Wednesday, February 11, 2009

CyLab MRC Mobile Health Workshop: Kaiser Permanente's Naomi Fried Extols Telehealth and Envisions "Home as the Hub"

[Image: Kaiser Permanente's Vision for the Future]

CyLab MRC Mobile Health Workshop: Kaiser's Naomi Fried Extols Telehealth and Envisions "Home as the Hub"

Naomi Fried, Vice President for Innovation and Advanced Technology at Kaiser Permanente spoke on "Telehealth: Innovations in the Delivery of Health Care."

Kaiser Permanente (KP) has gravitas on any subject related to health care in the US.

KP is the largest nonprofit health plan in the US. It has 8.7 million members, 13,000+ physicians, 156K+ employees, 416 medical offices, and $35 billion in annual revenues in 32 states and Washington, D.C.

KP already had a sophisticated e-mail system in place, through all members can email doctor and get a response back within 24 hours, but Telehealth represents a paradigm shift in delivery of care, and its programs span the continuum of care

"Telehealth," Fried reports, "is a process and system for care that extends beyond traditional walls, bringing health care and wellness into the everyday experience of members and their families"

Touching all aspects of the patient's care, Telehealth leverages communications, information and biometric technologies to extend and enhance patient and care giver relationship.

"With Telehealth, members are met where they are," says Fried. A patient at home can step on a scale, and the reading is sent back to KP electronically. A physician can look into a baby's ear via videoconferencing and write a prescription, without the parent having to bring the baby into the office.

Emergency room visits can be reduced by thirty to forty percent.

Also, KP can get members home quicker, especially by curtailing those last two or three days in hospital, which are usually only for monitoring status. Now that can be done via mobile health technology.

To view Naomi Fried's presentation, click here.

Q&A on Mobile Health Workshop Themes

What is your vision of how mobile health will improve outcomes, reduce costs and/or improve patient (and provider) experiences?

Naomi Fried, Kaiser Permanente: Mobile devices are capable of playing a key role in remote management of our patients with chronic conditions. They would collect data from biometric devices in the patient’s home or office and upload and send the physiologic data back to KP where it could be electronically monitored and triaged. Clinicians would evaluate the data and take action when necessary.
Mobile devices also offer a platform for sharing health education information with patients that are on the move.
We are moving into an age when healthcare will be delivered at the convenience of the patient, outsides the confines of traditional healthcare delivery locations. Telehealth offers the opportunity to deliver care where the patient is for a variety of needs.

What are the most pressing business, process, organization, cultural and technical issues in mobile health?

Fried: For mobile data capture to monitor patients with chronic conditions to be as efficient as possible, the data must integrate seamlessly with the electronic medical record. Clinician workflow and management of patients with chronic conditions can best be optimized if there is a single access point for the clinician to view both home based and office based data. The electronic medical record must contain and provide access to all the necessary home-based data.