20171004 Iowa Ideas Conference_IPR River to River

Three members of The Signal Center staff shared their best ideas on two panels at the inaugural Iowa Ideas conference. The event was held September 20-22 in downtown Cedar Rapids. Digital Health Service Line Manager Kate Klefstad and Senior Digital Health Product Manager Eric Einwalter shared their perspective on a panel about “Telemedicine and Rural Health.” The panel was moderated by Iowa Public Radio’s Ben Kieffer, and later featured on popular talk show River to River.

Listen to the episode here

The panelists explored how the health care system looks different in Iowa’s rural areas. Discussions dug into how telemedicine and other technologies can change the conversation for patient access, early intervention, caring for aging populations, and affordability.  

Einwalter shared how a few UI Health Care telehealth implementations, such as psychiatry and dermatology, reach underserved populations across our state. One service brings geriatric psychiatry to skilled nursing facilities and quells the idea that age is a barrier to adoption.

The panelists also discussed the current state of legislation in Iowa regarding telehealth reimbursement and interstate licensure, and how each impact the ability of a provider in Iowa to reach rural communities digitally. Klefstad explained financial models in which telemedicine services can significantly reduce expenses for a rural hospital, although the panelists were in consensus that legislation in Iowa does not yet ensure providers are reimbursed adequately for telehealth services.   

Joining TSC on the panel was Tim Sagers, MD, medical director of MercyCare Business Health Solutions, Nicholas Mohr, MD, MS, associate professor of emergency medicine, anesthesia and epidemiology at the University of Iowa and investigator at Rural Telehealth Research Center, and Tim Blair, MD, medical director of Emergency Services at Van Buren County Hospital.

Photo credit: Bradley VanGorkom

Photo credit: Bradley VanGorkom

Pamela Villacorta, director of TSC, contributed to a panel which explored the question, “How Will New Tech Re-Shape Health Care?” From gamification in health care to personalized medicine to robotics, panelists shared their latest and greatest ideas about the technology that is changing health care as we know it. Villacorta emphasized the opportunities for patients to use digital tools to manage their health are only increasing. Yet, patients must be educated and engaged in their own health to use these amazing technologies effectively and to their fullest potential.

On the panel with Villacorta was Maia Hightower, MD, MBA, MPH, chief medical information officer at University of Iowa Health Care, Aaron Warner, founder and CEO of ProCircular, and Vincent Reid, MD, FACS, surgical oncologist and medical director of Hall-Perrine Cancer Center.

Iowa Ideas is a nonpartisan, statewide learning experience designed to explore the key questions and big ideas that will shape the future of Iowa. Attendees could choose sessions from eight different tracks – from healthcare and education to agriculture and energy – each representing a key industry or issue shaping the future of our state. Thank you to The Gazette for inviting us to participate in the very successful, inaugural event. At TSC, we work tirelessly and collaboratively to advance healthcare, and we’re elated to share our ideas alongside others working diligently toward the same goal.