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

blindfolded woman near pit

Avoid These Telemedicine Pitfalls

At the recent American Telemedicine Association’s annual conference in Chicago, healthcare providers were offered insight into five key measures that are vital to a successful telemedicine program, as described by Afua Branoah Banful, MD, an expert in growth strategies focused on hospitals and health systems. Ignoring any of these can cause an organization to stumble into telemedicine pitfalls that can doom a telemedicine program from the start. Read more

hospital administrators

New Insights from Healthcare Execs on Telemedicine Adoption

A new survey reveals that 86% of healthcare executives rate telemedicine as a priority, but they’re cautious about committing their budgets to an industry that is still experiencing growing pains. As outlined in Defining Telemedicine’s Role: The View from the C-Suite from Sage Growth Partners, a healthcare research, strategy, and marketing firm in Baltimore, many executives remain wary of the complex regulations, reimbursement challenges, and connectivity issues surrounding telemedicine adoption. Read more

woman suffering from pollen allergy

Telemedicine for Allergies Receives Key Endorsement

Telemedicine for allergies has been endorsed by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) in recognition of the care delivery platform’s capacity to improve patients’ adherence, outcomes, access to care, and costs. The organization’s latest policy paper outlines 14 position statements on telemedicine adoption, policy, and platform development as they relate to allergy and immunology care. Read more

Stethoscope and gavel

Year in Review: 2017 Telemedicine Legislation

Over the last year, 63 pieces of telemedicine legislation focusing on telemedicine were approved in 34 states, according to the Center for Connected Health Policy. These bills facilitated multi-state medical licenses, defined terminology, and established care standards, among other issues. Read more

Telemedicine Specialists: A New Discipline?

Considering the steady growth of the telemedicine industry, two physicians at New York-Presbyterian have proposed the creation of a new specialty representing the “medical virtualist.” In a recent JAMA Viewpoint article, the authors cite a combination of the lack of oversight, inconsistent training, and specific skill sets, including webside manner, as compelling reasons for certifying full-time telemedicine specialists with a defined set of core competencies. Read more

NBC News Affiliate Highlights swyMed’s Mobile Telehealth Solution

swyMed recently announced that it has joined forces with the Commission on State Emergency Communications (CSEC) and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) on a program to implement telemedicine between EMS providers and a select group of trauma centers in rural West Texas. The objective of the project is to improve patient outcomes by using telemedicine technology to bring the judgment of trauma surgeons into the back of ambulances to assess and direct treatment. Read more