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swyMed_mobile_stroke_unit: mHealth Technology makes teleStroke and ET3 programs possible

mHealth Technology Takes ET3 from Concept to Reality

The long-awaited ET3 program is finally here! After delays caused by the pandemic, the Emergency Triage, Treat, and Transport (ET3) program went into effect on January 1, 2021. To support this initiative, swyMed and Logitech are working together to provide the mHealth technology (mobile real-time audio-visual communications) that makes the ET3 program possible. Read more

EMT examining little girl's leg injury for telemedicine in-home visit

A New Normal? Telemedicine In-Home Visits May Include Primary Care

Integrating telemedicine into emergency medical services is nothing new, but the focus thus far has revolved around acute cases and specialties such as telestroke. However, in a recently released proof of concept, researchers questioned this trend and applied the model of telemedicine in-home visits to primary care services. This preliminary observatory study suggests that using telemedicine to bring primary care services into the patient’s home may be feasible, effective, and satisfactory for homebound seniors with chronic medical conditions. Read more

Paramedics prepping patient for transport and EMS telemedicine

Are Paramedics Ready for EMS Telemedicine?

As video communications infrastructures and telemedicine technology constantly improve, the opportunities to expand telemedicine into new fields are multiplying rapidly. One such area, mobile health (mHealth), refers to the application of telemedicine technologies in areas beyond the four walls of a hospital or clinic—in other words, medicine on-the-go. For instance, EMS telemedicine (Emergency Medical Services) integrates telemedicine into ambulances so that paramedics can contact a specialist at the hospital for an initial assessment, diagnosis, and treatment plan—even before arriving at the emergency department (ED). This capability offers the potential to save crucial minutes for patients like stroke victims, for whom the drug of choice—tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)—must be administered within a certain time frame to be effective and life-saving. Indeed, a recent meta-analysis of over 6,600 patients treated with tPA found a strong correlation between EMS telemedicine availability in the ambulance and decreased times from symptom onset to treatment. However, the technology can only be useful if the operator can wield it effectively; how do paramedics value and use mHealth? Read more

Cheered businessman standing with graph showing growth trend of telemedicine for coronavirus

Emergency Measures Spur Growth of Telemedicine for Coronavirus, but What Comes Afterward?

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 for Coronavirus: Drive-Through Testing

Telemedicine for Coronavirus: Next Window, Please

Telemedicine offers an ideal strategy to enable more health care providers to address more patients’ needs while minimizing exposure to infectious diseases such as the currently notorious coronavirus (COVID-19). As shown by the recent expansions for Medicare reimbursement for telemedicine, our Congress and President clearly recognize the potential benefits of utilizing telemedicine for coronavirus screening and other health care concerns. Even the New England Journal of Medicine came out a week ago with a strong statement of support for telemedicine’s benefits. Now, the question is how to deploy the technology quickly and in a way that will drive better outcomes for patients, providers and society as a whole. Read more

With telemedicine adoption, cowboy checks blood pressure at home

Telemedicine Adoption Surpasses Use of Other Digital Technologies

A recent survey by the American Medical Association has revealed that physicians’ use of digital health, particularly telemedicine adoption and remote patient monitoring, has grown since 2016. This rise can be attributed to physicians’ improving attitudes towards digital health, explained the researchers. The Digital Health Research study showed that telemedicine engagement among providers doubled—from 14% of physicians to 28% over the three-year period—and remote patient monitoring (RPM) usage jumped from 13% of physician participation in 2016 to 22% in 2019. Read more

RPM reimbursement codes clear the way for expanding RPM programs, such as glucose monitoring for diabetes patients

RPM Reimbursement Paves the Way for Expansion in 2020

With the ongoing shift in healthcare towards a value-based care model, the concept of remote patient monitoring (RPM) for chronically ill patients certainly grabbed attention throughout 2019. By introducing new reimbursement codes for RPM in late 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is clearly inviting the increased use of RPM, presumably made possible with telemedicine, in 2020. Some experts view 2019 as the trial run for RPM reimbursement; now that the CMS has officially endorsed RPM, albeit in limited capacities, 2020 is expected to see a significant rise in the adoption of RPM programs. However, current limitations in technology and software could curb growth, warn industry watchdogs. Read more

EMT first aid bag prior to emergency telemedicine program

Six Tips for Planning Your Emergency Telemedicine Program Smartly

Five years ago, the Houston Fire Department (HFD) developed the Emergency Telehealth and Navigation (ETHAN) program as a way to respond to every call by providing the appropriate level of health care rather than bringing everyone to the emergency department—without using up resources to transport non-emergency patients. Since its inception, the ETHAN project has picked up a few tips that could prove helpful if your organization is designing, or will design, an emergency telemedicine program. Read more

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, Part 1

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