What You Need to Know About Monitoring & Managing Your Healthcare Network

What You Need to Know About Monitoring & Managing Your Healthcare Network

The healthcare industry has gone through rapid transformation in the past two decades. The introduction of computers, the Internet and digital data into the healthcare sphere has forever transformed the way healthcare organizations are managed and run. Paper records are now electronic. Data is now stored on the Cloud. Interoperability between systems is growing. Computers, tablets, mobile devices, medical devices and printers are all inter-connected on the local area network (LAN) and critical to delivering patient care. All of these devices, combined with the telecommunications technology, host all of the data that makes healthcare organizations function, run and effectively serve the needs of patients. The LAN is the heart of healthcare communications infrastructure; therefore, it is critical that it’s being proactively managed, monitored, supported and secured. In this blog post, we’ll tackle why the first two- managing and monitoring- are so vital to the health of your IT network.

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The Big Five: Chronic Care Management

The Big Five: Chronic Care Management

Chronic diseases are a national epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic diseases and conditions- such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity and arthritis- are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States, and yet that are among the most common, costly and preventable of all health problems. In fact, as of 2012 half of all adults (117 million people) have one or more chronic health conditions, and 1 in 4 adults have 2 or more chronic health conditions, as do 1 in 15 children. As a healthcare provider, chronic conditions play a massive role in your organization’s daily patient care and yet it has quickly become the most expensive sector in the industry, accounting for approximately 86% of total healthcare spending.

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Choosing a Service Provider: Top 3 Factors You Need to Know About that Affect USAC Funding

Choosing a Service Provider: Top 3 Factors You Need to Know About that Affect USAC Funding

Are you a skilled nursing facility (SNF) looking to apply for Universal Service Funding for the upcoming year under the Rural Health Care (RHC) Program? SNFs are eligible to apply for the RHC Program and file forms 465 or 461, the first step in the funding process, on January 1, 2017. At TeleQuality Communications, we have over 15 years of experience in providing quality telecommunications and technology solutions to healthcare providers and assisting them through the RHC program. We have learned extensively over the years while navigating the program with our healthcare client and want to share with you a few tips we have under our belt.

While any service provider can technically provide services for your network, there are three key factors that can influence that amount of funding you receive from the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) who administers the USF funding:

  • Form Guidance
  • Network Design
  • Invoicing USAC
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TeleQuality Wins San Antonio Company “Fit Challenge”

 

All we do is win! That’s right, TeleQuality Communications competed in the 2016 Company FIT Challenge held in San Antonio and won 1st place for the small sized company division. We are so proud of all of our employees who worked and trained together to compete in the challenge and ultimately have fun while being healthy! The Fit Company Challenge promotes fitness and health in the business community by honoring and challenging those companies and leaders that lead by example, and inspiring others to follow! Check out some awesome photos below of our team "Bandwidth and Chill" rockin’ the FIT challenge! (All photos courtesy of Fit Company Challenge)

 

 

TeleQuality Named 2016 "Market Mover" by AT&T Partner Exchange

 
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TeleQuality Communications is very excited and grateful to announce we were one of a handful of companies to receive an award and recognition from AT&T at their 2016 Partner Exchange Summit (APEX) in Dallas on October 12th. TeleQuality won the Market Mover award that signifies the highest mix of revenue and sales for an AT&T solutions provider. At TeleQuality, we always work to find the best combination of telecommunications products and services to best serve our customers and we are thrilled to be able to provide many of those solutions through AT&T.

 

The Big Five: Healthcare Workforce Deficits

The Big Five: Healthcare Workforce Deficits

Welcome back to TeleQuality’s blog series on the top five issues putting healthcare providers into financial crisis. Today we will unpack the second issue of our series: Healthcare Workforce Deficits. The healthcare system is facing a serious workforce shortage. From physicians and nurses to health IT workers, these shortages are being felt deeply across the country every day. As with most challenges in the industry, the shortage is exacerbated in rural areas. There is both a limited supply of medical professionals to cover the needs of our population, but also a limited number of skilled IT workers to manage and support the complex IT environments relied upon heavily by healthcare organizations of all sizes.

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National Cyber Security Awareness Month

National Cyber Security Awareness Month

October is here and that means time to celebrate all things fall! Including hot chocolate, pumpkin-spice everything, scarves, leaves changing colors and…cyber security? That’s right, get your high-tech thinking caps on because October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM)! NCSAM is an annual campaign put on by the Department of Homeland Security to encourage all companies, industries and consumers to raise awareness about cyber security in the 21st century. Cyber security does not discriminate. With a more connected world than ever thanks to the Internet, cyber security affects everyone around the world, no matter how urban or rural you are. From the financial sector and government to retail and healthcare, cyber criminals are looking to do real damage and harm to their victim organizations. Although cyber security is a growing threat to all industries, one industry has been hit very hard the past few years and will continue to see a growing number of threats: HEALTHCARE.

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Getting to Know our Rural Healthcare Partners

Jared Alfson of Community Memorial Hospital talks about Rural Health Telecom℠ and how Telemedicine has improved their rural health services.  

 

Jared Alfson of Community Memorial Hospital talks about Rural Health Telecom℠ and how Telemedicine has improved rural health services. Rural Health Telecom℠ develops and support services and products that are tailored to rural health care providers needs and designed to qualify for coverage under the Rural Health Care Program, such as: * Wide-area networks (WAN) with a wide range of features and benefits.

 

So, What is The Healthcare Connect Fund?

The Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) provides support for eligible health care providers (HCPs) to access proper broadband connectivity and encourages the formation of state and regional broadband networks. Under the HCF, eligible HCPs can apply as individuals or as part of a consortium. Individual HCPs and consortium applicants will be able to receive a 65% discount on all eligible services and equipment. Applicants will also be able to receive this discount on HCP-constructed and owned network facilities. The application process will begin in late summer of 2013 and funding will begin January 1, 2014.

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Jason Knox of Community Rural Hospital in Wisconsin Talks Telepharmacy Benefits with Rural Health Telecom℠

 
Why So Many Have Chosen Rural Health Telecom to provide Telepharmacy benefits to their patients? Rural Health Telecom Telemedicine Customer Care Improves Your Healthcare. Our complete dedication to customer care means healthcare professionals can spend their time keeping patients healthy rather than worrying about hardware and software.
 

Rural Health Telecom℠ Brings Leading Edge Technology to Rural Healthcare Providers

Rural Health Telecom is leading the nation’s efforts to ensure rural healthcare providers can access the quickly-evolving telemedicine technology driving medical care today.  Rural Health Telecom Founder/CEO and Comptel board member Tim Koxlien has made bringing these technology advancements to patients in small towns across the U.S.  his life’s work.

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The Four Biggest Telecom Hurdles Facing Healthcare Providers Today

 
Rural Health Telecom
Rural Health Telecom

The healthcare industry is counting on telemedicine technology to bring consulting doctors together in real time to help patients, even if those doctors are hundreds of miles apart. Like their urban counterparts, rural healthcare patients, physicians and technicians can reap the rewards from the evolving technology, but only if rural healthcare facilities are properly wired and managed to make telemedicine work as efficiently and effectively as those urban healthcare partners. With expanded federal funding available through the Universal Service Fund (USF), healthcare facilities have an opportunity to access:

  • State of the Art Telecommunications
  • Opportunities to Plan for Future Network Growth
  • Reliable Emergency Management for Disaster Recovery
  • Comprehensive, easy to Implement Maintenance Features

With USF dollars available, there is no reason for healthcare providers, either in hospitals or small clinics, to under-scope telecommunications networks. All healthcare providers can now have access to the same network quality, features and designs whether they are urban or rural. However, there are always hurdles to overcome on the road to innovation.

Cost-Effective Network Design

While there are many pieces to designing an effective telecommunications network, experienced companies know how to evaluate a healthcare facility’s current needs and make the right recommendations for the highest quality solution.

It is important to have your service provider:

  • Specify Bandwidth Capacity Available to Each Facility
  • Explain how a New Network Facilitates Telemedicine Applications
  • Outline Diverse Carrier Services to Ensure Maximum Reliability
  • Provide Various Modes of Service (Coax, Satellite, Copper, Fiber Optics)

Bandwidth

Here’s an amazing fact. In the year 2014, more data will be created than all of the previous year’s combined! And, the healthcare industry will be the single-largest contributor to that data creation. That trend is going to grow with exciting advances in telemedicine. Urban and rural healthcare providers, as the largest contributor to this data expansion, must be ready to handle that exponential jump in data.

Rural Health Telecom
Rural Health Telecom

Take a look at today’s healthcare telecommunications network infrastructure. Healthcare data networks have not decreased in scope, they’ve grown! This expansion in bandwidth is due to the increase in data generation over just the past few years. Remember when you used 16 slice MRI scanners? They are now 64 slice MRI scanners and growing! These advancements in technology will continue to expand the need for more bandwidth over time, and healthcare providers need to be prepared.

Here’s what to look for in smart system design:

  • Ease of bandwidth expansion - It is important to grow without having to “fork lift” the network. It is expensive and time consuming to make these changes, not to mention the interruption to your operations.
  • Expert data monitoring – You must ensure that the road your data is riding upon is not being congested with unwanted traffic. You don’t want to be worried about how long it takes to transmit your radiology image because others are using the system.
  • Maximum speed internet connections for reliable EMR, voice and video systems - If you are on a hosted EMR service, you rely upon a very fast connection to the public internet. Voice over IP services need room to effectively work. And, you can’t have your video streams stopping and starting. You should plan for these needs and then double it.

Disaster Recovery

With new regulations requiring our nation’s healthcare providers to use electronic medical records, the reliance upon a network that is up and working at “all times” is imperative. Not only is it important to keep the business side of the facility operating, issues related to effective patient care, access to clinical data and more have now become the cornerstone of the viability of the facility. By using today’s technology options for storing records and remote system operations, administrators, doctors and patients can have the peace of mind knowing that all important information is safe and secure, even in the face of a natural disaster.

You should have your supplier specify:

  • An Option for Cloud Computing & Data Service
  • Design & Recommendations on Network Connectivity Redundancy
  • A Hardware System allowing Facility Personnel to make System Repairs without an IT Expert
Male Doctor Using Digital Tablet In Clinic
Male Doctor Using Digital Tablet In Clinic

Customer Care

Telecommunications network services are no different to support than many of the medical devices needed to provide care. Simple and easy, one-source customer care is vital to your facility’s operations, especially in rural America where access to this support infrastructure is significantly lacking.

Your telecommunications supplier should outline:

  • Their Managed Support Services, Including how they Support 24/7 Emergency Response
  • How they will Inventory & Catalogue Equipment to Facilitate Repairs
  • How they will Interface with your IT Staff to assist with Internal AND External Service Issues
  • Their Capabilities to Provide Customized Billing

Access to these enhanced telecommunications technologies are now much more affordable for all healthcare providers. You can be on the leading edge of telemedicine by maximizing your access to federal dollars. That funding also allows you to work with a quality telecommunications carrier that can help you design, install and maintain your system. After all, your doctors, medical technicians and especially your patients deserve the best care you can give them.

 

May is Mental Health Month in America

 
Rural Health Telecom℠

Rural Health Telecom℠

Since 1949, the month of May has been observed around the country as “Mental Health Month."  This year, Mental Health America (MHA), formerly known as the National Mental Health Association, is actively engaging people across the country in its awareness program called “Pathways to Wellness.”  MHA’s key message is that wellness is essential to each of us being able to lead a full and productive life.  Wellness is not just a physical state, but our mental well-being as well.

The key steps to wellness include:

  • A Balanced Diet
  • Regular Exercise
  • Enough Sleep
  • A Sense of Self-Worth
  • Development of Coping Skills that Promote Resiliency
  • Emotional Awareness
  • Connections to Family, Friends and the Community

Rural Health Telecom℠ is pleased to help spread the word about the importance of keeping our minds healthy. In fact, MHA reports that one recent study said everyone should get their mental health checked as often as they get a physical, and many doctors routinely screen for mental health, which typically include a series of questions about lifestyle, eating and drinking habits and mental wellness. But a checkup doesn’t necessarily require a special trip to the doctor. There are also online screening tools you can use. While conditions like depression are common—roughly 1 in 5 Americans have a mental health condition—they are treatable.

Rural Health Telecom’s℠ unique healthcare focus keeps us in tune with these efforts across the country.  Our company’s work helps physicians manage data and records so they can more efficiently serve their patients.

For example, Timber Hills Mental Health in Mississippi, began working with Rural Health Telecom℠ in an effort to upgrade its data handling systems.  We designed a telecom network for 19 facilities that increased their bandwidth and data capacity by 500 percent.  Timber Hills now processes patient records and payments more efficiently, accesses EHR records and transports large files much, much quicker. We also monitor the system to assist them in managing services to minimize any downtime.

One very important point to that story is that we helped Timber Hills leverage federal dollars so they could acquire that huge data handling bandwidth on a tight budget.

We know our role in helping doctors provide great patient care is important, especially in rural areas of the country.  So we want to thank Mental Health America and the thousands of mental health care professionals across the country for their service to our communities.

Read more about Mental Health Month & Mental Health America

Tim Koxlien CEO Rural Health Telecom℠

 

We Welcome You to the New Rural Health Telecom℠ Blog

 
Rural Health Telecom
Rural Health Telecom

Rural Health Telecom℠ focuses solely on supplying quality telecommunications products and services to healthcare facilities in rural America.  In fact, Rural Health Telecom℠ is the industry leader in the continental United States.  Since 1999, Rural Health Telecom℠ has steadily grown by understanding that our ultimate goal is helping doctors and other healthcare providers serve their patients through the latest telecommunications technology. Knowing that a telecommunications installation can sometimes be expensive, Rural Health Telecom℠ can help hospitals and clinics find supplemental funding.  The federal government’s Universal Service Fund (USF) provides financial assistance to rural healthcare providers for telecom upgrades.  Rural Health Telecom℠ has helped organizations across the country navigate the USF system and obtain those valuable system resources.

Rural Health’s dedication to customer care means healthcare professionals can spend their time keeping patients healthy rather than worrying about hardware and software.  And with today’s advances in telemedicine, Rural Health Telecom can ensure your healthcare facility is wired so that the latest technology is available to doctors in even the remotest parts of the country.