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

child PM&R

Children’s Tele-physiatry Program Debuts

For children in remote communities, obtaining care for physical impairments can be challenging. Soon, a new program will change that for some youngsters: The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has awarded the University of California Davis Department of Pediatrics a $2 million, five-year grant to set up a tele-physiatry project for children with spina bifida, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, and other disabilities. 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

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UC Riverside Testing MS Telemedicine

Telemedicine is already in use to help patients with stroke treatment or debilitating chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s disease; now, a study is exploring whether the platform can work for patients with multiple sclerosis. The University of California Riverside was awarded a $100,000 grant from biotech firm Genentech to set up a one-year pilot program in order to determine whether an MS telemedicine visit can replace office visits for patients who have difficulties with travel. Read more

elderly man with walker trying to stand

Telemedicine for Movement Disorders Is Well-Received

A professor at Emory University is finding great success in using telemedicine for movement disorders. Recently, Jaime Hatcher-Martin, MD, PhD, a movement disorders specialist at Emory University Hospital, was asked about her experiences with telemedicine. Having founded Emory’s movement disorders telemedicine clinic, Hatcher-Martin is ready to offer guidance to clinicians who are interested in telemedicine. Read more

bedside manner

Telemedicine Drives Development of “Webside” Manners

It’s well-known that a physician’s bedside manner can help him reassure and relate to a patient, but what about “webside” manner? With the growing popularity of telemedicine, the bulk of the attention is given to the technology driving the industry, but providers are finding that their body language cues are taking on entirely new meanings in front of the webcam. Read more

elderly man in ambulance

Maximizing the Potential for Mobile Telestroke

When it comes to treating stroke, every moment counts. A stroke patient only has a three-hour window from symptom onset in which access to the clot-busting and lifesaving drug tPA can do the most good; after that, the chances of recovery plummet. Unfortunately, many regional and rural hospitals don’t have a 24-hour neurologist on hand to make timely diagnoses. To make things worse, only about 27 percent of stroke patients arrive at the hospital within 3.5 hours of symptom onset, leaving nearly three-quarters of stroke patients at risk for more permanent damage. (1) In an effort to deliver care to patients in a timelier manner, systems are increasingly looking into mobile telestroke programs. Read more

Doctor on tablet concept

Remote Patient Evaluation (RPE) Is Ready for Primetime

To date, remote patient monitoring (RPM) has used digital technologies to collect health data from patients in one place and transmit that information securely to case managers somewhere else. This approach has proven useful for caregivers to prioritize follow-ups and monitor compliance as they have easy access to real-time data such as: weight, glucose levels, blood pressure, heart rate, air flow and even subjective survey data trends measured by patients in the comfort of their homes. Read more

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Proposed Rule Would Allow VA Telemedicine Providers to Treat Patients across State Lines

If the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs gets its way, VA telemedicine providers will soon be exempt from state restrictions that prohibit physicians from seeing patients in another state without being licensed to practice there. The goal of the proposed rule, the Veterans E-health and Telemedicine Support Act of 2017, is to increase veterans’ access to care and timeliness of treatment, especially in rural and underserved areas. Read more

occupational therapy

Texas Considers Expanding Telemedicine Reimbursement for Workers’ Comp Cases

Now that Texas state officials have finally opened the doors for telemedicine expansion, they certainly aren’t wasting any time: The Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) has proposed an informal rule that would eliminate Medicare-based restrictions on originating sites and reimbursement for workers’ comp cases. Read more