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DTC Telemedicine: Risk or Relief?

Most talk of telemedicine centers around doctor’s offices, medical facilities, and hospitals, but another segment is drawing increased attention—and unease. Direct-to-consumer telemedicine, in which a telemedicine company links a health care provider with a patient upon the patient’s request, perhaps through a smartphone app or in a supermarket with a private kiosk, has been rising in popularity due to the clear benefits offered by the modality. However, a recent editorial in JAMA brings up serious concerns about the quality of care being provided to these patients via DTC telemedicine. Read more

HIPAA requirements document with hand holding magnifying glass - to avoid HIPAA violations

Avoid These Common HIPAA Violations

More than twenty years since its inception, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has made significant strides in keeping patients’ healthcare information private. However, even now, HIPAA violations still occur on a regular basis—often as a result of unintentional actions, leading to fines that can range from $100 to $1.5 million. In addition, providers may be at risk for sanctions or even loss of license. Here, in no particular order, are the 10 most common reasons for HIPAA violation citations; it’s worth reviewing these with your staff periodically to remind them to be careful with discussions, files, and devices. Read more

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swyMed Named in Best Telemedicine Companies for 2019

TechRadar, an international technology news and reviews site, recently assembled a list of the best telemedicine companies for 2019. Out of over 250 telemedicine companies on the market, swyMed is honored to have been named as #3. Besides being able to deliver the expected benefits of telemedicine—including reduced travel, time and costs, as well as increased convenience and efficiency—the top platforms must also have the following essential features, as outlined by TechRadar: Read more

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Direct-to-Consumer Telemedicine May Shift Primary Care Focus

As the public increasingly turns to direct-to-consumer telemedicine services for minor ailments, rather than rushing to urgent care centers or doctors’ offices, industry experts are predicting a shift in the nature of the primary-care clinic as one of the largest impacts of this phenomenon. Studies are starting to show that patients are turning to telemedicine instead of visiting an emergency department or urgent-care center, saving healthcare systems tens of millions of dollars each year. As telemedicine becomes more integrated into the way healthcare is provided, some experts believe it will become a routine, expected service instead of a special, additional feature. Read more

Open bottle of prescription medicine

The Impact of Telepharmacy on Controlled Substances, Patients and Prescribers

As telemedicine becomes more commonplace, telepharmacy grows more popular as well, especially for patients in remote rural areas who lack easy access to physicians and pharmacists. When it comes to controlled substances, though, the practice of prescribing medication through telemedicine becomes tricky; should in-person office visits between patients and providers be required? Read more

Stethoscope and gavel

Year in Review: 2017 Telemedicine Legislation

Over the last year, 63 pieces of telemedicine legislation focusing on telemedicine were approved in 34 states, according to the Center for Connected Health Policy. These bills facilitated multi-state medical licenses, defined terminology, and established care standards, among other issues. 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

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Prison Telemedicine Provides Relief to NYC

At New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex, inmates typically endure hours of onerous travel and waiting just to spend five minutes with a doctor. With the recent introduction of prison telemedicine, the entire experience has transformed; shackles, holding pens, and hurried in-person visits have been replaced by local virtual visits that are long enough for patients to voice their concerns. The result is a win-win situation: Patients are assured of confidentiality while they receive the care they want and need, all from the relative comfort of the prison, while the prison saves untold dollars from eliminating the need for secure transport. Read more

Girl using asthma inhaler

Telemedicine for Asthma Is as Effective as Doctor Visits

For children, having asthma generally means working with an allergist for treatment. However, many children in underserved regions, such as inner-city or rural areas, are unable to visit an allergist’s office due to obstacles such as distance or cost. As a result, these patients often do not receive the best, most cost-effective care available. There is hope, though: A new study shows that using telemedicine for asthma treatment can be as effective as an in-person visit. This discovery could bring the allergist virtually to the local health clinics, removing some of these barriers to care. Read more

Telemedicine Screening for Diabetic Retinopathy Brings the Eye Doctor to You

As part of an ongoing effort to reduce the incidence of diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of new-onset blindness, healthcare providers urge diabetics to have yearly eye exams. Despite their efforts, however, less than two-thirds of adult diabetics in the U.S. visit the eye doctor for screening. Researchers at the University of Michigan’s Kellogg Eye Center took a different approach: What if eye doctors could go to the patient instead—via telemedicine screening? Would patients participate in such a program? Read more