Special to Federal Telemedicine News
Author: Allison Price
email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 011 44 780 254 1224
At a rural office outside of Richmond, Virginia, a small team of physicians and entrepreneurs is working hard to change the face of telemedicine. There is a certain buzz at this office and the excitement felt here is palpable. “We believe that all people around the world can—and will—have access to quality healthcare, where and when they need it,” says Adam Hardage, CEO Remote Health Solutions www.remotehealthsolutions.org, “Today we’re making that belief a reality through our technology and a relentless drive to expand global access to remote medicine.”
It is 5:30 in the morning and Hardage is already at work, strategizing with RHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jonathan Baugh on several company initiatives. “This is a really exciting time for the company and the future of telemedicine,” says Dr. Baugh. “We have just come to market with a ground-breaking FDA-cleared device that allows us to put a patient and a Doctor in direct contact almost anywhere on the planet. More than just another tablet, our ‘Virtual Exam Room’ allows me to not only video conference with a patient 10,000 miles away, but also to conduct remote diagnostics like 12-lead ECG and complete vital signs.”
“Think about the implications for our military forces deployed around the world,” says Hardage. “With this device, we now have the ability to send a virtual Doctor into the field with every US military unit, no matter where they’re going. And as a guy with six rotations to the sand box, I not only understand the need, but I know this is going to completely change the nature of medical care in a deployed environment.”
I’m shown the VER in a variety of configurations for different use scenarios and must admit it seems impressive. There is a clinical cart version, a field-hardened version for medics, a more robust rolling clinic for use in remote villages or disaster areas. Hardage adds, “I can easily see this becoming standard equipment for deployment with SOF units because it complements so well the skills of already highly-trained medics on the teams.” With the whole thing weighing less than 20 pounds and being about the size of a briefcase, it’s hard to deny the device’s potential utility that Hardage speaks of with such passion.
Dr. Baugh interjects, “The real game changer here is that all we need is a 3G connection anywhere on the planet and we can conduct a clinical quality exam or one of our Doctors can direct care.” Nodding in agreement, Hardage adds, “I don’t think there’s another company out there who can do what this platform can over 3G. What’s more, the VER is cleared for patient self-use, meaning we don’t even need to have a medical professional on the ground to hook the patient up… they can do it themselves and be connected directly to the Doctor. That is hugely beneficial in remote and austere environments.”
What about HIPAA compliance? Dr. Baugh nods, saying, “The VER is not only HIPAA compliant but it also syncs to Electronic Medical Records through a cyber secure cloud. A really interesting aspect for the insurance companies as telemedicine laws change is that the system also includes Doctor’s notes and ICD codes, so it can become a billable event in many cases.”
Hardage points to a bright yellow pelican case. “These are our maritime and airline versions,” he says. Wait, airline? “Yes, absolutely. Whether on an airplane, an oil platform, or ship at sea; the VER has almost unlimited utility across a range of industries. Not only does it add value but it also saves money,” says Hardage. “In the case of the airlines, we’re currently working with a major US air carrier to change the way in-flight medical emergencies are handled.
Right now it’s a game of ‘telephone’ between the patient, the flight attendant, the Captain, and a ground call center. All of that’s about to change. Moreover, when it comes to the airlines, we can demonstrate a return on investment in less than three years. Then the VER has paid for itself and begins making money for the airline by decreasing the rate of preventable aircraft diverts.”
Sounds terrific, but what about the billions of people around the world who live in underserved areas or those people who don’t have access to any healthcare at all? Hardage nods, saying, “Great question. We’re currently working with a major university and their grant system to deploy these into remote villages and underserved areas in Central America and Africa.” Dr. Baugh comments, “When it comes to the fight against infectious diseases like Ebola and Smallpox, everyone involved quickly sees how these devices can also protect the care givers who themselves are at risk for infection.”
“We’re also working with one of our partners to establish a network of clinics in the Middle East,” says Hardage. “Imagine that for the first time, 2 million refugees in Jordan could have access to a US Board-Certified network of Physicians… or that you could go to a clinic in the West Bank and see a US Doctor! Incredible,” he says, shaking his head in amazement. Dr. Baugh nods in agreement. “The applications really are almost limitless.”
With the time for our interview up, one thing is certain; the energy and excitement felt at the RHS office is tangible. This is a company that seems clearly intent on moving the telemedicine industry forward in a variety of big ways. To learn more about Remote Health Solutions or to engage the company’s services, contact Adam. Hardage at email@example.com or phone at 804-893-0890. Contact Dr. Johnathan Baugh www.remotehealthsolutions.org,oe by phone at 1-804-893-0890.