Posts

empty emergency room waiting for telemedicine adoption

Emergency Telemedicine Adoption Put on Hold

No matter how much a healthcare facility wants or needs telemedicine, few things can stop telemedicine adoption faster than contrary regulations or laws. This recently proved true in Mississippi, which has just 64.4 primary care physicians per 100,000 residents—far less than the national median of 90.8. To add insult to injury, some rural hospitals have had to close emergency rooms or shut down entirely due to financial difficulties. This setting may look perfect for the implementation of telemedicine as a remedy, but existing state regulations have quickly nixed this potential solution. Read more

Doctor at desk talking to patient with telemedicine solutions

Will Telemedicine Solutions Ease Physician Shortage?

For the next 20 years, three million baby boomers will reach retirement—each year, according to Advisory Board. Today, one in five people already lives in an area with a shortage of primary care physicians, and some hospitals are already experiencing a shortage of specialists; what will happen when we keep adding more patients than doctors to the healthcare system? Many experts, such as the Association of American Medical Colleges, predict that the shortage will only worsen. In a proactive effort to alleviate the problem and increase patients’ access to physicians, some hospitals and health systems have begun encouraging their patients to use telemedicine solutions instead of traveling to the doctor’s office, thus enabling physicians to see more patients more efficiently. Read more

work injury being treated via telemedicine for workers' compensation

Telemedicine for Workers’ Compensation Is a Win

Buoyed by convenience, along with time and cost savings, employers and workers’ compensation insurers have begun eagerly offering telemedicine as an alternative to visiting an urgent care center. Originally, telemedicine for workers’ compensation was billed as a solution for employees in rural areas, where access to health clinics is limited. However, the program has been so well received that insurers have begun offering telemedicine in urban areas as well. Additionally, healthcare providers are finding that telemedicine is useful for more than just treating the initial injury on-site; the platform works well for follow-up appointments and post-op visits too. Read more

CT scan stroke telestroke

swyMed and Life Image Team Up to Expand Telestroke Offering

Today, swyMed and Life Image, the world’s largest global network for sharing clinical and imaging data that is powered by industry leading interoperability standards, announced a strategic partnership to enhance telestroke capabilities. This collaboration will integrate relevant clinical and imaging data into the telemedicine encounter, thus improving physicians’ ability to collaborate and coordinate patient care. In addition, since Life Image already supports more than 140 stroke centers across the U.S., the partnership will strengthen swyMed’s ability to connect with these neurologists and primary stroke centers. 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

Curious boy hearing secret

DOT Telemedicine Backpack: Secrets Revealed

If you’ve ever wondered just how swyMed’s DOT Telemedicine Backpack can maintain a strong, reliable internet connection in low-bandwidth environments, you’re not alone—it’s a question that has intrigued many curious minds. It does carry redundant dual-modem connections and antennas, but the secret ingredient is none other than the Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect™ software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) edge platform. As explained in a recent Network World article, this technology improves the performance of existing wireless network communications and is able to connect even when it’s far from wireless towers. Read more

Butterfly iQ photo

New Handheld Telemedicine Ultrasound Will Revolutionize Mobile Healthcare

As telemedicine brings health care beyond hospital walls, medical devices are quickly following—like the portable ultrasound. Unlike traditional ultrasound machines or even unwieldy 10-pound laptop ultrasounds, the newest handheld telemedicine ultrasound to hit the market—the Butterfly iQ—fits easily in a doctor’s pocket, carries an affordable price tag, and promises to help EMTs and physicians diagnose patients in the field and en route to the hospital. Some experts are even hailing this development as the equivalent of the introduction of smartphones or tablets in the computing world, saying that we’re only beginning to see the implications of the mobile ultrasound. Read more

doctor using tablet for telemedicine

Whose Telemedicine Usage Is Highest?

Two American Medical Association (AMA) researchers recently evaluated the data from the 2016 Physician Practice Benchmark Survey of AMA in order to estimate telemedicine usage among physicians. The AMA’s survey was the first national survey to examine physicians’ telemedicine utilization rates. Upon examining telemedicine use in patient interactions and in consultations with other health care professionals, the researchers found that particular specialties have higher rates of telemedicine utilization than others, and a larger practice size correlated with a higher likelihood to engage in telemedicine. Read more

cowboy boots with scrubs

Rural Telemedicine Revives Local Hospitals

For smaller, rural hospitals, survival has become the name of the game—and not just for their patients. Keeping a physician on hand at all times in the Emergency Department (ED) is costly but necessary; unfortunately, this often results in rising salary costs and harried staff. However, hospitals participating in a hub-and-spoke rural telemedicine network are finding that rather than paying a physician to stay whether or not an emergency occurs, having instant access to physicians at a larger health system instead improves care management in the local ED and preserves limited resources—as well as boost staff morale and make it easier to attract new talent. Read more

handing over stacks of cash

Did Medicare Overpay for Telemedicine Reimbursement?

Amidst concerns that current levels of telemedicine reimbursement are insufficient to support the demand for telemedicine visits, a 2018 report by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) reveals that a significant portion of the Medicare telemedicine payments that have occurred were actually improper; they never should have been approved in the first place. The overpayments amounted to roughly $3.7 million—a sizable chunk of the total $13.8 million in payments that Medicare made in 2014 and 2015. The reasons for the disallowed claims were numerous and varied. Read more