Banner Health Sees Benefits of Telehealth

Deb Dahl
Deb Dahl

Deb Dahl, vice president of patient care and innovation at Banner Health, discusses her experiences managing the telehealth program for the health system. Banner Health is a nonprofit health system based in Phoenix operating more than 20 hospitals and specialized facilities. It is the second largest employer in Arizona, providing emergency care, hospital care, hospice, long-term care, outpatient surgery centers, labs, rehab services, pharmacies, and ambulatory clinics, which include Banner Arizona Medical Clinic and Banner Medical Group. 

The health system is a long-time user of telehealth technology, which has had a profound positive impact on providing patient care and is seen as a major benefit to the organization.

Have you used telehealth services in your practice to provide care?

Yes, we have had a long standing relationship with Philips collaborating on telehealth programs, using a “technology, people and process” approach to healthcare. We started with a single facility in 2007, and our telehealth program now reaches more than 400 beds at 18 facilities in Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska with plans to cover our Fairbanks, Alaska, facility and Nevada site some time in 2015. Across these facilities we utilize telehealth in the intensive care unit, acute care, skilled nursing facility, and ambulatory space (patients at home). We use a command center approach, which allows a dedicated team of physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists and social workers. We provide coverage to more than 400 ICU beds in five states, more than 200 medical/surgical patients, neuro and behavioral health ED coverage, 500 complex chronic members at home, as well as simple low acuity on demand home visits.

What’s it like? Is it all it’s cracked up to be?

Yes, we went live with our first 50 ICU beds in 2006. With our program growth, we’ve experienced great results: in 2013 our ICU results were among the top three in the U.S.  Using APACHE as the actual to predictive model Banner saved more than 33,000 ICU days, 47,000 hospital days and 1,890 lives in 2013. We are expecting similar results for 2014.

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FairWarning Privacy Excellence Awards Honor Leading Providers for Commitment to Patient Privacy

fairwarning awardFairWarning, the inventor and KLAS category leader in patient privacy monitoring, announced the winners of its inaugural Privacy Excellence Awards at HIMSS14. The awards recognize healthcare organizations that are leading the way in protecting patient privacy.

According to Christian Merhy, FairWarning’s vice president of marketing, winners were selected by an independent panel of privacy experts from around the world, though FairWarning officials and staff oversaw the process to ensure its integrity.

The Privacy Excellence Awards showcase six healthcare organizations from around the world that remain are committed to delivering the best quality of care and “creating a culture of privacy and compliance through courage, innovation, and dedication,” according the news release on the announcement.

The overall achievement award winner – the organization with the highest score worldwide — was St . Dominic ’s  from Jackson, Miss.

Visionary of the year went to UPMC in Pittsburgh, Penn. The “organization exemplifies how an imaginative and enterprising spirit and custom privacy program results in a strong culture of patient privacy,” according to FairWarning, the Clearwater, Fla.-based software firm.

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HIMSS Asks: What is the Value of Health IT?

Once again, HIMSS is asking for perspective about the value of Health IT. The organization asked members of the social media and blogging community to respond to this very question last year for its second year celebrating National Health IT Week. It’s doing so again in preparation of #HIMSS14.

As I pointed out last year, even though it seems like a simple question, there still don’t appear to be any simple answers. There remains different answers depending on who you ask. So, again, instead of offering my lone opinion, I’ve asked a variety of folks to respond to the question, “What is the value of health IT,” based on their insight and experience serving the space.

Phyllis Teater
Phyllis Teater

Phyllis Teater, chief information officer, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

The value of health IT lies in its ability to address three of the major, although competing, forces of change in healthcare.  The need to standardize care, personalize care, and reduce costs requires the synthesis of vast amounts of data as well as dramatic changes to workflow and process.   I can conceive of no way to go about pursuing these changes without technology.  The old adage “you cannot improve what you cannot measure” tells us that improving health care requires us to leverage our data, turning it into knowledge and to then build the new workflows that will change the way we deliver care.

John Backhouse, executive director of the Omni Program, Information Builders

John  Backhouse
John Backhouse

Health IT is the means for providing the best possible data at the point of care.  It addresses the who, what, when and where of a patient’s care, which helps healthcare providers enhance the patient experience and deliver high-quality of care to improve health and well-being, preserve privacy and ensure security. Health IT facilitates innovation and overcomes interoperability challenges that gives providers transparency for the patient pathway to improve quality of care and minimize clinical and financial costs by eliminating duplicate patient records, incomplete medical histories, incorrect medications, clinical errors, billing mistakes, and avoidable readmissions, as well as correcting the overuse, underuse, and misuse of beneficial care. Adopting health IT is the one strategy healthcare organizations can take to enter a golden age of patient care.

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