Roundup: news and updates from ATA 2017

By Heather Mack
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The American Telemedicine Association’s conference in Orlando, held earlier this week on April 24 and 25, hosted several partnership announcements, product launches and technology evolutions. Read on for MobiHealthNews’s roundup:

Stratus Video, which has made a name for itself with its video-based language interpretation services through everyday technology like tablets and smartphones, has been steadily expanding into telehealth technology. The company now currently works with 125 health systems over 1,600 hospitals, and are building on that further with a new partnership with Pennsylvania's Geisinger Health System. While no program is in place yet, Geisinger plans to launch several different pilots over the next few months to leverage Stratus’s dual expertise. While Geisinger has many existing telehealth programs in place, they were searching for ways to seamlessly integrate more communication tools that could address language barriers. 

"Over the last year, we've been looking at where our gaps were (and still are) within our organization, and originally we really started out thinking that new solutions would solely be inpatient, to bridge gaps of communication in the hospital only," Janet F. Rushing, who is the systems director at Geisinger's Center for Telehealth, told MobiHealthNews. "We knew patients were saying nurses and doctors are not spending enough time to explain, and we saw Stratus as a very viable solution because we needed something that allowed for high egagement and a simple one touch, one click solution."

Lee Horner, president of Stratus's telehealth division, pointed to the impact of language barriers on a patient's health and well-being, which his company came to understand when they first began wading into healthcare. 

"When we first looked at what was happening in the world of interpretation services, we saw people could get interpreters at the point of care, but getting specialists and physicians who could could communicate with them was a gap," Horner told MobiHealthNews. "So we thought, how can we take on the healthcare side, add interpretation, drive the healthcare organization's strategy of expanding telehealth, and leverage technology with staff? We know patient engagement is less than seven percent for people who are Limited English Proficient (LEP), but if we can integrate a model that has the interpration services in there, that engagement goes up to 50 or 60 percent."

The agnostic model of Stratus' offering was also an attractive selling point, and allows Geisinger to bring more people into the conversation at once. 

"What's important to us is that we don't have to access another provider network to bring in both capabilities, we can work with the interpreter side and also have the telehealth platform that fits right into our workflow," Rushing said. "The nurses at the bedside are familiar, the clinics and practice sites are already familiar, so patients will have that comfort level and an easy transition to adoption. And I know as an ICU from the interpreter side, patients are very trusting. They will do anything you ask of them, but most people don't speak nursing, especially if it is not in their native language."

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Royal Philips debuted its enterprise-level telemedicine software designed for use in intensive care units. Philips’ eCareManager, the company’s new FDA-cleared teleICU software, works to alleviate critical care team shortages by offering a platform connecting regular hospital staff with intensivists – physicians trained specifically for work in the ICU – and offering actionable insights to improve outcomes for patients with the most complex cases. More

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American Well announced two developments the company has taken to expand their footprint, both in regards to consumer accessibility as well as ease of use for providers and health systems using the platform. The company unveiled a new enterprise service called AW10, which contains over 100 new features specific to providers to make their experience with American Well’s platform simpler and more comprehensive. Also, the company finally unveiled details of their partnership with Samsung; a collaboration they shared limited information on just a couple of months ago at HIMSS 17. Now American Well’s platform is fully embedded into to Samsung’s newly revamped health app, Samsung Health, and can be accessed on many Samsung devices including the Galaxy S8 and S8+, which just came out last week. Under the “Experts” tab on Samsung Health, users can have on-demand video visits with any doctor who practices with American Well. More

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MAP Health Management announced its partnership with wearable maker Lief Therapeutics, which makes a patch that measures heart rate and breathing to track signs of stress. It syncs with a companion smartphone app to offer the wearer feedback and mindfulness exercises to calm their mind and self-regulate, ultimately teaching the wearer to monitor and positively control their behavior rather than succumb to knee-jerk responses common during moments of high anxiety. More

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Healthcare-focused video conferencing technology company Vidyo announced a partnership with patient engagement company Zillion. Using Vidyo’s API, Zillion will now feature face-to-face video communications as a component of their engagement platform. “Zillion’s partnership with Vidyo underscores our commitment to help make deep connections to users, whenever and wherever they want,” Bill Van Wyck, president and chief innovation officer at Zillion said in a statement. “Digital and on-demand health shouldn’t be less human, and we look forward to working with Vidyo to further enhance the patient experience.”

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Salus Telehealth announced the launch Quick Care, their on-demand mobile consultation platform that expands on their existing VideoMedicine offering. Users log into the VideoMedicine app, click the Quick Care banner, and are able to get a consultation from a US board-certified primary care provider within 30 minutes. 

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Two connected care companies, eDevice and iHealth, teamed up to co-create a remote patient-monitoring platform called iHealth Next. The platform combines iHealth’s medical sensor and front-end application capabilities with eDevice’s medical hubs technology and mobile network services skills.

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Digital health company Medpod launched their self-named platform, which integrates proprietary communication software with real-time data collection from a variety of medical and laboratory devices.