Consumers aren’t the only ones who are clamoring for the more convenient healthcare—it seems that doctors are, too. On February 3, the American Medical Association (AMA) announced its support for the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act, a telemedicine bill that aims to increase patients’ access to providers and reduce healthcare costs. Read more
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
You might think that the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and the resulting opportunities for telemedicine would have led to widespread telemedicine usage to increase access to healthcare while reducing costs, but the reality is that reimbursement from government agencies—such as Medicare—has fallen far behind the rhetoric. And when good intentions aren’t backed up with adequate funding, progress can become slower than molasses.
Telemedicine has certainly grown steadily, but the impact has been felt more significantly among those with private insurance that provides reimbursement for telemedicine visits. Among Medicare beneficiaries, less than 1% have coverage for telemedicine (1). And of those who are fortunate enough to enjoy such coverage, particularly those in rural areas, Medicare often requires the beneficiary to already be at a clinic. So much for making healthcare more convenient. Read more
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- case study (5)
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