The Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to maximize telehealth’s ability to improve health outcomes, care delivery, and cost effectiveness.

CCHP Newsroom

  • Small Hospitals Turn to Telemedicine for ER Services

    mHealth Intelligence

    A small hospital on Prince Edward Island may turn to telemedicine to keep its emergency department open 24 hours a day. Officials with Health PEI, Prince Edward Island’s island-wide health system, are discussing a virtual visit platform for Kings County Memorial Hospital, a 30-bed community hospital in Montague. The hospital was forced to reduce its emergency room hours to 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. last year. That decision didn’t sit well with local residents. Last July, Montague’s town council voted to support a local businessman’s bid to launch a telemedicine pilot at the hospital. "The technology is available, is well-proven, we're not re-inventing the wheel," Ray Brown told CBC News, estimating the project would cost $20,000 to $28,000. "We're simply taking the best of technology that is available elsewhere in the world. If you become sick on the space station, you're seen immediately by a doctor via telemedicine … I'd like to see the same services here in Montague." Many small and rural hospitals across North America are struggling to stay afloat, facing competition from consumer-facing online telehealth platforms, retail health and urgent care clinics. Just this month, St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital in Cornwall, N.Y. and Baptist Hospital in Orange, Calif., shut down its emergency department due to a decline in business. 

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  • mHealth Study Uses Sensors, Analytics to Detect Sickness Before it Happens

    mHealth Intelligence

    mHealth wearables that continuously monitor vital signs may soon be able to detect sickness before the user even becomes sick. That’s the gist of a study of fitness monitors and other wearables conducted by the Stanford University School of Medicine and recently published in PLOS Biology. And it points to the potential of an integrated mHealth, precision medicine and AI-enhanced platforms that can identify changes in health patterns before they occur. The Stanford team, led by Michael Snyder, PhD, a professor and chairman of the university’s genetics program, captured nearly 2 billion biometric signs from 43 participants, including data from wearable sensors and taken from lab tests. Participants wore between one and seven devices that could capture more than 250,000 measurements a day. According to the study, the Stanford team used these measurements to establish a baseline for each participant, measuring patterns in heart rate, temperature, breathing rate, activity and sleep, calories used, weight, blood oxygen levels and exposure to x-rays and gamma rays. The study also factored in environmental and other outside factors that could affect a person. When the wearables picked up variations in those baseline readings, researchers were tipped to the fact that the user’s body was reacting to something unexpected. For example, elevated temperatures and heart rate combined with increased levels of C reactive protein in blood tests might indicate someone is dealing with an inflammation, which could indicate an infection, autoimmune disease, even the presence of cancer cells. 

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  • mHealth Programs Aim to Reach Patients Before they Need the ER

    mHealth Intelligence

    Mobile health platforms, be they kiosks, consumer-facing telehealth portals or virtual care stations, are often seen as an antidote to the overcrowded Emergency Department. Now a Seattle health system is using mobile care coordination teams to reach seriously ill homeless people before they end up in the ER. A first-of-its-kind project launched in 2014 by Harborview Medical Center and the Seattle/King County Health Care for Homeless Network has helped more than 100 homeless people get the palliative care they need before they show up at the hospital and in need of hundreds of thousands of dollars in uncompensated care. The mHealth program connects these people with Medicare- or charity-funded services like cancer and chronic care treatment. “It’s really necessary that people be taken care of where they are,” Daniel Lam, MD, director of inpatient and outpatient palliative care services at Harborview, part of the UWQ Medicine health system, told Kaiser Health News. In a report issued last June, the program, funded by a $170,000 grant, has cut ER visits by 25 percent and halved hospital stays for patients treated for at least six months.

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