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Telstra's FHIR and WebRTC-based MyCareManager Enhances Telemedicine

April 16, 2015

Much has been made of the promise of the connected home, and when it comes to healthcare, the connected patient.  Australia’s major service provider Telstra is looking to deliver on the promise with the launch of its Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standards-based and WebRTC enabled MyCareManager.  The new service is an integrated product combining remote monitoring of health devices, a portal for access to the collected data, and videoconferencing with providers. It certainly is a glimpse of the future of telemedicine.

Rich and real-time data and interactivity

First, a bit of background.  FHIR is a draft standard that describes data formats and elements (known as "resources") and an API for exchanging Electronic health records. It was created by the Health Level Seven International (HL7) health-care standards organization, and is seen as an easier to use and faster means for gathering and analyzing elements of healthcare records than traditional document management-based alternatives. 

Source: Telstra

Telstra notes that the beauty of MyCareManager is that it works with a variety of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth enabled devices. These include glucometers, thermometers, blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters and spirometers. Plus, the value-added here is that patients, family members and care givers can have a real-time view as well as track the progress of their health, goals and on a variety of other critical fronts.

"Currently 20 percent of people discharged from hospital are readmitted within one month, often because they are unable to get suitable follow up care or are uncertain of what to do," said Telstra managing director for health Shane Solomon. "MyCareManager provides that care and keeps them connected through their recovery."

Other benefits cited include the reduction of travel time and costs for community and residential care providers, and it  improves continuity of care and patient engagement. Solomon also noted how the use of the solution leads to early intervention which can reduce the need for hospital (re)admission if the patient suffers a turn for the worse.

There is a lot of technology that has gone into MyCareManager. It incorporates capabilities from several Telstra acquisitions in the healthcare sector. In fact, it was developed by Telstra subsidiary HealthConnex and community care specialists, and includes elements from US-based health technology providers Get Real Health and Entra Health Systems and Norway-based videoconferencing vendor Pexip.

"This solution really demonstrates our strategy coming to life; we're working with some great ehealth innovators and finding ways to integrate their capabilities together to create new solutions and address some key challenges," said Solomon.

Where WebRTC comes into the picture, literally and figuratively is in the ability for real-time videoconferencing and collaboration over a browser. It makes interactions easy and natural. 

In terms of how this is being offered, it is being made available to service providers as a 'white box' product. In fact, In-home health and care provider Silver Chain Group is the first to take advantage of this. It will be offering it under the Care Centre name as part of the company's Hospital in the Home services.

Silver Chain CIO Lee Davis said "We are now working with HealthConnex on rolling out the solution across several program areas, including aged care, chronic disease management and nursing.  Providing many Silver Chain Group clients with access to their own record and details of the services being delivered to them at any given time is a key component of a self-service capability."

Is this the future of telemedicine and remote patient care?  The future at least in Australia is now thanks to a substantial contribution from WebRTC. 

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Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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