Thumbs up for VA telehealth services

Senate Bill Seeks to Expand VA Telehealth Services

A bipartisan bill in the U.S. Senate seeks to increase veterans’ healthcare access by expanding telehealth services across state lines for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). According to current law, the VA may waive the state licensure requirement only if the patient and doctor are both at a federally owned facility; additionally, at-home VA telehealth services are permitted only if the patient and doctor are in the same state. These mandates make it difficult for rural and disabled veterans to obtain appropriate care due to onerous travel requirements and state restrictions. Read more

Man using laptop for telemedicine

Telemedicine for Parkinson’s Patients May Increase Compliance, Care

Telemedicine has been making headlines for facilitating timely stroke treatment and increasing access to care in rural areas, but other specialties are finding substantial benefits, too. This summer, preliminary results from a randomized clinical trial of telemedicine for Parkinson’s patients were released; these initial findings look very promising. Read more

Dr. warning to avoid telemedicine strategy pitfalls

Watch Out for These Telemedicine Strategy Pitfalls

If your practice has been waiting for the right time to embrace a telemedicine strategy, the wait is over. Telemedicine is no longer a brand-new, untested experiment—it’s used in over half of all U.S. hospitals, according to the American Telemedicine Association. Reimbursement is expanding, with Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance plans coming on board in various states. And with the Affordable Care Act encouraging cost-effective, results-driven models of care, it’s a great time to transform your practice with a robust telemedicine program.

However, as with any endeavor, careful planning will help your goals become a reality. As you map out your telemedicine strategy, watch out for these three common pitfalls: Read more

stethoscope laying on keyboard

Establishing Telemedicine as a Tool through Legislation

As we face a future filled with increasing health care needs and a predicted shortage of physicians, it becomes clear that the old paradigm of medicine—namely, time-consuming office visits—will no longer suffice. Newer technologies, such as telemedicine, have the ability to address these needs by offering high-quality, cost-effective, and time-efficient care—but only if we allow it.

Unfortunately, science and patient demands evolve more quickly than legislation, and our current structure is hindering a more widespread and effective use of telemedicine. Read more

Senior woman and caregiver

The Benefits of Telemedicine in Long-Term Care Facilities

In recent years, telemedicine has received a lot of attention for increasing access to healthcare in rural areas. However, there’s another population, often overlooked, that can benefit greatly from this evolving technology: residents of long-term care facilities. These patients also experience reduced accessibility to healthcare due to transportation issues or being homebound thanks to illness or injury, and their hospital readmissions are raising cost concerns among facilities. By implementing telemedicine in long-term care, we can address both challenges with one solution. Read more

"Telemedicine kiosk here" sign

Telemedicine Kiosks Bring Doctor Consults to Workplaces and Retail Locations

For common ailments—such as earaches, rashes, or sprains—is a visit to the doctor really necessary? Thanks to telemedicine kiosks, the answer may soon be a resounding “No.”

In recent months, telemedicine kiosks have begun appearing across the country in pilot programs. These self-contained booths are bringing doctor consults into retail pharmacies, workplaces, and even city halls, making it easier and cheaper for individuals to receive health care for non-emergency needs, especially during nights and weekends. Read more

Mobile images from professional cameras and smartphones

Are Mobile Images Good Enough for Telemedicine Consults?

Is a professional-level camera required for on-the-go telemedicine consults? The rise of healthcare using mobile devices—known as mhealth—is leading to questions about whether the images taken with smartphones can be trusted for accurate clinical diagnoses. Read more

Telemed doctor using tablet

Who Wants to Be a Telemed Doctor?

Patients in rural areas and with limited transportation may welcome telemedicine, but what about the doctors?

It appears that physicians everywhere are also embracing this technology. A recent nationwide poll, conducted by QuantiaMD and American Well, reveals that 57 percent of primary care physicians are interested and willing to conduct telemedicine visits with their patients (1).

To better understand this response, let’s examine the context. As revealed by the survey, doctors are spending increasing time on non-reimbursable phone and email communications with patients. The average family doctor devotes nearly 4 hours per week on phone calls and emails, and each phone call alone costs roughly $20 of the physician’s time.

In this situation, it makes sense to replace non-reimbursable activities with billable telemedicine hours. Read more

Schoolboy with sore throat

Telemedicine in Schools Makes It Harder to Play Hooky

With the rapid growth of telemedicine, missing school to see the doctor may soon be unheard of.

Thanks to a grant, Burke County Public Schools will implement Health-e-Schools program this fall. This initiative, offered by North Carolina’s Center for Rural Health Innovation, is being funded by a $701,207 grant from the Duke Endowment Grant Project.

The grant was earmarked for rural areas with less access to healthcare than urban regions. By introducing telemedicine in schools, the program will make it easier and faster for students to receive care. The goal of the initiative is to extend the reach of primary care physicians, rather than replace them. Read more

swyMed Goes the Distance for Mobile Stroke Units

We’ve all heard that “Time is Money,” but what about “Time is Brain”? When it comes to treating strokes, we already know that every minute really can make a difference in recovery. In this high-pressure environment, the health care industry eagerly embraces any proven innovation that can save crucial seconds in delivering treatment.

That’s where mobile stroke units come in. Recently named as the leader among the Top 10 Medical Innovations for 2015 by the Cleveland Clinic, mobile stroke ambulances are equipped with telemedicine units so stroke treatment can begin en route to the hospital.

Sounds great, but what’s the catch? Mobile stroke care only works if the technology works. Read more