Patient Safety in Virtual Care

Patient Safety in Virtual Care

When it comes to telehealth, patient safety not only applies to physical safety, but also keeping medical records secure in a digital environment.  Introducing new technologies, or any technology for that matter, in a healthcare setting requires applications with the highest levels of security for this very reason. It is essential that medical records and personal health information (PHI) always remain protected, all of which Third Eye Health takes very seriously.

 

Our partners and their patients trust that our services and technology always have their best interests at heart.   Keeping patient medical records and passwords secure from attackers is our highest priority.  They only need to get it right once, which means we must get it right every single time.  To do this, we reduce the number of attack surfaces or ways they can penetrate our system.  From our applications to our hardware, everything is safeguarded.

 

There are two primary criteria for ensuring secure data – 1) it must be encrypted in transit (HTTPS) and 2) it must be encrypted at rest.  Often times a company will claim to “whole disk encrypt” the database claiming encryption at rest.  The problem with this method lies in the possibility of accessibility to the database directly, virtually or physically.  If one exists, it really is not encrypted at rest.  We eliminate this threat by encrypting each record of data individually with its own initialization vector, or unique encryption, eliminating a common key to decrypt all the data. We also don’t store our data on internal servers or internal hard drives.  Everything is kept in a highly secure cloud-based data centers.

 

When it comes to the iPads used for our telehealth consults with Third Eye Health physicians, similar measures are in place.  Nothing is stored on the iPads, photos are sent to the device as a transmitted image file called a byte array and displayed directly on the screen, so no files are saved on the device. Texts or medical records viewed during the patient consult are gone as soon as it is complete.

 

Perhaps the best way to understand how we keep patient records and corresponding data secure, is by following the data through the workflow of one of our consultations.  Third Eye Health works with some of the leading EHR providers for post-acute care, PointClickCare and MatrixCare, creating secure integrations with SNF EHRs.  When a nurse is requesting a consult, the integration allows for the nurse to select the patient which loads encrypted data from the EHR directly in our application. During the consultation, any details shared (photos, text conversations) and metrics pertaining to the consult are then securely transferred with encryption to our cloud-based storage, where the data points are encrypted there, as well.

 

Of course, our workflow does not stop with the end of the consultation. We’ve found that patients experience better outcomes when there are not gaps in care, and so every encounter is reviewed by a Care Coordination Manager in Third Eye Health’s dashboard.  Once again, the dashboard connects with each facility’s EHR in a similar fashion as when accessing and connecting the patient’s name through the iPad by encrypting the data.  It is here where Third Eye Health physicians make notes and submit orders, sending them directly to the EHR. Care Coordination Managers can review this documentation in our system for quality assurance and provide care summaries to the SNF through our secure care coordination messaging platform, even providing links directly to the medical record.

 

Not all telehealth is created equal when it comes to security.  During the pandemic, some physicians were using Zoom and other unsecure video conferencing platforms to conduct virtual patient visits. Being able to consult with patients in a secure digital environment ensures HIPAA compliance with The Security Rule, preventing unauthorized individuals from accessing health records.  By partnering with Third Eye Health for your telehealth needs you can be certain your patients and their records are safe.

 

provider using telehealth

Aligning Provider Groups and Telehealth

LTC ACO brought on the leading telehealth provider for post-acute and long-term care, Third Eye Health, earlier this year to enhance its quality improvement efforts. Their partnership marks the first of its kind where providers, health systems and now telehealth are aligned in rolling out quality initiatives to reduce the cost of long-term care.  Together, they work toward a common goal of positively moving the needle for outcomes and quality measures that impact the value of care they are providing.

By adding Third Eye Health to the mix, beneficiaries now can be consulted by a physician at their bedside 24/7.  When an in-person visit is not possible on nights, after-hours, weekends, or holidays, Third Eye physicians can be reached within minutes and consult a beneficiary right in place, positively influencing the caliber of care beneficiaries receive.  They no longer risk being transferred to the ER for conditions or issues that could be treated in place.

Telehealth’s Role

Provider groups are especially supportive of this new partnership between LTC ACO and Third Eye Health.  Being relieved of call, they can rest easy knowing beneficiaries will continue to receive high quality care. In turn, providers get their weekends and evening back, restoring a proper balance between work and personal life and improving their overall professional satisfaction.

Complementary Care

The clinical expertise from the Third Eye Health physicians complements the care from the primary providers.  Protocols and processes established by the Medical Director are carried through by Third Eye Health physicians and medical alerts are provided following all Third Eye Health consultations.  Additionally, with secure EHR integrations, Third Eye Health physicians can review medical records, protocols, as well as write notes and orders that are sent directly into the medical record. This transparency enables warm hand-offs from the primary provider to the Third Eye Health physician and then back to the primary provider, again.

Around the clock care has several advantages appealing to those provider groups affiliated with LTC ACO.  Primarily, the ability to treat in place when a change of condition is first noticed prevents the condition from worsening.  This also prevents the heightened risk associated with transfers to the ER, including added stressors during transportation and exposure to new illnesses, which can be taxing on the beneficiary’s clinical outcomes. The likelihood of readmission once in the ER is also high and comes with a large price tag attached. Additionally, there is no guarantee that the beneficiary will be discharged back to the same facility following readmission.

Driving Value

With Third Eye Health now available to reduce the returns to the hospital during nights, after-hours, weekends, and holidays, LTC ACO and its affiliates see this partnership as vital to driving further value.  Beneficiaries receive treatment in place.  Clinical outcomes improve.  Returns to acute care and hospital readmissions decrease.  And beneficiaries remain within the clinically integrated network for care.  Care quality rises while minimizing associated costs.

Learn more about the benefits of partnering with LTC ACO and Third Eye Health.  Complete the form below, and a member of our team will be in touch.

Read more about LTC ACO and Third Eye Health’s partnership.

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LTC ACO Partnership with Third Eye Health is More than Telehealth

Third Eye Health is more than just telehealth, it is a comprehensive virtual care solution to improve the overall quality of care in post-acute and long-term settings.  LTC ACO acknowledged this when the two organizations announced their partnership earlier this year.  Comprised of secure, EHR-integrated mobile telehealth technology, Third Eye Health also boasts a large practice of over 75 experienced physicians nationwide.  These two elements, telehealth technology and physicians, are vital to successfully treating beneficiaries in place, but Third Eye Health provides one more essential component – care coordination.

Every site with access to Third Eye Health telehealth technology and physician services receives a dedicated Care Coordination Manager, who is fundamental in providing warm hand-offs back to the primary care team following all Third Eye Health encounters.  Every day, Care Coordination Managers, who are nurses by trade, review the details of each consult for quality assurance, looking at notes and orders.  As the primary care team and providers are just beginning their days, they receive a secure, custom care summary from the Care Coordination Manager.

The Care Coordination team reviews all Third Eye Health physician encounters, serving as a second set of eyes and ensuring the proper treatment and care of each beneficiary.  They also recognize areas where protocols and procedures may need to be tightened up and work with post-acute and long-term care leadership to improve those procedures and enhance quality initiatives affecting care 24/7, not just when Third Eye Health is on call.

Much like physician access and telehealth technology, long-term care facilities qualifying for LTC ACO sponsorship will have the added benefit of Third Eye Health’s care coordination services available to all residents, not just LTC ACO beneficiaries.  With these extensions of Third Eye Health in place, it is certain that outcomes will improve for all involved, while returns to the hospital and unnecessary readmissions will diminish.

 

 

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