Leadership Thoughts

Can’t we just TeleEverything? I’ve got Netflix to Binge Watch!


Can’t we just TeleEverything? I’ve got Netflix to Binge Watch!

While money cannot buy happiness, it can certainly buy time. This truism is the driving philosophy of successful companies like Netflix, Uber, Uber Eats, Grubhub, Peloton, Amazon, Instacart and HelloFresh. These companies have come to define the convenience economy with business models based on giving back time, today’s leading currency, to customers. As a busy entrepreneur, I certainly take advantage of many time-saving services like prescription deliveries and telehealth visits.

In fact, the time Americans waste while waiting to be seen by a doctor equates to $1.5 billion a year. Anyone who has ever checked out of a hospital knows that “you’ll be going home today” really means maybe by 4:00 pm. Yet, despite the downfalls of in-person appointments, telemedicine did not take off until the pandemic hit in 2020. The question is, why?

Why Did It Take A Pandemic For Telemedicine To Flourish?
I think the answer lies in the convergence of convenience, willingness to take risks to get it, and policy changes spurred by Covid-19. If a man paddleboarding across the Hudson River to make a meeting or jumping into an Uber (although our mothers told us never to get in a car with a stranger!) is any indication, consumers are ready to take risks for the sake of convenience.

Before the lockdown began last year, people were afraid it might be too risky to see a doctor online due to fear of receiving an inaccurate diagnosis. Because of the shutdowns, however, telehealth became the only way to get medical attention and was a safer alternative to in-person care.

To facilitate the expanded use of telehealth services for healthcare delivery, the government issued temporary regulatory changes. These changes, including adjusted payments for telehealth services, have allowed doctors to stay in business and continue treating the sick. These changes most likely will become permanent.

The Future of Telemedicine
In the 1964 illustrated sitcom, The Jetsons, Elroy Jetson complains that he is not feeling well and has to stay home from school. Rather than take him to the doctor, his mother Jane calls up the doctor on the videophone. Today this retro-futuristic vision of telehealth visits has become a reality.

The digital health industry has improved the patient-provider relationship through mobile apps, patient portals, wearable health sensor devices, and app-based symptom checkers. We will continue to see more AI-driven tools that bring the tactile senses to telehealth visits.

The most important change coming down the road is the transformation of the healthcare delivery model to a value-based one where providers, hospitals, and physicians receive payments based on patient health outcomes. New value-based programs stress a team-oriented, network approach to patient care management that involves coordinating care through the responsible sharing of patient data. Adopting healthcare technology like electronic health record systems creates an online system view that allows healthcare providers to readily track and measure patient outcomes. In value-based healthcare models, primary, acute care, and specialty care are united in a coordinated group approach, led by a patient’s primary physician, who directs the patient’s care team. Telehealth will be vital to ensuring that medical teams can conveniently work with patients without the inundation of time-consuming in-person visits.


Nolij Overcomes Network Hurdles to Make Medical Systems Work Anywhere at Anytime

Nolij Overcomes Network Hurdles to Make Medical Systems Work Anywhere at Anytime

After completion of a successful project for the Department of Defense, the Nolij contracting officer remarked, “I cannot believe you solved this problem. This is huge!”  What problem did Nolij solve? Nolij had successfully ensured that data moved consistently across an array of gear, equipment and multidomain networks, such as mobile phones and satellites, in different warzone situations. This would allow the US military to provide reliable medical service across the continuum of care to soldiers as they move from the field, to Humvee, helicopter and onto command post hospitals in battlefield situations.

How did Nolij resolve the glitches in DOD’s communication networks? First, Nolij found that the military’s applications and systems were not being rigorously and thoroughly tested with the actual communication equipment used on the field during the development life cycle. For software to be reliable, it requires comprehensive testing in a “real-life” simulated operational testing environment that takes into consideration all possible scenarios and system constraints prior to deployment. This oversight during testing led to the health systems failing when deployed due to the operational environment never being introduced until it was released; thereby, causing a multitude of problems during software deployment such as tactical system failures.

Second, Nolij created a “real life” simulated operation testing environment by leveraging the Joint Network Emulator (JNE), a proprietary communications
simulation and network emulator jointly developed by DoD and EXata, that lets you evaluate on-the-move communication networks quickly and realistically. Our engineers worked with the armed services to emulate a soldier’s treatment in a warzone in different battlefield situations. Our team of system and test engineers then began to configure the JNE emulation package with all the environmental and system constraints we had discovered. After configuring JNE we then tied our emulation to our onsite network equipment, allowing us to test software in the intended deployed environment.

Third, we first ran our EXata environment on a mobile health application. The results were outstanding and the team was able to identify with precision where the software was failing or having integration issues. This knowledge demonstrated software behavior to our clients before it was shared with the development team. This allowed developers to begin mitigating problems while the testing was still occurring, which led to a faster feedback loop. For the first time in Military Health System history, software was being tested within the operational environmental situation and configuration as it exists in the field.

Since the successful deployment of this multidomain battlefield network simulation, Nolij has perfected their EXata expertise to deliver superior testing
environments to help clients resolve difficult technology challenges.