The Association of Telehealth Service Providers defines telehealth as the electronic provision of health care and information services for the direct benefit of individual patients and their families. It includes actual physician-patient interactions via telemedicine and the provision for education and information services designed to increase awareness of, and where applicable, compliance with diagnoses and medical conditions, treatments and good health practices.
"Viterion will focus on two strategic areas, Home Care and Disease Management, each requiring unique approaches for telehealth", stated Pramod Gaur, Ph.D., President and CEO for Viterion TeleHealthcare LLC. "We have selected these two market segments because they offer the greatest opportunity to improve the quality of life for individuals with chronic disease and are the fastest growing sectors looking for technology to help reduce the cost of delivering health care."
Viterion's goal is to provide telehealth solutions so easy to use that it becomes the standard as a means to improve access to affordable, quality health care. Viterion's products and support services are customisable to individual patient needs providing the health care professionals the flexibility they require for implementing care management. Included are patient friendly monitors, easily accessed medical information and a telecare co-ordination specialist to support a successful telehealth implementation.
Lisa Remington, Founder and Publisher of The Remington Report and Home Care expert, stated: "Two years ago home care agencies were struggling with the change of fixed Medicare reimbursement and patient privacy with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Today it's no longer IF, but HOW to implement telehealth technology. The impact is too great to ignore the effect it can have on the quality of patient care and on the reduction in medical expenses. Health care providers have been slow to adopt telehealth partly because of technology costs, organisational obstacles and availability of outcome data."
The key to flexibility is Viterion's unique Web-based secure clinical information management system. No additional investment or in-house servers are required by the provider to implement the Viterion patient monitoring systems. Since Viterion servers are accessed through the Internet, several providers can have secure access to the same data, making it easy for home care agencies and disease management companies to share results with the patient's physicians and hospital. Multiple levels of security and verification protocols provide confidence that patient information is protected to meet the current requirements of HIPAA.
Viterion also has a unique approach to customer service. Telecare co-ordination specialists will work with customers to help them achieve success with telehealth. This will include sharing of best practices and providing support during the initial pilot stage where the clinical provider determines the best implementation of telehealth care to achieve their clinical and business objectives. Viterion will continue to offer support with training, implementation, and procedures.
Home care is one of the fastest growing sectors in the United States. In "Principals of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology", L.G. Pawlson states for every nursing home resident, there are 3-4 patients with similar needs living at home. Home care usually follows an acute episode requiring hospitalisation and can necessitate the monitoring of vital patient information for up to 60 days after discharge.
Telehealth technology assists through frequent monitoring and close communication with elderly patients improving the quality of care delivered, reducing costs through fewer home nurse visits, potentially shortening the time required for home care and preventing hospital re-admission, all significantly important in the current fixed-reimbursement environment of Medicare.
Disease management of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma and congestive heart failure employs a combination of telehealth technology including physiological monitoring, surveys, consultations and education. The goal of a disease management programme is to reduce the cost of health care for these frequent health care users by educating the patients and empowering them to manage their disease for long-term health.
Through better disease management, fewer physician and emergency room visits, as well as a reduction in the number of hospital days all lead to a better quality of life for the patient with chronic disease and reduced medical expenses for federal and state governments, self-insured employers and private insurers.
Telehealth technology provides a mechanism for collecting and storing specific disease management data such as blood pressure, blood glucose, body weight, blood oxygen and temperature from a remote location. The technology also provides a means for the patients to communicate with their health care professional by video. The data is accessed in a clinical setting where it is interpreted by the health care provider.
Viterion TeleHealthcare LLC was established in January 2003 as a joint venture between Bayer HealthCare LLC's Diagnostics Division and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. Based in the state of New York, Viterion TeleHealthcare LLC markets products and services for the growing telehealth market in the United States. Viterion products offer comprehensive yet flexible solutions, which can be tailored to individual needs. More news on Viterion TeleHealthcare can be found in the VMW February 2003 article Bayer Diagnostics expands relationship with Matsushita Electric creating Viterion TeleHealthcare.