California Schools Getting Telemedicine Technologies

CompuMed partners with a nonprofit group to put heart monitoring devices in school health centers.

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Telehealth firm CompuMed announced this week that it has partnered with the California School Health Centers Association (CSHC) to provide electrocardiogram (ECG) telehealth technologies for use in school health centers throughout California.

The partnership calls for CompuMed, a Los Angeles-based company, to provide CardioGram and CardioGramKids devices to schools wishing to adopt the technology, while CSHC will promote CompuMed's ECG telemedicine technologies via its Web site, e-newsletters, statewide and regional conferences, and other initiatives.

CSHC is a nonprofit organization that advocates for state-level policies supporting school-based health care. The organization represents more than 150 school health centers that serve more than 800 primary and secondary schools throughout California -- an excellent market for CompuMed to expand its footprint.

The deal is an example of private-public partnerships in the telehealth space that we will see more of, predicts Irene Berlinsky, senior research analyst covering multiplay services at technology research firm IDC.

"Private companies benefit from access to a ready customer base, enhanced visibility, and the credibility resulting from such partnerships," Berlinsky said. "The public organization is able to deploy technology to accomplish its public health goals, while often receiving favorable pricing. The cost savings may be especially compelling for non-profits that lack the resources for large-scale technology purchases," Berlinsky added.

CSHC will specifically promote CardioGram and CardioGramKids, which are portable devices supported by proprietary workflow software. According to the company, once an ECG has been completed, the data is digitally transmitted via an Internet connection to the company's computer laboratory for instant analysis. ECG data is interpreted by a sophisticated computer algorithm, and interpretations are available in near real-time at the CardioGram device.

The company also allows cardiologists who conduct follow-up reviews to more accurately interpret the data. The data and interpretation can be transferred to an electronic medical record via CompuMed's proprietary EMR software solution.

CompuMed said that it has made its equipment, software, and follow-up readings of the data extremely affordable for school clinics. The equipment to perform ECGs is provided free of charge, even though it typically costs about $3,500. Each CompuMed follow-up reading by a skilled pediatric cardiologist is $15, though typically priced in the marketplace from $20 to $150 or more.

"Public-private partnerships, like this introduction of CompuMed's ECG telemedicine technology into school-based health centers, provide students and parents with access to important diagnostic services that might otherwise be unavailable or impractical, especially during periods of public budgetary uncertainty," Serena Clayton, CSHC executive director, said in a statement. “We are grateful to CompuMed for its support of our mission to promote the health and academic success of children and youth by putting healthcare where the kids are -- in school."

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