5 Ways (and why) to Help HIT and Telemedicine Adoption

A few articles came out this week that I that I feel underscore the need for providers – both large hospital systems and private practices – need to get off their collective derrières and start implementing HIT and Telemedicine.

Thankfully, we are going to provide them valuable advice to help make this happen later in this piece. However, let’s start with a brief discussion of some of this week’s materials.

In a piece Read more

Interstate Licensure Compact Goes Live

interstate licensure map

Blue indicates states where the compact is enacted, orange indicates states where it has been introduced. Map from licenseportability.org, sponsored by The Federation of State Medical Boards.

Slightly old news, but on May 19th (only two weeks after the American Telemedicine Association’s Annual Meeting and Trade Show), enough states signed the Interstate Licensure Compact into law to trigger forming the Interstate Licensure Compact Commission. Each state will appoint two commissioners who will help oversee and administer the compact.

This is a highly important event, as it marks the beginnings of making physician licenses either more portable (license portability) or much easier to acquire in additional states once acquired the first time–a key stumbling block in telemedicine that looks to provide aid to rural areas that are often closer to medical service areas in a bordering state. It’s also been a key issue in overcoming the increasing physician shortage in general.

The seventh, and triggering state, was Alabama, followed almost immediately by Minnesota on the same day. On May 27th, Nevada followed suit, making the number of participation states nine. The other states are Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming–notably rural states that would benefit immensely by the Compact’s success.

The commission is expected to meet later this year. For more information on the Instate Medical Licensure Compact, please visit http://licenseportability.org/.

swyMed & Kubi on EMR & HIPAA

There was a nice little write-up by John Lynn at the EMR & HIPAA site about Revolve Robotics‘ Kubi robot. Although we weren’t the focus of the article, there was a nice paragraph about needing swyMed for Kubi’s healthcare applications due to being HIPAA compliant while still having Kubi controls baked in.

Please click here to read the entire article.

Preparing Big Stuff for HIMSS 2015

swyMed at HIMSS 2015 booth 7164

I admit it’s been too long since I last posted here. Well, I have an excuse…

We’ve been busy getting ready for the HIMSS and ATA 2015 conferences. We’re very excited to be going because we believe this is the year swyMed really makes its presence known in the healthcare space.

At HIMSS we will be introducing some very special technology for home health use as well as new partnerships that will make the deployment and delivery of healthcare even easier. Read more

New York Telehealth

New York joins the Telemedicine Party…er, Parity

New York Telehealth

Making a momentous step forward, last week New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill requiring private insurers to cover telehealth and telemedicine coverage, retroactive to January 1st, 2015 (Happy New Year!).

That was not a redundant sentence: New York has differentiated between telehealth and telemedicine in the bill, with the primary difference being that telemedicine must include Read more

senior patient using swyMed tablet

Introducing the New User Type: Patient

senior patient using swyMed tablet

In response to customer requests, we have just added new user type for our software: “Patient.” Patient users are not able to search the user directory, meaning that a care provider can keep all their patients in their groups and directories for easy access while maintaining the utmost privacy. A doctor can give a patient swyMed software, set them up with a Patient account with the doctor in the presence list, and the patient can’t search or see other doctors or patients, fully complying with HIPAA.

We created this user type so that swyMed can be given to individuals on their home PCs, smartphones or tablets, to connect to their doctor, and know that their privacy is protected.

In the past, most of our clients installed our software on devices owned by their facility, which either restricted use to the facility or required loaning devices to patients. Now with the Patient user type, they can throw the doors open and give the software to anyone, anywhere.

This is just one more way that we are allowing our healthcare customers to have the workflow they want, rather than a Rube Goldberg procedure for contacting patients while maintaining full compliance.

Max Life emergency response

Emergency Response Day Video from ITS World Congress

Max Life, with whom we provide remote urgent care, remote ER screening, and mobile trauma care, participated in the the ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) World Congress Emergency Response Day back in September. It may be several months later, but the ITS has released this wonderful video on YouTube showcasing the Mock Incident exercise. Max Life can be seen starting at the 1:06 mark, showcasing swyMed’s telemedicine communication platform inside their ambulance beginning at 1:27.  However, watch the entire thing. It’s less than three minutes and provides a great example of how telemedicine can play an important role in emergency response.

Maybe You Can get Reimbursed for That…

Treasure In Paper

Last week I posted a press release from the ATA about expanded Medicare coverage for Telemedicine.  Well, I decided to actually read the 1200 page rulemaking from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  You can guess why it’s taken a week to write a follow up article…

Actually, no.  I didn’t read the entire rulemaking, only the pages relevant to all things “tele” in medicine and healthcare.  In doing so, I was reminded of something interesting:

There are a number of procedures already covered by Medicare without specific telemedicine codes.  In fact, of the seven bullet points listing the 22 codes rejected or deleted from inclusion, five noted the affected codes were largely unnecessary due to either an existing telehealth code or because Medicare does not distinguish whether the procedure is tele or not.

Here are a few examples:

Regarding electrocardiograms and echocardiograms: “By definition, Read more

ATA Celebrates Halloween Telemedicine Treats for Medicare Beneficiaries

WASHINGTON – Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014 — Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a rulemaking that includes significant additional coverage for telemedicine services.

“This Halloween, Medicare beneficiaries got an important treat for home care of chronic care management, remote patient monitoring of chronic conditions, and other services when provided via telehealth,” said Jonathan Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association. The association has been asking CMS for such coverage for over five years.

Buried in an almost 1200-page rulemaking about 2015 Medicare payments to physicians and practitioners were provisions paying for remote chronic care management using a new current procedural terminology (CPT) code, 99490, with a monthly unadjusted, non-facility fee of $42.60. Also, Medicare will pay for remote-patient monitoring of chronic conditions with a monthly unadjusted, non-facility fee of $56.92 using CPT code 99091. Prior to this, Medicare did not pay separately for such services, requiring that such billing be bundled with an “evaluation and management” code.

Also in the rulemaking were seven new covered procedure codes for telehealth including annual wellness visits, psychotherapy services, and prolonged services in the office.

“It has been a long time coming, but this rulemaking signals a clear and bold step in the right direction for Medicare,” added Linkous. “This allows providers to use telemedicine technology to improve the cost and quality of healthcare delivery.”

Read the full document here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=CMS-2014-0094-2363. To learn more about telemedicine and public policy, visit http://www.americantelemed.org/policy/overview-news.

About the American Telemedicine Association

The American Telemedicine Association is the leading international resource and advocate promoting the use of advanced remote medical technologies. ATA and its diverse membership work to fully integrate telemedicine into healthcare systems to improve quality, equity and affordability of healthcare throughout the world. Established in 1993, ATA is headquartered in Washington, DC. For more information visit www.americantelemed.org.

Media Contact:
Mimi Hubbard
mhubbard@americantelemed.org
202-659-7616

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7 Things We Learned from the 2014 Connected Health Symposium

Last week we participated at the Connected Health Symposium hosted by Partners Healthcare in Boston.  Jeff Urdan, our COO, gave a presentation on swyMed for the fourth annual Innovators Challenge, a symposium event to draw attention to, as they say on their website, “products that are genuinely new and potentially game-changing for connected health.”  He also had a chance to report back on his key takeaways from the event.

1)     Wearables May Take Over the World

Lots of companies are doing cool things with wearable sensors sending data to smart phones.  At the Innovators Challenge alone there were:

  • Basis – a fitness and sleep tracker watch conceptually similar to the iWatch and Samsung (but better of course!)
  • FeverSmart – a temperature monitor for tracking fever.  It is intended for babies so parents can know both how the child is trending and can give actual data to their pediatrician rather than guesstimates…but imagine the Ebola applications for monitoring people who might have been exposed and need to be monitored for the 21 day incubation period!
  • GoodLux Technology – measures light exposure which has been shown to impact both seasonal affective disorder and depression.

Read more