legal issues in medicine depicted by stethoscope and gavel on book

Top Tips to Avoid Legal Issues in Telemedicine

Nearly 70 percent of physicians are willing to use telemedicine, according to a recent survey, but what the survey didn’t measure is what percentage are concerned about legal issues in telemedicine. Considering the broad variance in telemedicine regulations across the nation, the concern is certainly a valid one. Here are some areas in which newly-minted telemedicine physicians should tread carefully to avoid running afoul of the law. Read more

empty emergency room waiting for telemedicine adoption

Emergency Telemedicine Adoption Put on Hold

No matter how much a healthcare facility wants or needs telemedicine, few things can stop telemedicine adoption faster than contrary regulations or laws. This recently proved true in Mississippi, which has just 64.4 primary care physicians per 100,000 residents—far less than the national median of 90.8. To add insult to injury, some rural hospitals have had to close emergency rooms or shut down entirely due to financial difficulties. This setting may look perfect for the implementation of telemedicine as a remedy, but existing state regulations have quickly nixed this potential solution. Read more

At hospital without inpatient telemedicine, night call doctor falls asleep

Top 4 Benefits of Inpatient Telemedicine

Implementing a new inpatient telemedicine program can be a daunting task for any hospital, but with careful consideration, hospital administrators can identify key return on investment (ROI) factors for prioritization. The top four ROI factors for any hospital, as described by Eagle Telemedicine, are improved clinical metrics, patient and family satisfaction, impact on transfers, and physician retention. Admittedly, all four aspects can benefit from a telemedicine presence; the question is how large an impact will be felt. Read more

Doctor at desk talking to patient with telemedicine solutions

Will Telemedicine Solutions Ease Physician Shortage?

For the next 20 years, three million baby boomers will reach retirement—each year, according to Advisory Board. Today, one in five people already lives in an area with a shortage of primary care physicians, and some hospitals are already experiencing a shortage of specialists; what will happen when we keep adding more patients than doctors to the healthcare system? Many experts, such as the Association of American Medical Colleges, predict that the shortage will only worsen. In a proactive effort to alleviate the problem and increase patients’ access to physicians, some hospitals and health systems have begun encouraging their patients to use telemedicine solutions instead of traveling to the doctor’s office, thus enabling physicians to see more patients more efficiently. Read more

doctor answering survey for telemedicine adoption

Survey Finds Doctors Ready for Telemedicine Adoption Boom

A new survey by M3 Global Research and American Well has revealed that more physicians are using telemedicine now (22 percent) than in 2015 (5 percent), and the trend is expected to continue upwards; over half of US doctors expect to use the technology by 2022. The polled physicians cited a number of reasons for their readiness for telemedicine adoption, although some uncertainties remain. Read more

paper money falling into piggy bank

Telemedicine Cost Savings Are Just Beginning

Telemedicine has long been touted as a balm for rising healthcare costs. Indeed, a 2017 report from the Rural Broadband Association found that annual telemedicine cost savings averaged $20,841 per hospital in the US. Some believe that telemedicine, including remote patient monitoring, could shave a combined $4.3 billion off the country’s yearly healthcare bill. While a first glance at the cost savings looks promising, digging deeper reveals that several obstacles are still preventing us from maximizing the benefits of telemedicine; this suggests that, with full support, cost savings could be driven higher yet. Read more

farm along country road in Southern York County, PA

Rural Telemedicine Growing More Slowly than Expected

Telemedicine has been touted as a revolutionary solution to the shortage of physicians in rural areas, but a recent study published in JAMA suggests that although this trend may have begun, it has not yet snowballed as expected. Between 2005 and 2017, 83.3% of patients with commercial insurance who used telemedicine services lived in urban areas. This suggests that they were not driven to use telemedicine by a shortage of physicians, but rather by other factors such as convenience. Such a surprising result seems contrary to the belief that rural patients are seeking greater access to physicians; if this were the case, then one might expect more rural telemedicine than urban telemedicine. Read more

bar graph growing upwards w magnifying glass

Telemedicine Usage Exploding since 2005

According to a new study published in JAMA, telemedicine use has been skyrocketing since 2005. Researchers, curious about the adoption pattern of telemedicine, examined the trends in telemedicine use and its association with factors such as parity legislation and physician supply within a large commercial health plan. They found that from 2005 to 2017, telemedicine usage grew from 206 visits in 2005 to about 202,300 visits in 2017. Telemedicine usage expanded the most in primary care and telemental health (telepsychiatry); this rise, they surmise, may be largely due to increasing payer coverage for direct-to-consumer telemedicine. Read more

Doctor questioning

Why Are Some Physicians Slow to Embrace Telemedicine?

A recent survey has revealed that although doctors and consumers agree on the benefits of telemedicine, doctors have been slower to embrace the technology than their patients. According to the Deloitte 2018 Surveys of US Health Care Consumers and Physicians, over half of the consumers who have not yet tried video visits are willing to use the technology in the future, but less than one out of five physicians without video visit capability plans to add the service to his/her practice during the next couple years. Read more

hand holding smartphone with medical icons

Why Are Telemedicine Utilization Rates Slow to Catch Up?

Mercer’s latest National Survey reveals that these days, the majority of large companies offer telemedicine services to their employees—but employee telemedicine utilization rates are surprisingly slow to catch up. Over 70% of employers with at 500 employees report that their workers have access to telemedicine services through either their health plan or through a specialty vendor contracted outside their health plan, but in 2016, only 7% of eligible employees used telemedicine at least once. Read more