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Bespoke Provides Video Content That’s Just What the Doctor OrderedLock Icon

7 min read

The knee was red and hot to the touch a week after a knee-replacement procedure, and the joint’s worried owner was debating whether to call the doctor’s office.

Instead, he reached for his iPad, touched a link to a secure web portal, typed in a password and reviewed a video his doctor had assigned him to watch. The redness and warmth were normal in recovery, the video said, reassuring the patient and saving the doctor an after-hours call and the patient a follow-up visit.

Rick Rogala and Mike Heald of Bespoke Health Media offered that real-life anecdote in pitching a video-based communication system built for health providers and their patients.

Bespoke Health, a subsidiary of Bespoke Media Group LLC of Little Rock, tailors detailed videos for patients facing specific conditions or procedures, using a secure streaming system that Rogala and Heald see as potentially revolutionary in health care.

“Since we began using Bespoke post-procedural videos in my practice, readmissions have decreased and after-hours phone calls have all but stopped,” said Dr. Scott Stern, a Little Rock surgical oncologist and spokesman for the Bespoke program. “The use of video for patient-centered communication is proving to be the most effective and productive way to educate patients.”

Bespoke Health creates the videos in coordination with medical specialty groups, Arkansas clinics like Arkansas Urology, and Dr. Ken Martin, a Little Rock orthopedic surgeon. Patients view the videos through an encrypted link, and doctors get tools to monitor what the patients have watched and to gather patients’ informed-consent documents electronically. Patients can watch and rewatch the videos at any time, on any internet-connected device.

“If you look at medical video of the past, it was often the generic type that you see on a television screen in the doctor’s office, discussing in very general terms common conditions like diabetes,” said Rogala, Bespoke’s CEO, describing the system from his company’s vast office-and-studio complex along the Arkansas River near Cajun’s Wharf. “This is far different content, information about specific conditions and procedures that patients face.”

Rogala developed the video idea after talking with physicians seeking a better way to convey routine information to patients. Donna Mooney, a Ph.D specialist in hardware and software who is Bespoke’s chief technology officer, had the idea for an app. The result was a perfect business marriage, Rogala said.

Rogala says physicians are impressed with the app, MDSpoke, a proprietary interactive interface that “exceeds all HIPAA requirements,” a reference to the Health Information Portability & Accountability Act, and uses advanced encryption. Doctors can often see more patients because the videos take over the time-consuming task of conveying rote information to dozens of patients a day. Physicians say their face time with patients becomes more efficient because the videos give baseline knowledge and spur specific questions.

MDSpoke also digitally captures signatures from patients and witnesses on informed-consent documents. This electronic proof that patients have reviewed important information can be crucial to loss mitigation in dealing with any disputes or litigation that may arise from treatment, experts say. MDspoke also offers tools to raise office efficiency and reduce that bane of all medical encounters, paperwork.

“MDSpoke follows HIPAA compliance requirements with regard to privacy and security and breach notification standards,” Stern said.

Videos Customized
At home or work — or even through headphones or in a private cubicle at the doctor’s office — patients can touch a screen and get “top-tier” information about a condition or procedure, from prostate treatment to joint replacement.

“The proliferation of technology and the personalization of media has led us to this,” Stern said. “We watch what we want when we want, on the device we want.”

Once Bespoke creates video content for one doctor, about knee replacement, for example, “it’s easy to turn around and sell the idea to another physician who performs knee replacements,” Heald said. But the three- to eight-minute videos are also customized and branded for each doctor or practice, “so that each patient’s own doctor is talking” in a lead-in before the common video content begins, Mooney said. “It’s good for patients to see their own doctor, speaking in their own regional dialect. This all makes for better communication, and better health outcomes.”

After the video, another link takes patients to frequently asked questions, and then they encounter a digital consent form to be signed electronically. “This captures an electronic record of use for digital audit and loss mitigation,” Stern said. “And all of this patient interaction, including the specific videos a patient watches, are stored for the physician’s use if needed at a later date.”

Medical and malpractice insurance specialists have described the system as a “game-changer,” said Heald, Bespoke’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Doctors can tell if a patient watched only half of the video; then they can insist that the rest be watched.”

But loss mitigation is only a secondary benefit, Rogala said. The main goal is for patients to be better informed, because better communication yields better outcomes. “There’s more information on the internet than there’s ever been, but how does a patient know if what they’re seeing is accurate and helpful?” Rogala asked. “That’s what we work with health professionals to do, to build up this library of communication that’s accurate, useful and consistent.”

A Growing Business
Rogala said all of Bespoke Media’s 13 employees contribute to the health care effort, which has become a major business line for Bespoke over the past two years. Rogala, a longtime media professional and former senior vice president for Nexstar Broadcasting Group, formed BMG in 2012. He partnered with Heald, a former Worthen, Stephens Inc. and One Bank & Trust executive, for his leadership in business and financial acumen, and the firm has specialized in marketing, training and corporate communications messaging ever since.

The privately held company doesn’t reveal revenue figures, Rogala said, but he indicated business is good, and growing.

The firm uses its own 8,200-SF studio in producing the videos, and often turns to animation specialist Daniel Odom, a graduate of the Savannah College of Art & Design. Rogala and Heald also credit Bespoke Vice Presidents Michael Dunn, the firm’s creative director, and Nate Disarro, chief of video production.

“All of the graphics are done by us internally, and we build this content specifically, working with the specialists to come up with scripts and visuals,” Rogala said. “And as we build up a library, we can do tweaks and keep all of the videos current. We work with physicians to know what’s changed, and we monitor specialty guidelines so we can modify the videos as procedures are updated.”

“That animation of the knee,” Heald said, referring to a segment of the knee-replacement video, “you couldn’t find that animation anywhere. We looked, and there was nothing of that quality. And that’s one of the things that doctors like: We’re committed to quality, and we can produce that kind of quality.”

Rogala said efficiency tools are another selling point for MDSpoke, which can provide customized images for patient consultations, return-on-investment reports for clinics’ financial officers and summations of patient survey data. The system helped Stern’s practice improve operational efficiency and the consistency of its messaging while cutting readmissions and “enhancing loss mitigation efforts,” the doctor said.

But he points to a different bottom line. “Patients are better informed” and more satisfied, he said, “and they’re having better outcomes.”

E. Scot Davis, the CEO of Arkansas Urology, concurred: “This revolutionary system will put the patient and their families in better communication with their healthcare provider regarding their own individual diagnosis and treatment plan.”

Heald, the COO, said Bespoke is continuing to expand its footprint in patient-centered communication and eventually hopes to produce videos for geriatric care and pharmaceutical companies.

“We want to provide whatever is needed by the health care industry,” Rogala said. “The American population continues to age, and that means we’ll need to communicate well with older patients, but also with people who are caring for our elderly. As we look to the future, that’s in the bigger picture.

“Another goal is to figure out a way to communicate about medications,” Rogala continued. “This is a whole new side of this that’s exciting. Can we give people important information about the medications they’ve been prescribed? This technological path could take us into all these areas.”

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