The Top 3 Ways Information Technology Impacts Patient Care

When thinking of key factors that affect the level of care that patients receive, we tend to exclude or not think of the technology that is enabling healthcare providers to provide effective services.

Healthcare information technology has grown and matured drastically in recent decades. Electronic Health Records, networking, data storage, and communications technologies have become critical pieces of the healthcare ecosystem. Effective implementation of these systems can improve quality of care and patient safety, bolster patient information security and augment the level of interaction between patients and healthcare providers.

Let’s take a look at each of these points:

#3: Quality of Care and Patient Safety

Electronic Health Records (EHR) can improve quality of care by providing healthcare providers an easily-accessible, up-to-date and comprehensive view of a patient’s medical history. In doing so, they also improve patient safety by reducing the possibility of prescription error or other issues that could lead to potential legal claims.

#2: Patient Information Security

Due to the sensitive nature of patient records, the Federal government enacted the Health Insurance and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which established regulations for safeguarding health information. Technologies such as stealth networking can facilitate HIPAA compliance and ensure that patient information is secure, while still providing simplicity of deployment and maintenance.

#1: Interaction Between Patients and Healthcare Providers

Effective interactions between patients and doctors are critical, and information technology is facilitating more ways to communicate and collaborate than ever before. Healthcare providers are adopting technologies such as multichannel communications, mobile apps, and telemedicine in order to accelerate care and provide a better patient experience.

To learn more about the impact of health information technology visit or follow the #NHITweek stream on Twitter.

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This article was a guest post from Rob Arguello.

Rob Arguello is part of Avaya’s Industry Marketing team. Rob joined Avaya in early 2014 via the Global Management Development Program. His prior experience includes content management and Internet marketing. He has a BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from San Jose State University.

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Telemedicine Takes Center Stage in Baltimore

Today, it’s estimated that more than 50 percent of the world’s population lives in or near a major urban area. For those of us who do, seeing a doctor is relatively easy—there are multiple specialists to choose from, and checkups are something we can do on our lunch break.

But what about the other half of the planet? Seeing a medical specialist for a routine checkup is a major undertaking–in some cases requiring long-distance travel.

Enter telemedicine, a rapidly-growing field that allows people to connect with doctors virtually, often using live video and instant messaging. Telemedicine also allows doctors to connect with their colleagues over video conferencing.

Last month, I got the chance to attend the annual American Telemedicine Association conference in Baltimore. This year’s show had nearly 5,000 attendees and 250 vendors in the exhibit hall (their largest exhibitor showcase to date). At the show, the ATA unveiled its new slogan, “Connected to Care,” a theme that resonated throughout the four-day show.

American Telemedicine Association Conference 2014

I attended some fantastic sessions from leaders in the field of telemedicine, notably from global humanitarian and Harvard University professor Dr. Paul Farmer, United Health Group CEO Stephen Hemsley and Jonathan Woodson, the U.S. Department of Defense’s Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs.

Farmer has done extensive work in Rwanda and Haiti, two countries that have been in dire need of improved medical care. He advocates for telemedicine as a way to bring effective care to areas that are underserved by onsite doctors. To drive his point home, he told the story of Joseph, a patient whose access to care helped him transition from untreatable to treatable.

American Telemedicine Association Conference 2014

United Health Group CEO Hemsley runs one of the world’s largest health insurance companies, employing more than 133,000 people worldwide, in charge of providing insurance to some 70 million people. The United Health Group holds dozens of patents on data analytics, and has a strong interest in telemedicine, Hemsley said.

Going forward, Hemsley said his company would apply those analytics capabilities to study patient claim data to determine where there might be opportunities to intervene with a patient earlier, to improve quality of care for the patient while reducing overall costs.

The Defense Department’s Woodson described the challenge of providing healthcare to a global military force. Dr. Woodson said he believed that telehealth would serve as a strategic enabler of global health engagement.

At ATA, Avaya showcased its video collaboration solutions–focusing on Avaya Scopia—notably how the software can integrate with telemedicine cart providers such as Enovate and remote units, like GlobalMed’s Transportable Exam Station.

We also showed off Avaya One-Touch Video, demonstrating how video could be used to connect a patient with a pool of resources virtually. Avaya also showcased its healthcare-focused proactive outbound solutions, which doctors use to gather information from a patient after an office visit, using voice, email or SMS.

Learn more about the American Telemedicine Association by visiting their web site:

To learn more about Avaya’s products and solutions for the healthcare industry, please visit our Health Care page to learn more.

I Would (and did) Walk 500 Miles

How and why I upgraded to a treadmill desk, creating a much healthier work/life balance, losing weight, all the while not adding any time to my day for exercise.

After years of back problems resulting in physical therapy, I knew I needed to make a change. The biggest problem for me was the 11 hours a day I spend at my desk, hunched over my keyboard. While I know that good posture could help out a lot, the truth is that as I get in to “the zone”, I stop paying attention to posture and the next thing I know, my body is aching.



The plight of strain caused by sitting at a desk is unfortunately not unique to me. Harvard Business Review did a great article on how Sitting Is the Smoking of Our Generation. I don’t think the title is an embellishment; like smoking, sitting at your desk is a bad health choice people willingly make every day. CBS News ran a story on how your desk job is making you fat.

After some thought, I decided to haul our unused and dusty treadmill out of the basement up to my second floor (did I mention my back isn’t doing great?) home office. With my wife’s woodworking skills we built some functional (not attractive) tables of the appropriate height out of 4x4s for the posts and plywood for the tabletop.



We then placed the existing tables on top of these new tables, effectively raising my desktop to be about 5 feet off the ground. This allowed me to place my phone (an Avaya Desktop Video Device on the left), three monitors, and my MacBook Pro at a healthy viewing height, with proper spacing and positioning  (verified by OSHA’s website). To make the keyboard and mouse accessible, we built a wood shelf from a 2×8 board long enough to not only go across the handlebars, but also extend further to give me more counter space. This was the trickiest part as my handlebars are slanted, requiring some more creative building to get a shelf mostly level. Below is what that setup looks like.




The results have been great. In the first five months, I averaged six miles a day, with my all-time best being 11 miles in a single day. I typically walk at a pace of 2.0 mph, which is about as fast as I can comfortably go while still being able to type, work, and if on the phone, talk. When on a conference call that I need to speak on, I will reduce the speed to 1.5mph as my treadmill wasn’t really meant for this use and thus is a little loud in the background. I’m also doing more and more video conferencing which adds an interesting wrinkle as I look a little odd to others on the conference. Depending on the situation, I may pause the treadmill until the video call is over.

In the last five months of 2012, I walked 500 miles without adding anything to my already busy schedule as I’m doing my exercising while at work. So far, I have lost 10 pounds and my back issues have all but gone away. I’m embarrassed to say that in the first four months of 2013, my average has dipped below 4 miles a day, due in part to more video conferencing. I’m re-invigorated now and am hoping to rack up some miles soon.

I’m not alone. Susan Orlean of The New Yorker did a story about how much she loves her treadmill desk and how she can’t help but be an evangelist for it. USA Today also recently did a story on how others are using them to get healthy at the office.

So tell me – what are you doing to bring movement back into your office? Anyone else doing the treadmill desk approach? Taking several walks throughout the day? Walking to the vending machine at the END of the hall for your Coke and Snickers bar? Are you a Treadmill Desk pro with your own dance moves? Drop a line below in the comments and share your experience.

Contact or follow me on Twitter @CarlKnerr.