Bi-Monthly Update
July 2016
A Message From our Chief Medical Officer 
Dr. Mark Hernandez,
Chief Medical Officer

Hi everyone!

Hope you are having a great summer! I am excited to introduce this month's newsletter topic, virtual care and telemedicine. We have a great opportunity to begin to leverage technology to get better access to specialty services and also to monitor individuals with chronic illness. Dr. Kristi Henderson is a national leader in this area and we are fortunate enough to have her here in our community ready to lead our efforts in this space. 

- Dr. Mark S. Hernandez 

Telehealth and Virtual Care in Travis County

Kristi Henderson presents on telehealth and virtual care to attendees of the July CCC Lunch n' Learn.

Kristi Henderson, DNP, is the Vice President of Innovation and Virtual Care with Seton Healthcare Family. She most recently comes from the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where she led the implementation of a statewide t elehealth program, now recognized as a national model. 

Kristi is an expert on emerging opportunities in telehealth and virtual care for the patient populations served by Central Health and the Community Care Collaborative. She was the guest speaker at our CCC/Central Health Champions Lunch n' Learn on Friday, July 15, and stayed late to answer some questions about this exciting topic.

1. What are telehealth and telemedicine? How does telemedicine allow for better access to health care across different populations and socioeconomic groups?

Telemedicine is the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient's clinical health status and requires that the patient be located in a clinical setting. Telehealth is a broader term that describes remote health care that does not always involve clinical services, but often the two terms are used interchangeably.    At Seton, we use the term "virtual care" to describe delivering health and wellness services using technology.  The three primary services included in virtual care are: telemedicine, virtual visits (patient and provider can be anywhere), and remote patient monitoring, which includes mHealth (mobile health) and wearable technology.

Telehealth, is playing an increasingly important role in allowing healthcare providers to extend the reach of scarce or expensive expertise. Virtual care will complement traditional in-person care and will allow Seton to provide increased access to convenient, on-demand, high-quality health care services.
Telehealth was born out of necessity. Patients living in rural, remote areas have always lacked access to health care. Today, many patients are still not able to see a specialist or get the treatment they need without waiting long periods for an appointment. We could reduce these wait times if we used our existing health care workforce more effectively by using telehealth to optimize schedules, improve system efficiency and travel time, and share patient volume across the entire medical staff regardless of location. With telehealth, the walls of clinics and hospitals are extended to workplaces, schools, homes, and to the patient's smartphone.
2. What are some of the biggest challenges in implementation? How do these challenges differ across setting (i.e.rural vs. urban) and across medical disciplines (i.e.dermatology vs. behavioral health)?
The biggest barrier is not technology, regulation/policy, or even the patients. The biggest challenge to telehealth is in adoption by the health care team. It is always difficult to change a model of care, workflows, and communication pathways. But I have seen the impact of telehealth services on a health care system, and I know we will be successful here too. The best way to think about telehealth is that it is a modality to deliver the services we once delivered in-person. A cardiology clinic operates differently than a pediatric intensive care unit and those same differences exist when the medical disciplines begin using telehealth technology to deliver their services.  The medical services/disciplines do not change, but the way we deliver these services does. 
3. I understand you were the Chief Telehealth and Innovation Officer at UMMC?What was your overall experience with telehealth in Mississippi? Do you think there will be parallels here in Austin? What might remain the same and what might be different?
I worked at Mississippi's only academic medical center for 23 years, and my last position was as Chief Telehealth & Innovation Officer. I led the development and operation of Mississippi's statewide telehealth program which started in 2003. The need for telehealth is similar in Texas. Even though Austin is more populated, there are people who have difficulty accessing health care whether it is due to transportation, money, or other reasons. Telehealth helps fill gaps in care and makes access more convenient and more affordable. 

Home monitoring kits offered to patients with chronic conditions. The kits have customizable language, audio, and visual settings.
4. Finally, how do you foresee virtual health will change health care, say, 10 years from now?
Telemedicine as we know it now is morphing into a virtual care health system encompassing much more than what's commonly understood by the term "telemedicine," or a FaceTime-with-your-doctor-type option. The virtual care industry will continue to change as new technology, big data, mHealth and health information exchanges evolves to include wearables, in-home test solutions, and customized, digital insurance models.

A report issued by Accenture predicts telehealth being a $1 billion industry by 2017. 

You can learn more about Kristi's efforts here.

Leader Spotlight

Wendy  Amozurutia-Salazar , MA LPC-S, is the Practice Manager for the ATCIC/CUC Emerge Program. Emerge is the mental health service for CommUnityCare clients. Emerge has provided supportive counseling since 2003 and also began offering telepsychiatric consultations in 2013. This program is designed to allow emotional health care access to CommunityCare clients in their own medical home, complementing CommUnityCare's mission,"The Right Care at the Right Time, in the Right Place."
The Emerge program currently uses six telepsychiatric providers and eleven  Behavioral Health Consultants (BHCs) to work collaboratively with CommUnityCare Primary Care Providers on a daily basis. They facilitate telepsychiatric services at ten CommUnityCare sites and have Behavioral Health Consultants at eleven sites.  
Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin


The medical school recently welcomed #DellMedFirstClass - and the community took notice
Dean Clay Johnston is the subject of a lengthy Q&A in Texas Monthly. He's also featured in this month's Texas CEO Magazine.
A policy analyst for Brookings' blog The Metropolitan Revolution identifies three of Dell Med's organizing principles that other academic medical centers trying to break away from old models of healthcare delivery should follow.
A series of comics produced by the Design Institute for Health highlights forces that get in the way of good intentions - and invites you to weigh in on combating those forces.
Team news:
Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas
Sky bridge set to traverse 15th Street at Seton's new teaching hospital

On the weekend of August 12, construction crews will install the sky bridge, a glass and metal walkway connecting the Red River parking garage at 15th Street to the Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas.
Five truckloads recently hauled 50 separate parts of the bridge onto the construction site. Those parts were then assembled into a clear, enclosed bridge weighing over 80,000 pounds.
Builders will use a 450-ton crane, to be positioned on 15th Street, to lift and set the bridge in place.
The installation will start late Friday evening and last until early Sunday. The majority of the time needed to put the bridge in place focuses on preparation. Lifting and placing the bridge in place will take an estimated 24 hours.
The sky bridge will enable patients and visitors to easily access the hospital, regardless of weather or traffic conditions. This structural element is another major milestone in the construction of the new medical center, which is set to open its doors in May 2017.
Hundreds record history in time capsule for Dell Seton Medical Center


Nearly 350 staff and clinicians at University Medical Center Brackenridge left their mark in a time capsule guest book that will be "buried" at Dell Seton Medical Center at UT and opened decades from now.
Some left messages that provided advice to the teaching hospital's future clinicians:
  • "Have passion for what you do and the patients you serve."
  • "Make a difference!"
  • "God bless. Continue the great work."
Others left messages of gratitude for their time at University Medical Center Brackenridge:
  • "You have been an integral part of my 45 years in Austin and saved my life many times and that of my nine children and 13 grandchildren. Thank you and God bless."
  • "A lifetime in this hospital-great memories, great people, great time."
A brief ceremony was held at UMC Brackenridge to mark the time capsule's sealing. Seton leadership acknowledged the legacy of UMC Brackenridge in the Central Texas community. They also expressed their confidence that the hospital's staff and clinicians will continue their drive toward excellence at Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas.
 "One hundred years from now, Central Texans will look back upon this time capsule and the opening of our future teaching hospital in hopes of catching a glimpse of where it all began - when health care took a major step toward transformation," said Christann Vasquez, president of Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas and UMC Brackenridge.
The time capsule will be sealed in a wall on the first floor of the teaching hospital. Other items enclosed will include:
  • A piece of the rock from the UMC Brackenridge basement "Rock Room"
  • Mayoral proclamation announcing "Seton Day" the day the time capsule is opened in the future
  • Letters from Texas State Senator Kirk Watson, D-Austin
  • Photos of Dell Seton Medical Center at UT during construction and UMC Brackenridge over the decades
  • Photos of the Daughters of Charity, who founded Seton in Austin in 1902
  • Austin disease demographics and population statistics 
CCC Organizational 'Shout-Out'

Page Crouch from the CCC Medical Management Team would like to nominate Carmen Cardenas and Michael Campos from CommUnityCare's Southeast Health and Wellness Center for their collaborative approach and dedication in getting patients' chronic disease processes under control. 
CCC Board of Directors Meetings:

All CCC Board of Directors meetings are held at 1111 E. Cesar Chavez St., Austin, TX 78702.


        • Next Meeting: September 27, 2016 at 1:30 p.m.


These dates are subject to change pending board approval.