Dr. Nicholas Okon, DO CEO
As soon as technology began to enhance long distance communications, telemedicine began expanding access and convenience for millions. Dr. Nicholas Okon, a stroke neurologist, entrepreneur and engineer, recognized the importance of communication when he developed telestroke networks in Montana and Oregon where he practiced. Providers may be in different states or different countries providing care to patients in a remote location. A patient may be in an Oregon hospital and emergency room physicians may contact a centralized transfer center located in Washington for a telemedicine consult. The transfer center reaches needs to send a request to an on-call physician in Montana who then performs a consult on the patient in Oregon. Collecting data in real time is vital to capturing the right data, ensuring the quality of that data, and integrating it into reporting for the patient’s and healthcare community’s benefit.
Often, in many telemedicine networks, the information technology used by the health system providing care is different from the remote locations receiving the care. “We realized that by leveraging web technologies pervasive on smartphones and tablets, a web based tool could capture data within the telemedicine workflow of care in real time ensuring that the required data and important pieces of information weren’t lost and enforcing a standard of consistency and quality,” delineates Okon. This was the driver behind the development of Avedis’ TeleMedTrack platform - designed to prioritize collection of quality metrics and data in real time, and support full documentation of the consult. TeleMedTrack is several applications within one, including secure messaging communication, documentation using web forms, direct deposit capabilities into electronic health records, and quality metric reporting. “Using TeleMedTrack, providers can complete their consultations and documentation using one tool and one process that is HIPAA compliant, secure, and has a consistent interface,” he adds.
TeleMedTrack enables providers to complete their consultations and documentation using one tool and one process
An example of the success of TeleMedTrack is its deployment within a large health system. The client was supporting fifty telestroke sites across three states. Their transfer/ communication center was challenged with the volume of calls from the numerous sites and had been using different software tools and manual methods to collect data such as site identification, patient data, reason for call, type of consult requested, name of on-call provider and more. The physician providers were also challenged by the process required to document a consultation–which often entailed finding a spreadsheet with unique instructions for a specific site. Through TeleMedTrack, the client could set-up and manage the configuration using a web application without additional IT support and maintain the lists of facilities, on-call provider schedules, and real time quality metric data reporting. Users of TeleMedTrack had a consistent experience for messaging between call centers and providers, telemedicine consult documentation and a more efficient workflow for delivery of telemedicine across the fifty sites. Barriers to quality data abstraction and delays in reporting were significantly reduced, allowing real time sharing across numerous stakeholders within a web-based application.
Avedis’ future looks bright as a growing number of health systems make telemedicine a part of their service offering. Though Avedis started with telestroke because of Dr. Okon’s background, the need for quality data exists within telemedicine service lines beyond that including telepsychiatry, telepediatrics care, teletrauma, or teleburn. TeleMedTrack is easily adapted to those services because they have the same needs - communication, documentation, data collection and quality reporting. Per Dr. Okon, “TeleMedTrack is an innovative solution and incredibly powerful and we are optimistic about deploying it in large healthcare organizations that are growing their telemedicine networks.”