Stethoscope and gavel

Telemedicine Legislation Heartily Embraced by Senate

A telemedicine initiative from New Mexico may soon become a nationwide program. Earlier this week, the Senate unanimously approved the Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes (ECHO) Act, which champions the system developed five years ago at the University of New Mexico (UNM) to increase access to specialists in rural, underserved regions. Read more

Preseasonal photos of gis in grymastics

Prison Telemedicine Provides Relief to NYC

At New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex, inmates typically endure hours of onerous travel and waiting just to spend five minutes with a doctor. With the recent introduction of prison telemedicine, the entire experience has transformed; shackles, holding pens, and hurried in-person visits have been replaced by local virtual visits that are long enough for patients to voice their concerns. The result is a win-win situation: Patients are assured of confidentiality while they receive the care they want and need, all from the relative comfort of the prison, while the prison saves untold dollars from eliminating the need for secure transport. Read more

Girl using asthma inhaler

Telemedicine for Asthma Is as Effective as Doctor Visits

For children, having asthma generally means working with an allergist for treatment. However, many children in underserved regions, such as inner-city or rural areas, are unable to visit an allergist’s office due to obstacles such as distance or cost. As a result, these patients often do not receive the best, most cost-effective care available. There is hope, though: A new study shows that using telemedicine for asthma treatment can be as effective as an in-person visit. This discovery could bring the allergist virtually to the local health clinics, removing some of these barriers to care. Read more

Telemedicine Screening for Diabetic Retinopathy Brings the Eye Doctor to You

As part of an ongoing effort to reduce the incidence of diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of new-onset blindness, healthcare providers urge diabetics to have yearly eye exams. Despite their efforts, however, less than two-thirds of adult diabetics in the U.S. visit the eye doctor for screening. Researchers at the University of Michigan’s Kellogg Eye Center took a different approach: What if eye doctors could go to the patient instead—via telemedicine screening? Would patients participate in such a program? Read more

Doctor holding sign that says, "Medicare"

Telemedicine Use Rising Rapidly among Medicare Beneficiaries

In one of the first published studies to measure exactly how often telemedicine is utilized, Harvard Medical School researchers discovered that telemedicine use among Medicare patients grew roughly 28 percent each year between 2004 and 2013. This rise is even more impressive in light of Medicare’s restrictive reimbursement policy: Medicare only pays for telemedicine visits if the patient lives in a rural area and travels to a clinic for the telemedicine visit. Read more

Supporting Parkinson's patient with cane

Telemedicine Pilot Program Successful for Parkinson’s Patients

Patients with Parkinson’s disease are used to devoting an entire day and driving long miles to be seen by a specialist. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Thanks to telemedicine, though, this could soon change. Last fall, Rush University Medical Center launched a telemedicine pilot program that allows patients to visit their physicians virtually, from the comfort of their own homes. Read more

Holding/Shaking hands

AMA Adopts Telemedicine Ethics Guidelines

The American Medical Association (AMA), recognizing the changes being wrought in the industry by telemedicine, has announced a new set of ethical guidelines to help ensure that electronic doctor-patient interactions will remain safe and effective. The goal is to help physicians understand how their responsibilities may vary depending on whether they are seeing a patient in person or via telemedicine. Read more

Microcephaly comparison

Telemedicine Brings Healthcare to Zika Victims

Amidst all the worries of the Zika epidemic affecting babies in Brazil, here’s a bit of encouraging news. Dr. Sandra Mattos, a pediatric cardiologist, is using telemedicine to increase those infants’ access to care. Her efforts have overcome poor infrastructure, especially in remote areas, that typically prevent families from receiving needed health care. Read more