Posts

An elderly amputee contemplates his healthcare options without telemedicine

Rural Telemedicine Broadband Service Too Spotty

For patients in rural areas, telemedicine can make a big difference by increasing access to health care and specialists—but only when the region’s high-speed Internet access works. Unlike swyMed, most telemedicine platforms need minimum connection speeds of 25 megabits per second for download and 3 megabits per second for upload. Read more

Doctor at night in hospital

Telenocturnists Ease Burdens for All

Previously, patients admitted in the middle of the night have had a higher mortality rate, according to the American Medical Association. Soon, however, this statistic may be a thing of the past; telenocturnists have begun volunteering for the less-desired weekend and nighttime shifts, and they’re hoping to lessen the disparity in outcomes while reducing the financial burden on hospitals. Read more

A patient undergoes dialysis treatment

Tele-Nephrology Brings Dialysis to Rural Areas

A pilot program in Kentucky has shown that tele-nephrology can deliver dialysis treatments and other needed care effectively in rural areas. Doctors at the University of Cincinnati teamed up with Dialysis Clinics Inc. to bring dialysis to Meadowview Regional Medical Center in Maysville, Kentucky, to treat patients who needed medical, surgical, or critical care. Two-thirds of the patients were treated successfully and discharged. Now, the hospital provides around-the-clock care to patients with kidney and electrolyte disorders. Read more

Depressed elderly woman at home

Telemedicine Offers Hope to Depression Sufferers

A recent study opens new avenues for individuals with depression: Therapy conducted with video medicine can work just as well as in-person visits. This means that patients who have limited mobility, who live in remote areas, or who do not seek treatment openly due to stigmas may soon be able to access psychotherapy treatments privately from their homes or local medical clinics. Read more

Stethoscope and gavel

Telemedicine Legislation Heartily Embraced by Senate

A telemedicine initiative from New Mexico may soon become a nationwide program. Earlier this week, the Senate unanimously approved the Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes (ECHO) Act, which champions the system developed five years ago at the University of New Mexico (UNM) to increase access to specialists in rural, underserved regions. Read more

Road sign announcing the next exit, psychiatry

Telepsychiatry Relieves Shortage in Idaho

Thanks to an ongoing shortage of psychiatrists in Idaho, patients are often unable to seek help for mental or behavioral health issues until the condition has become severe enough to require hospitalization. In an effort to provide relief, Saint Alphonsus Health System has partnered with the University of Washington to create a telepsychiatry program, bringing psychiatric residents virtually to rural Idaho and Oregon. 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

road in snowy mountains

USDA Grants $5 Mil to Telemedicine and Distance Learning Programs

This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it would provide $4.7 million through its Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) program to 18 projects spread across 16 states. The overall goal is to bring more medical expertise to underserved rural areas through improved access to health care, and expanded substance misuse treatment. In addition, the funding will offer advanced educational opportunities to local businesses, adults, and teens to help create jobs and boost economic development in rural regions. Read more

Microcephaly comparison

Telemedicine Brings Healthcare to Zika Victims

Amidst all the worries of the Zika epidemic affecting babies in Brazil, here’s a bit of encouraging news. Dr. Sandra Mattos, a pediatric cardiologist, is using telemedicine to increase those infants’ access to care. Her efforts have overcome poor infrastructure, especially in remote areas, that typically prevent families from receiving needed health care. 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/.