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3-direction Street Signs for telemedicine benefits for employees

Navigating Telemedicine Benefits for Employees, Part 2

Last week, after observing that the vast majority of large employers either offer or plan to offer telemedicine benefits for employees, we considered the logistics of how a company might choose to launch such a program. Three methods present viable options: adding telemedicine as a new feature of a group health plan, incorporating telemedicine as part of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), or creating a stand-alone telemedicine benefit. In all three cases, compliance with legal and regulatory requirements is non-negotiable; who bears the brunt of the responsibility depends on the strategy selected. In last week’s blog post, we explored the pros and cons of appending telemedicine benefits to a group health plan. Today, we’ll consider the other two approaches. Read more

3-direction Street Signs for telemedicine benefits for employees

Navigating Telemedicine Benefits for Employees

According to a survey conducted by the National Business Group on Health, 96 percent of large employers are either making or planning to make telemedicine available to their employees. Considering the time and cost savings for patients, insurance companies, and employers, this sounds like it could be a panacea. However, the logistics of implementing telemedicine benefits for employees are far from simple. An employer, whether insured or self-funded, who wants to provide telemedicine services can do so in one of three ways: integrate telemedicine as part of a group health plan, bundle telemedicine services as part of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), or offer telemedicine services separately as a stand-alone benefit. Each method carries varying degrees of compliance issues with state and federal laws such as ERISA. Read more

hearing aid in woman's ear

Telehealth Audiology Opens a Whole New World

When we think about the process of getting hearing aids, many people envision multiple, time-consuming visits to an audiologist’s office. However, over half of U.S. counties have little or no access to audiologists, especially in rural areas. As Baby Boomers age and demand for audiology services rises, there aren’t enough new audiologists to address the need; the shortage is about to get worse. To combat this problem, some organizations, such as Your Hearing Network, are experimenting with telehealth audiology programs that will allow patients to have hearing tests and be fitted for hearing aids at home or at a local primary care doctor’s office. Read more

Woman with telerehabilitation instructions from tablet

Telerehabilitation Brings Relief to Cancer Patients

A new study published in JAMA Oncology suggests that for patients with late-stage cancer, telerehabilitation at home—telemedicine with physical therapy-directed pain management—can make a bigger difference than pain medications when it comes to function, pain, and inpatient care. Patients with advanced-stage cancer often experience decreased function, increased pain, and a higher length of hospital stay and use of post-acute care facilities, which altogether can lead to loss of independence. The Collaborative Care to Preserve Performance in Cancer (COPE) study explored whether collaborative telerehabilitation with or without pharmacological pain management could improve these quality-of-life indicators for such patients. Read more

logo TechRadar for best telemedicine companies article

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

young man sleeping with CPAP machine

Sleep Telemedicine Promises to Ease Shortage—But Only If It’s Reimbursed

As telemedicine has evolved over the years, sleep medicine has advanced accordingly to incorporate the growing technologies into the field. As described by Barry Fields, MD, MSEd, an assistant professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and a sleep physician at the Atlanta VA Medical Center in a recent interview with Pulmonology Consultant, sleep telemedicine first began as telephone calls between the patient and provider. Now, anyone with a smartphone and the appropriate app can participate in synchronous (real-time) sleep telemedicine. Read more

"equal pay" street signs

Telemedicine Payment Parity Fails in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania remains one of the few states that still lacks a dedicated Telemedicine Act. In an attempt to address both telemedicine payment parity and professional regulation in one Act, Pennsylvania Senate Bill 780—including its clause on coverage and reimbursement for its use—was unanimously approved last June by two Pennsylvania Senate committees, the full Senate, and the House Professional Licensure Committee. However, it failed to pass in the House of Representatives in October. Read more

stressed woman at table with help sign

College Telepsychiatry Finally Catching Up—Slowly

The majority of American college students feel overwhelmed, depressed, and/or anxious, according to the latest American College Health Association survey. Unfortunately, many schools lack easy access to needed mental health care—if they have any at all. And this doesn’t even take into account the students’ hesitation to seek help due to the stigma often associated with mental illnesses. With the growth of telemedicine, telepsychiatry and telemental health present a viable solution that could overcome many of these challenges. Read more

woman in bed with cold

Walmart Offers Free Telemedicine for Consumers

The next time you head to Walmart, you may pick up more than just your groceries and cold medicine—you might also take home a voucher for a no-cost telemedicine consultation with Doctor On Demand, a direct-to-consumer virtual care provider. A new three-way partnership between Walmart, Doctor On Demand, and RB, a leading consumer health and hygiene company, is seeking to provide the public with unprecedented access to physicians from their digital devices during this cold and flu season through telemedicine for consumers. Read more

facial recognition of man

The Future of Telemedicine for Home Health Care: Tracking Vital Signs with a Camera

A key component of Remote Patient Monitoring and its successor, Remote Patient Evaluation, is measuring the patient’s vital signs. Traditionally, this has been accomplished through the use of medical devices, however unreliable or complicated, that sometimes must be operated by healthcare providers dispatched to the patient’s home. Both the devices and home visits can be expensive, thus increasing the program’s bottom-line. So if the purpose of using telemedicine for home health care is to raise patient convenience while reducing costs, how can we measure a home health patient’s vital signs accurately, easily, and cost-effectively? Read more