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AT&T prefers to nurse patients, not equipment

By Eric Wicklund, Editor, ATA 2012 Show Dailies

HOUSTON – AT&T will be out in full force at ATA 2012 this year, offering a wide array of solutions in its AT&T ForHealth practice area that are designed to "hit the biggest pain points around what's happening in healthcare today."

Ed Simcox, director of telehealth solutions for AT&T ForHealth, AT&T Business and Home Solutions, says the company's focus is on delivering wireless and advanced networking services to help the healthcare industry improve patient outcomes and reduce costs. He says ForHealth is based on four pillars: mHealth, telehealth, cloud-based solutions and connected care, or care at a distance.

"They all overlap," he points out. "And they all play a part in the critical transformation of healthcare. What we need to do is figure out how they can be proven applications."

Simcox, who will take part in an Industry Executive Panel discussion on "Telemedicine and HIT" at 1 p.m. Monday, says mobile healthcare and telehealth represent the kind of "inside-out thinking" that the healthcare industry needs to embrace in order to improve. And with the focus shifting to patient outcomes, he says, the technology has to be targeted and effective.

"We would rather nurse patients and not nurse equipment," he says.

Among the innovations that Simcox and AT&T are highlighting are the Telepresence Clinic, Virtual Care, DiebetesManager and the Global Smart Messaging Suite for Healthcare. The company will also be showing off a line of managed tablets that was introduced in February at the HIMSS12 show in Las Vegas, as well as AT&T Healthcare Community Online (a collaborative care and health information exchange platform designed to integrate with electronic medical records) and AT&T Medical Imaging and Information Management (a vendor-neutral, cloud-based imaging service).

"I think there's a lot of proving out to do," he says. "We're moving away from the traditional processes and integrating with clinician work streams and data systems. We're moving from quantity to quality. To do that, we need to fill in those care gaps."

Along with Simcox's presentation in the roundtable discussion, AT&T executives Geeta Nayyar and Nasrim Dayani will lead and education session titled "Mobile Health Innovations for Disease Management" at 10:45 a.m. Monday.

AT&T will be at Booth 1328 in the ATA Exhibit Hall.

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