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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

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Top Tips to Avoid Legal Issues in Telemedicine

Nearly 70 percent of physicians are willing to use telemedicine, according to a recent survey, but what the survey didn’t measure is what percentage are concerned about legal issues in telemedicine. Considering the broad variance in telemedicine regulations across the nation, the concern is certainly a valid one. Here are some areas in which newly-minted telemedicine physicians should tread carefully to avoid running afoul of the law. Read more

HIPAA requirements document with hand holding magnifying glass - to avoid HIPAA violations

Avoid These Common HIPAA Violations

More than twenty years since its inception, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has made significant strides in keeping patients’ healthcare information private. However, even now, HIPAA violations still occur on a regular basis—often as a result of unintentional actions, leading to fines that can range from $100 to $1.5 million. In addition, providers may be at risk for sanctions or even loss of license. Here, in no particular order, are the 10 most common reasons for HIPAA violation citations; it’s worth reviewing these with your staff periodically to remind them to be careful with discussions, files, and devices. Read more

doctor appointment written on calendar

Can Telemedicine Visits Replace In-Person Doctor Appointments?

Most people would agree that a strong doctor-patient relationship is crucial to helping the patient maintain optimal health. Traditionally, this relationship has been cultivated during in-person office visits. With the advent of telemedicine, however, debate has centered on whether telemedicine visits contain enough doctor-patient interaction to build a trusting relationship and provide enough data for the doctor to make an accurate diagnosis. Most recently, the American College of Physicians (ACP) clarified their position on the issue: First-time visits that are conducted via telemedicine must include a live audio-visual component. Read more

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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

5G wireless network antenna clipart

For Telemedicine, 5G Networks Hold Promise

The recent speculation over whether the U.S. federal government might build a 5G network brings up an intriguing question: Does telemedicine need 5G networks? At first glance, the answer may appear to be a resounding “Yes” because most telemedicine systems require high-bandwidth networks in order to function reliably. However, a closer look at the current market suggests that a more cautious approach may be warranted. When it comes to telemedicine, 5G may not be a panacea after all—at least not today. Read more

Preseasonal photos of gis in grymastics

Prison Telemedicine Provides Relief to NYC

At New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex, inmates typically endure hours of onerous travel and waiting just to spend five minutes with a doctor. With the recent introduction of prison telemedicine, the entire experience has transformed; shackles, holding pens, and hurried in-person visits have been replaced by local virtual visits that are long enough for patients to voice their concerns. The result is a win-win situation: Patients are assured of confidentiality while they receive the care they want and need, all from the relative comfort of the prison, while the prison saves untold dollars from eliminating the need for secure transport. 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

swyMed case, open

swyMed Featured by TechTarget at ATA 2016

TechTarget recently highlighted swyMed as one of the most interesting technologies at ATA 2016, the annual conference and trade show of the American Telemedicine Association. Considering that 279 exhibitors competed for the attention of 6,000 visitors, we’re pleased to have made an impression. Read more

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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