pulse oximeter on finger

Telemedicine at Home Can Prolong Lives, Study Says

A new study from Germany, published in The Lancet, has shown that for patients with chronic heart failure, supplementing traditional care with remote patient management intervention via telemedicine can reduce hospitalizations and increase life expectancies in both rural and urban settings. During the study, patient data measured at home was transmitted to the telemedicine center for immediate analysis; a deterioration in values was addressed instantly, such as adjusting the medication dosage, with a recommendation for an outpatient office visit or inpatient treatment. Read more

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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

little girl playing with blocks on carpet

Telehealth for Autism Shows Promise

Raising a child with autism can be challenging but rewarding, say their parents, but telemedicine is beginning to show itself to be a valuable tool. Whether it’s being used for remote assessments to diagnose autism or remote in-home therapy, telehealth for autism is currently being studied—and the preliminary results look promising. Read more

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Aging Population Welcomes Telemedicine for Seniors

Last winter, Medicare expanded its telemedicine coverage to make telestroke, dialysis, and home healthcare more accessible for seniors starting in 2020. Now, a recent poll shows that almost 9 out of 10 adults age 40 and over feel they would be comfortable using telemedicine for seniors in their families or for themselves—as long as the quality of care and health information privacy are as good as what they would get from an in-person visit. Read more

colorful continental USA map

VA Eliminates Licensure Barrier to Interstate Telemedicine

As part of the new “Anywhere to Anywhere VA Health Care Initiative,” Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) providers will soon be able to provide telehealth services across state lines regardless of the state’s licensing rules. The goal is to create a national telemedicine network that can reach veterans in their homes or at locations outside VA hospitals. Effective June 11, the change is expected to increase access to care by making more clinicians available for appointments for patients in rural, remote, or medically underserved areas. Read more

anxious woman biting nails

Home Telepsychiatry Reduces Anxiety, Saves Lives

Telemedicine has often been touted as a solution for remote regions with physician shortages, but one area of medicine is finding that telemedicine brings unexpected benefits, even if the patient lives right around the corner. Home telepsychiatry brings psychotherapy to the patient and meets the patient’s needs where he/she is. In the process, the physician can gain invaluable insight into the patient’s living situation—insight that might otherwise take weeks to uncover during in-office therapy sessions. For instance, a patient once complained of a cluttered home; she turned out to be a hoarder. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has discovered especially intriguing results from using home telepsychiatry. Read more

man with liver pain

Telehepatology Can Bring Cancer Patients Home

Home-based care—the most traditional type of health care—is making a comeback, especially for cancer patients. This is even more true for patients with hematologic malignancies, for whom there is no clear-cut distinction between the curative and end-of-life phases of disease. In an effort to keep patients comfortable and out of medical facilities, several hospitals have initiated Hospital at Home programs to provide a combination of acute, palliative, and hospice care needs. Some industry experts speculate that telehepatology may even join the mix. Read more

pregnant women using laptop at home

Prenatal Telemedicine Simplifies Care

Pregnancy isn’t an illness, but prenatal care in the U.S. typically involves 12 to 14 appointments during the 40-week term. Hopefully, these visits simply confirm that the mother and fetus are healthy. For low-risk expectant mothers, however, some of these appointments may be unnecessary, researchers say; the costs and inconvenience incurred—such as lost wages or child care—are not insignificant. At Mayo Clinic, a prenatal telemedicine program is easing the burden on low-risk mothers-to-be and their obstetric providers. Read more

Tired man with calculator

Diabetes Management and Telemedicine at Home

Telemedicine holds untold potential for chronic disease management, but one of the largest areas of impact will likely be for diabetes management. According to the U.S. Pharmacopeia Medication Errors Reporting Program, roughly half of all drug errors involve insulin. Furthermore, studies reveal that more than 97% of insulin overdoses occur at home, and only 60% of patients with type 2 diabetes follow their prescribed medication regimen—many fearing an overdosage. These mishaps can lead to adverse drug events, hospitalizations, and staggering costs, all of which could be reduced by using the feedback mechanism made possible by using telemedicine at home. Read more

colorful socks hanging on a rope

“Smart Socks” Merge Physical Therapy and Telemedicine

At first glance, the concept of physical therapy may not appear to lend itself well to telemedicine due to the physical nature of the specialty, but therapists and patients are finding that physical therapy and telemedicine work surprisingly well in certain situations—especially considering the convenience and low cost to patients. Now, a pair of “smart socks” may revolutionize telemedicine visits with physiotherapists and other such specialists. Read more