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2020 State of Telemedicine Report cover by Doximity

New Report Deciphers Adoption of Telemedicine Trends

Since the beginning of the pandemic-driven rise in the adoption of telemedicine, data regarding the attitudes and uses of telemedicine have largely remained scattered. To bring order to the chaos, Doximity, a network for professional medical providers including physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, has reviewed recently published studies and conducted their own research. Now ready to present their findings, a comprehensive report was released earlier this month to examine how the rate of telemedicine adoption among healthcare providers and patients has evolved from pre-COVID 19 days. Read more

Possible Telemedicine CPT Codes Shutdown Looms

Telemedicine CPT Codes in Danger

We may still be in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that isn’t stopping policy makers from planning ahead to determine whether temporary telemedicine CPT codes should be a permanent part of the “new normal” that is expected to reign after the emergency situation dissipates. As mentioned previously, quick changes to legislation, especially those that reimburse telemedicine visits at the same value as in-office visits, made telemedicine a much more convenient and financially viable alternative to the traditional model of in-office visits—for both patients and providers. As we look ahead to 2021, however, debate surrounds the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)’ decision to drop a large majority of the recently-enacted billing codes, which may return the state of telemedicine almost to where it was before the pandemic began. 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

girl, using inhaler, embraces allergy telemedicine

Pediatric Allergy Telemedicine Welcomed by Patients and Families

Last year, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) formally endorsed the use of telemedicine for allergy and immunology care. Now, after examining pediatric allergy patients’ experiences with asthma or allergy telemedicine over a three-year period, a team of researchers has found that roughly two-thirds of the respondents were equally satisfied with the telemedicine appointment as compared to a traditional, in-office appointment; the remaining one-third felt even more satisfied with the telemedicine encounter than an in-office visit. 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

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

doctor reaching up to drawn spaceship for space telemedicine

Learning from Space Telemedicine

As you’ve probably heard lately, July 20, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of humans’ first moon landing via the Apollo 11. Since then, NASA and other space agencies have successfully launched many astronauts and brought them back home safely and in good health. But considering the limited space and resources onboard spacecraft and the International Space Station, how do astronauts handle medical issues? To address this question, NASA developed space telemedicine—one of the earliest adopters of the technology. Some of the key lessons learned from these experiences are proving useful in medical clinics here on terra firma, particularly in resource-constrained environments. Read more

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