sick woman on telemedicine visit

6 Things We Learned at ATA 2017

This year’s American Telemedicine Association conference just wrapped up this week in Orlando. The theme, Telehealth 2.0, emphasized that when it’s done right, telehealth can benefit patients and providers, and they both prefer it. Throughout the numerous panels and talks, the tremendous growth of the industry showcased innovation, technology, and workable solutions. In case you missed it, here are the top six takeaways that we learned from the conference. Read more

youth football player

Teleneurology Can Deliver Real-Time Concussion Care to Young Athletes

Each year, up to 3.8 million traumatic brain injuries occur—over 75 percent of which are sports-related. Although the professional and elite levels are addressing the issue, many youth and collegiate programs can’t keep concussion specialists on hand to provide an immediate response on the sidelines. A recent study, spearheaded by Mayo Clinic, explored whether telemedicine technology could be used by concussion specialists to assess players’ conditions in real time. Although teleneurology has already been shown to be effective for evaluating and treating acute neurologic conditions such as stroke, concussion management is a new territory. Read more

Report Card: Most Improved A+

ATA’s Annual Reports Reveal Growth in Telemedicine Adoption

Last week, the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) issued its yearly reports of telemedicine coverage, reimbursement, and standards across the country. In general, telemedicine has consistently become an accepted tool by patients, providers, and third-party payers in all states, with improved coverage and reimbursement in several states. Some state legislatures are removing restrictive requirements for physician practice standards, even allowing them to practice telemedicine across state lines. Read more

Girl feeling ill in classroom

School Telemedicine Earns Grade ‘A’

Traditionally, when a student presents with wheezing in the chest, suggesting an asthma attack, the school nurse must call an ambulance to transport the child to the emergency room. Now, with school telemedicine and the parent’s permission, a school nurse can initiate a video call with an emergency room pediatrician; with the aid of a digital stethoscope, the doctor can listen to the student’s lungs remotely, diagnose the ailment, and provide a treatment plan for the nurse to follow. Within minutes, the student returns to class. Read more

An elderly amputee contemplates his healthcare options without telemedicine

Rural Telemedicine Broadband Service Too Spotty

For patients in rural areas, telemedicine can make a big difference by increasing access to health care and specialists—but only when the region’s high-speed Internet access works. Unlike swyMed, most telemedicine platforms need minimum connection speeds of 25 megabits per second for download and 3 megabits per second for upload. Read more

ICU

Tele-ICU Programs Pay for Themselves

Some new research shows that when it comes to intensive care units (ICUs), investing in telemedicine pays significant dividends: Combining a tele-ICU program with centralized bed management can increase case volume by roughly 40 percent and raise contribution margins by over $52 million. The differences were attributed to shorter lengths of stay, a higher ratio of case revenue to direct costs, and higher case volume. Read more

Depressed elderly woman at home

Telemedicine Offers Hope to Depression Sufferers

A recent study opens new avenues for individuals with depression: Therapy conducted with video medicine can work just as well as in-person visits. This means that patients who have limited mobility, who live in remote areas, or who do not seek treatment openly due to stigmas may soon be able to access psychotherapy treatments privately from their homes or local medical clinics. Read more

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

Road sign announcing the next exit, psychiatry

Telepsychiatry Relieves Shortage in Idaho

Thanks to an ongoing shortage of psychiatrists in Idaho, patients are often unable to seek help for mental or behavioral health issues until the condition has become severe enough to require hospitalization. In an effort to provide relief, Saint Alphonsus Health System has partnered with the University of Washington to create a telepsychiatry program, bringing psychiatric residents virtually to rural Idaho and Oregon. Read more