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Cable pitches business services for health care industry

Mon, 02/24/2014 - 1:13pm
Brian Santo

The cable industry, working through CTAM, thinks that the health care industry could be the next big opportunity for their business services operations.

The difficulties associated with storing and forwarding health care records has become a national issue. The hodge-podge of state laws regarding the storage and sharing of medical information often conflict, making health care difficult.

In response, late last year, Congressmen Bill Johnson and Doris Matsui introduced the Telehealth Modernization Act, which aims to define a set of national standards and practices regarding the digitization and subsequent sharing of medical records (the Congressman are holding a meeting on the subject on Wednesday).

With the Telehealth Modernization Act as background, cable companies and CTAM are using as a launch point for their push into health industry a new study that reveals the shortcomings of health care IT systems.

Hospitals manage their data storage poorly (they keep far more data on hand in active storage than they need to); only half even have a data archiving system; about one-third have no plans for data recovery under disaster conditions; and over 40 percent have no system in place for purging archived data (a legal issue), according to HIMSS Analytics, a company that specializes in analysis of the health care industry.

HIMSS found that many hospitals, clinics, and physicians’ offices simply do not have the IT infrastructure they need to improve patient care. The firm found that the top strategic priorities for healthcare IT departments relate to digitizing medical records, and enabling more effective information exchange and collaboration. Yet many respondents also suggested that they don't have the necessary resources to meet their technology goals. For example, 47 percent said they consider the ability to exchange information with outside organizations to be a strategic priority. However, 21 percent also said they aren't able to support those communications with their existing telecom environments.

The cable industry intends to demonstrate that cable companies can offer a wide range of services proven to address the connectivity needs of today's healthcare industry.

"Cable companies power the networks that keep healthcare communities well connected," said Ken Kraft, vice president of marketing for Cox Business. "With a complete suite of telecommunications offerings, and the scale to support new capabilities and demands as they emerge, cable business services help organizations enhance patient experiences and improve overall health outcomes. In this era of rapid regulatory, financial, organizational, and technical change, cable companies are delivering the services that matter."

The arguments the industry will start making for providing business services to the health care industry are:

  • Cable is uniquely capable of ensuring complete health system connectivity.
    With Ethernet services, innovative business-class voice offerings, and video expertise, cable connects healthcare systems all the way from the largest hospital campuses to the neighborhoods where patients live and physicians work.
  • Cable delivers the total patient experience.
    From delivering remote patient monitoring services, to ensuring that patients are comfortable with in-room Internet and TV during a hospital stay, cable companies have unmatched experience in providing the information and entertainment services both patients and healthcare workers require.
  • Cable serves the same communities as healthcare companies.
    It's not just cable business services that are everywhere; it's cable customer support. The nearest representatives are always locally available and, because cable companies represent the same customers as regional doctors and hospitals, there is a common interest in supporting and improving the health of those shared communities.Among the cable companies exhibiting at this year's HIMSS conference are Charter Business, Comcast Business, Cox Business, and Time Warner Cable Business Class/NaviSite.

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