Implement

Telehealth is not a standalone solution, it is a set of tools that is quickly becoming not optional as a central way to provide healthcare, maximize resources, promote efficiency, add revenue and meet patient demand


So, we hope your answer is YES, I’m a telehealth enabler! We wish you much success in developing your telehealth program!

~Tanya Mack, President
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