Amidst the apprehension wrought by the current COVID-19 pandemic, a silver lining has emerged: Primary care providers (PCP) are finding that telemedicine usage within their practices, previously hindered by issues such as inadequate reimbursement, privacy concerns, and costs, has begun soaring as cautious consumers seek alternatives to visiting the doctor’s office in person and, thus, potentially exposing themselves or others to COVID-19. Industry analysts are predicting that as both providers and patients embrace telemedicine for coronavirus as a solution for reducing the risk of transmission of infectious disease, as well as for other ailments, they will become accustomed to telemedicine as a tool and will expect its continuation within medical practices. Read more
Telemedicine’s moment to shine has arrived. Amidst rising national concern regarding the spread of coronavirus COVID-19—on top of the annual influenza cycle—Congress has passed an emergency spending bill that expands Medicare reimbursement for telemedicine during a public health emergency by loosening restrictions on the permissible locations for patients during the consultation. Read more
In previous years, the buzz around blockchain technology has centered mostly around cryptocurrency. As blockchain becomes a more widely understood and accepted concept, however, early adopters in other industries are beginning to envision upgrades in healthcare delivery that could result from the integration of blockchain technology—essentially, blockchain in telemedicine. Touted for its ability to decentralize control of protected health information (PHI) while maintaining trust, accountability, security, and transparency in its data transactions, blockchain can offer a reliable method for transporting and verifying sensitive information while providing clinical researchers with a wealth of anonymous data. Read more
Nearly 70 percent of physicians are willing to use telemedicine, according to a recent survey, but what the survey didn’t measure is what percentage are concerned about legal issues in telemedicine. Considering the broad variance in telemedicine regulations across the nation, the concern is certainly a valid one. Here are some areas in which newly-minted telemedicine physicians should tread carefully to avoid running afoul of the law. Read more
Two rising trends are on a collision course: telemedicine and healthcare data breaches. As increasing numbers of healthcare organizations implement or expand telemedicine programs, and as more patients rely on text messages, email, or video to communicate with providers, personal health information (PHI) is at more risk than ever before. Now considered worth 10 times more than credit card information, as reported by Reuters, PHI is an attractive target for unscrupulous hackers. Thus, it is imperative that healthcare organizations and vendors prioritize security and compliance measures and keep telemedicine HIPAA-compliant. Read more
Although telemedicine is a rapidly growing field, some physicians remain resistant—perhaps due to misconceptions about the technology. While we can’t help you overcome the inertia of trying something new, we can help you debunk the most common myths with the following telemedicine facts. Read more
When it comes to combining personal health with the convenience of mobile devices, what do smartphone users really want? A recent study suggests that people want to be fully engaged online, including accessing their health records and communicating with their healthcare providers—all from their phones and tablets. It’s a great idea in theory, but can everything actually fit into one application? Read more
Is a professional-level camera required for on-the-go telemedicine consults? The rise of healthcare using mobile devices—known as mhealth—is leading to questions about whether the images taken with smartphones can be trusted for accurate clinical diagnoses. Read more
Patients in rural areas and with limited transportation may welcome telemedicine, but what about the doctors?
It appears that physicians everywhere are also embracing this technology. A recent nationwide poll, conducted by QuantiaMD and American Well, reveals that 57 percent of primary care physicians are interested and willing to conduct telemedicine visits with their patients (1).
To better understand this response, let’s examine the context. As revealed by the survey, doctors are spending increasing time on non-reimbursable phone and email communications with patients. The average family doctor devotes nearly 4 hours per week on phone calls and emails, and each phone call alone costs roughly $20 of the physician’s time.
In this situation, it makes sense to replace non-reimbursable activities with billable telemedicine hours. Read more
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.
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