Category Archives: Industry News

News for the healthcare contact center industry

AAACN Highlights Telehealth Annual Conference Content

Telehealth nursing continues to be one of the fastest-growing areas of health care.  To keep nurses informed of the latest advances, the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN) is offering a broad slate of telehealth courses at its 34th Annual Conference, March 26-30, 2009, at the Philadelphia Marriott in Philadelphia, PA.

The conference will feature education sessions tailored specifically to nurses practicing and managing telehealth or telephone triage in clinics, physician offices, emergency rooms, call centers, and other ambulatory settings.

“Telehealth nursing is the successful marriage of technology and nursing care,” said AAACN President Karen Griffin, MSN, RN, CNAA.  “Patients want health care providers to respond quickly to their needs, and telehealth nurses are able to deliver care rapidly and efficiently.  This is why telehealth nursing has generated so much interest and excitement.”

Conference topics include:

  • Critical thinking and telephone triage
  • Hiring the best candidates for your telehealth position
  • Building healthy communities one caller at a time
  • Essential components of telephone nursing
  • Implementing telephone triage in the primary care setting
  • Telehealth nursing practice core course (TNPCC)

[Posted by Peter DeHaan for AnswerStat magazine, a medical healthcare publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]

Increasingly Accessed for Drug Information, Study Finds Wikipedia Lacking

The Annals of Pharmacotherapy, December 2008 issue, reported on an analysis of Wikipedia’s viability as a source of drug information, since it is an increasingly tapped resource.  For the study, Wikipedia was compared to MDR (Medscape Drug Reference) in eight categories of drug information.

Wikipedia correctly answered 40% drug information questions compared to MDR’s 82.5%.  For dosing data, Wikipedia scored 0% versus 90% with MDR. Seventy-six percent of the answers found in Wikipedia were complete, while MDR was at 95.5%.  Interestingly, no factual errors were found in Wikipedia, whereas Medscape was deemed to have been in error four times.  However, Wikipedia did have almost four times the number of errors of omission.  Also, noteworthy was a marked improvement in Wikipedia answers over a 90-day period.

The study concluded that, “Wikipedia has a more narrow scope, is less complete, and has more errors of omission than the comparator database. Wikipedia may be a useful point of engagement for consumers, but is not authoritative and should only be a supplemental source of drug information.”

[Posted by Peter DeHaan for AnswerStat magazine, a medical healthcare publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]

IntelliCare Reportedly to Close in February

On  November 19, 2008, the Portland Press Herald reported that Intellicare Inc was being shut down by its parent company Medco Health Systems.  “Most of IntelliCare’s 250 employees will lose their jobs,” the paper cited.  One hundred of those employees work at the South Portland location and 250 work remotely.

Once labeled a fast growth company, the shutdown of Intellicare is expected to be complete by the end of February 2009.

Additional comment from Intellicare or Medco has not yet been provided to AnswerStat magazine; no information was found on either company’s Website.

[Posted by Peter DeHaan for AnswerStat magazine, a medical healthcare publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]

Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital Researchers Selects Vocantas for Clinical Research Study

Vocantas Inc., developer of voice solutions for healthcare, has been selected by Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) to help researchers assess the impact of automated telephone follow-up systems on the management of patients on commonly prescribed medications.  Using interactive voice response (IVR) and speech technology, the Vocantas’s CallAssure system enables healthcare providers to evaluate real time patient data.  Study researchers believe that this proactive outreach may facilitate communication between patients and their physicians.

Leading the project is researcher Jennifer Haas, MD, MSPH, at BWH’s Division of General Medicine.  Dr. Haas has studied on the use of technology to improve the quality and safety of patient care, as well as access to care, particularly among the poor and uninsured.

“After three weeks of pilot test calls, the system is functioning well,” says Haas.  “We are looking forward to implementing the technology in our trial to quickly and effectively reach participants and to manage the data efficiently.”

Supporting HL7 standards, the CallAssure system automatically records any symptoms the patient is experiencing in a note, which is then attached to the patient’s electronic medical record.

[Posted by Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD for AnswerStat magazine, a medical healthcare publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]

Intel Announces First Home Medical Device to Connect Clinicians with Patients

Intel Corporation announced a care management tool designed for health care professionals who manage patients with chronic conditions.  Called Health Guide, it is initial offering of personal health systems that go beyond the simple remote patient monitoring systems available today.

The Intel Health Guide, which received 510(k) market clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in July, is a comprehensive personal health system that combines an in-home patient device (the Intel Health Guide PHS6000) and an online interface (the Intel Health Care Management Suite), allowing clinicians to remotely monitor patients and manage care.

“The Health Guide is a step forward in offering more personalized and effective management of chronic health conditions in the home,” said Louis Burns, vice president and general manager of the Intel Digital Health Group.  “Intel has spent years researching the needs of both caregivers and patients, and we are now moving to launch a series of products that will help extend care from the hospital to the home.”

[Posted by Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD for AnswerStat magazine, a medical healthcare publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]

Roger Shindell & Carole LaPorte Join Vocantas

Vocantas Inc. President and CEO Gary Hannah announced the appointment of Roger Shindell as president of the company’s U.S. operation, Vocantas Ltd.  Shindell will focus initially on addressing the high demand for remote care delivery in home healthcare agencies where Vocantas’ technologies can offer a great deal of relief.  “With senior populations exploding, home healthcare agencies are now facing a tipping point,” said Shindell.  “I am very excited for the opportunity to bring Vocantas’ technology to this market.”

In related news, Carole LaPorte joined Vocantas in the role of marketing communications specialist.  With six years of experience, she will execute outbound marketing strategies to meet the demand for interactive voice response systems (IVRS) while cultivating new partnership opportunities.  She will also support Vocantas in the delivery of its speech technology solutions to optimize communications for utilities, emergency management, and customer service markets.

[Posted by Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD for AnswerStat magazine, a medical healthcare publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]

1Call Announces Third Annual Leadership Conference and Training Seminar

1Call, a division of AmtelcoThe 1Call Division of Amtelco Third Annual Leadership Conference and Training Seminar will be held Tuesday, September 29 through Thursday, October 1, 2009, in Madison, Wisconsin.  This two-track conference and seminar will again be held at the Monona Terrace Convention Center, inspired by world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

All 1Call customers, including Administrators, Managers, Supervisors, and Lead Operators are invited to attend.  Similar to the previous two years, the 2009 sessions will include topics for the entire group, as well as separate Leadership Track and Training Track sessions.  At Leadership sessions, guest speakers will discuss new call center technologies, show attendees how to add new services for their customers, and how to use the newest features to save time, reduce errors, and improve staff productivity and efficiency.  The Training sessions will provide attendees with hands-on training, and detailed report reviews.

According to Amtelco President Tom Curtin, “The unique combination of 1Call Leadership and Training sessions give all of our customers the opportunity to participate in these information-packed sessions.  We’re looking forward to another successful opportunity for in-depth learning and networking opportunities!”

[Posted by Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD for AnswerStat magazine, a medical healthcare publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]

Bill Curtin Inducted Into the CAM-X Hall of Fame

Congratulations go out to Amtelco’s Bill Curtin (Mr. “C”) on his inductions into the 2008 CAM-X Hall of Fame.  This presentation took place at the Gala banquet held in conjunction with CAM-X’s Annual Convention and Trade Show held recently at the Deerhurst Resort, Huntsville, ON.

Bill was nominated for this prestigious honor by Paul Lloyd and Doug Swift.  Paul presented a brief biography and an inspiring tribute to the long-time industry leader with a touching overview of Bill’s many accomplishments during his many years in the industry.

The CAM-X Hall of Fame was established by the Canadian Call Management Association in 2001 in order to recognize dynamic individuals whose leadership has contributed to the evolution of the telephone answering service and call center industry.  The Hall of Fame celebrates inductees for their accomplishments, their vision, and their leadership as well as for their tireless efforts to promote, support, and protect the industry.

[Posted by Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD for AnswerStat magazine, a medical healthcare publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]

AAACN Telehealth Conference Sets Agenda

Telehealth and telephone triage nurses can learn the latest in telehealth nursing practice and earn continuing education credit at the array of sessions geared to telehealth nursing at the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN) 34th annual conference, March 26-30, 2009 in Philadelphia, PA.

Topics include:

  • Due Diligence: Assure Hiring the Best Candidate for your Telehealth Position
  • Implementing a Telephone Triage Decision Support Tool in the Primary Care Setting
  • In Brief:  Bridging the Gap: Building Healthy Communities One Caller at a Time
  • Critical Thinking and Telephone Triage: Making the Right Choices
  • Workshop: Juggling Efficiencies, Quality of Care, and Standard Adherence: Formulating Telehealth Performance Metrics
  • Special Session: Essential Components of Telephone Nursing:  A Model to Guide your Practice
  • Post-Conference: Telehealth Nursing Practice Core Course (TNPCC)

AAACN has worked with the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to enhance the telehealth content of the computer based exam to be offered beginning April of 2009.  At the conference, nurses can take the Ambulatory Certification Review Course on Thursday and sit for the exam on Sunday.  Exam applications must be submitted to ANCC by December 19.

[Posted by Peter DeHaan for AnswerStat magazine, a medical healthcare publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]

Amcom Software and Altura Announce Partnership

Amcom Software and Altura Communication Solutions have established a partnership under which Altura will distribute Amcom’s communications software products.  The primary focus will be on Altura’s extensive customer base of Fujitsu and Avaya customers, as well as on their existing procurement channels for government agencies.  Amcom will provide mission-critical solutions for enhanced 911, emergency notification, and call center management to Altura’s voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) customers.

According to Amcom CEO Chris Heim, “Altura’s strong reputation as a nationwide provider of end-to-end communications solutions makes them a great partner for Amcom.  We’ve had great results working with Altura and with this agreement we’re making it even easier for their broad customer base to benefit from our full communications and emergency management suites of solutions.”

“We’ve enjoyed a good relationship with Amcom over the years and are impressed with their momentum in call center and emergency communications solutions,” added Bob Blazek, president and CEO of Altura.  “Together, we will continue to help our customers enable mission-critical communications by leveraging our service capabilities with Amcom’s broad footprint of solutions.”

Call Altura at 800-654-0715; Amcom can be reached at 800-852-8935.

[Posted by Peter DeHaan for AnswerStat magazine, a medical healthcare publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]