HIMSS10 – Sprint

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At HIMSS10, Michael Tranchina spoke to Tim Donahue, Vice President of Industry Solutions at Sprint. Mr. Donahue describes Sprint’s role in healthcare, which is mainly wireless technology that can benefit patients and providers. Mr. Donahue communicates that Sprint is about healthcare, and discusses how technologically, 3G/4G networks, and smart phones will play an important role in adding value to both patients and healthcare providers. Mr. Donahue closes by showing some Sprint products highlighted at HIMSS10.

Category: HIMSS10, Tradeshows
Date: March 30, 2010
Views:5,603 views

Michael Tranchina: Hi, this is Mike Tranchina with EHRtv and today, I'm with Tim Donahue, Vice President of Industry Solutions at Sprint. Hi, Tim.

Tim Donahue: Hi, how are you?

Michael Tranchina: Great. Tim, tell me what do you see Sprint's role in the health care space?

Tim Donahue: Well, you know, I think our role is primarily around the wireless space. If you look at healthcare, the question is what's going to transform it and it's not just from a cost perspective because as doctors or hospitals, we tend to focus on costs. The reality is it has to benefit the patients and the providers. I think our role is to help bring those two together to give them a better experience. If you think of delivering home health care so that the patients don't have to travel, et cetera and also that's obviously a significant cost reduction for physicians and for hospitals, et cetera. So I think our role is to bring those two together in a better experience for both.

Michael Tranchina: Is that what the industry leaders call tele-medicine or is that one small aspect of the big picture?

Tim Donahue: Well, I think tele-medicine can sometimes be genericized as thinking it's done over a telephone.

Michael Tranchina: Right.

Tim Donahue: I look at it as remote or home health care and it comes in many venues I guess. So rather than tele-medicine, I'm going to call it remote or home health care. That encompasses things such as being able to, in a live video environment, see your patient as the clinician or the doctor that can see the patient but not be there. They can take a camera and actually show situations like I have a laceration or in the case of pulmonary disease, they can literally take a stethoscope that plugs into this machine and wirelessly be able to listen to someone's breathing. Or in the case of heart disease, they can listen to their heart. All of this is transmitted over potentially a wireless or a wire line. The reason they like wireless is it's much more ubiquitous. If you think of the aging population, they tend not to necessarily have broadband at their home. When you think of applications, wireless pretty much covers 95 percent of the United States population. They don't have to worry about that in the core of the application.

Michael Tranchina: So we're not just talking about telephones now or cell phones. We're talking about hand-held devices that are communication devices.

Tim Donahue: That's right, that's right. Just an example, this device here. We call it the HTC Touch Pro2. You can see that the screen on this thing is quite phenomenal. So I, as a doctor or a clinician, can literally download things such as EKGs, x-rays, patient medical records. This is a pretty vibrant screen.

Michael Tranchina: High resolution.

Tim Donahue: High resolution, high speed. I mean, this is today available on the 3G environment. Later this year, we're going to have one in the 4G environment which means even higher speeds. One thing that's been a complication in health care is the ability to download large volumes of data. If it's an ultrasound or an x-ray or MRI, before they couldn't do that in a mobile environment. Well, now they're doing that maybe sitting at the restaurant. Hey, even doctors have to eat, right? So they can be at a restaurant, a situation arises, receive that material, be able to actually understand what it is, take a look at it, and make diagnosis remotely.

Michael Tranchina: Tell me what products and services are you highlighting here at the HIMSS show.

Tim Donahue: The primary things we've already mentioned one. The ability for clinicians or doctors to be able to get access to information anywhere that they are or anywhere that they need to access it, that's a big change. The reason is, if we think of all the patients out there, we obviously don't have near enough doctors to do as efficiently as we'd like to do it and they want to provide the ultimate in care to their patients. So being able to do that anywhere, anytime is actually a big thing. We talked a little bit about home health care, remote diagnostics. At an infrastructure level, the fact that we have such wireless ubiquity and that we can put a screen at someone's home and the doctor can actually speak to them, and then they can actually run tests like test their oxygen level, send their glucose information, take a blood pressure reading all of that done without the patient ever leaving their home. That's vitally important. When you think home health care, better than 70 percent are 65 years or older. Well, they don't want to necessarily leave their home. Whether it's weather or inconvenience or maybe they can't drive. Now, they never have to leave their home and the doctor can provide a better service.

I think the other thing that we're basically promoting here is what we call 4G and 4G comes in many forms. This is just an example. This is called the overdrive. This device right here basically receives a 4G signal and 4G - let me translate that for you - means that it's going to be five to ten megabits per second which is screaming speed as you can imagine. This also emits a Wi-Fi signal. So we can enable up to five simultaneous devices. Once again you can think of health care - could be your phone, it could be other medical devices that will interface with this because Wi-Fi is over a standard. So those are probably the main things that we're highlighting here at the show today.

Michael Tranchina: Now because your product is vendor neutral, it's a platform, are you partnering up with EMR companies, EHR companies and other health care organizations or how are you getting your platform in the data link, if you will, in the middle so that that data can be processed through your devices?

Tim Donahue: No, it's a great question. You know, Dan Hesse talked about this today. We're very much about the open architecture. We do that on purpose because we basically don't say no to any application. Leverage our infrastructure. So in our booth today, we've got CellTrack over here. We've got American TeleCare Inc. over here. When you think of Allscripts, Cerner all of your ERP providers, we basically create an infrastructure that any of them can plug into. And it's a pretty complex environment when you think of the billing and the reimbursement, the ERP systems, the EMRs that I have to track and also just the end users out there. So we really just try to be very, very agnostic and give them the devices, the operating systems because they may choose to use Windows operating system or Rim operating systems or Android operating system. We try to stay agnostic and then just give them the tools and the infrastructure they can transport it over.

Michael Tranchina: So over the coming years how do you see Sprint positioning yourselves in the health care space? Obviously, there's a lot of competition, you're a big company. How are you going to carve out a niche in the health care industry and differentiate yourself in the marketplace?

Tim Donahue: You know, I think probably the main thing is first saying that we're about health care because everybody has capabilities. We talked about the interface to the major ERP and application providers. We have to work with them. That just doesn't happen magically. We spend a lot of time with our application partners ensuring that those interfaces work. We have an entire team that's only about health care and that's really important. Those are the things that you have to do just to be positioned for health care uniquely. Then, lastly is what are we doing technologically. I talked about 4G. We cover 30 million pops a day. We'll cover 120 million pops by the end of the year. That's roughly a little better than a third of the U.S population this year. Basically, we have this capability but we're going to have a smart phone that will enable both 4G and 3G. It gives you the best of both worlds. Where you have 4G, you've got that high band width and high speed. Secondly, you've got ubiquity because you have 3G coverage. So I really see as we look into kind of the future that 4G and ensuring that we're continuing to focus on just being very, very tightly interwoven with the health care space - doctors, hospitals, home health care - that's probably the important ingredient.

Michael Tranchina: Is there anything else you want to tell us today about where you're going in the health care space or what you're presenting here at HIMSS?

Tim Donahue: You know, I think probably the thing to maybe end on is the fact that it isn't about the technology and it isn't about the cost. It's real important that it's the combination of this technology, the patients and how they will use it and then the providers. It has to add value to all of those parties. So don't make it about a technology stand alone, make it about a user experience. I think the combinations of our speeds being 4G/ 3G, that ubiquity, the devices linking into the application so that that senior citizen, if you will, can get their care at home and also save the provider an enormous amount of money by delivering that service at the home environment.

So this is the HTC Touch Pro2. What's great about this device is it allows the physician to be able to download images of x-rays, images of MRIs or ultrasounds whatever the case might be and EMRs. It also gives them a full keyboard so they have that capability to put information in. Then conversely, you can shrink it up so that it isn't some huge, amorphous device. It's actually pretty compact as well for the person to carry to just make phone calls or whatever. This device is the overdrive and what this device is a 4G - think of it as basically a 4G modem or a 4G router. It actually transmits at five to ten megabits per second. Think of it as up to 10 times faster than our normal 3G technologies and what it does is emits a Wi-Fi signal so you can enable five devices simultaneously or five users. In a doctor's office in theory you could set it up and run five computers off of it or if you had certain medical equipment or printing equipment, it could also run off of this device.

So this is the CellTrack application and the CellTrack application basically is for home health providers. So think of this in the form of people who have to deliver services at the home for people either in bad physical state or bad mental state. Basically, what it does is it allows you to go out - and in this case right now, we are retrieving what we call the care plan. So think of this as these are the services that I need to provide to that individual in that environment. What it'll do is it'll pull up the care plan and then as the home health provider what I will do is basically go through this care plan and as I deliver the services, I basically check them off. So you can see on the screen that I need to provide a shower, mouth and/or denture care, clean, file toenails and then assist and dress patient. These are the tasks I have to complete and I can't just go to the end and finish. I have to complete each task before I can actually finish or close the care plan. We actually track the location of the provider so we know they're at this facility delivering the service. Then at the end of the service, this information is transmitted back to our office as well as the billing entities - think of Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance - all of those environments. So it's electronic medical information that gets transmitted which increases accuracy, reduces errors, speeds up reimbursement and obviously, all of these things are really important on the cost side as well as on the accuracy side.

Michael Tranchina: I think what's also important today is it's holding workers accountable so you know what they're doing, when they're doing it to make sure they're not doing something that they maybe shouldn't be doing.

Tim Donahue: It's a very good point. What we have here with CellTrack is once again the ability. We've literally bread-crumbed this individual to the place where they deliver the service. Everything is time-stamped so when they finish the services it's actually time stamped and when they leave. So we know that they went to the facility, they provided the service and when they left the facility whereas opposed to just saying, yeah, I did this, it's literally tracked on GPS and time-stamped which is verification. And you know what, if you have good health care providers, they don't mind being tracked because that means they did what they were supposed to do and they want people to know they did what they were supposed to do. So it's a win-win for the industry, for the actual provider and of course, the patient.

Michael Tranchina: That's great. Thanks, Tim. I really appreciate your time.

Tim Donahue: Absolutely.

Michael Tranchina: Have a great day. This is Mike Tranchina with EHRtv.

One Response

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