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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

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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

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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prison telemedicine, the entire experience has transformed; shackles, holding pens, and hurried in-person visits have been replaced by local virtual visits that are long enough for patients to voice their concerns.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

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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

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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

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Telemedicine Use Rising Rapidly among Medicare Beneficiaries

In one of the first published studies to measure exactly how often telemedicine is utilized, Harvard Medical School researchers discovered that telemedicine use among Medicare patients grew roughly 28 percent each year between 2004 and 2013. This rise is even more impressive in light of Medicare’s restrictive reimbursement policy: Medicare only pays for telemedicine visits if the patient lives in a rural area and travels to a clinic for the telemedicine visit. Read more

Close-up of an individual testing blood glucose levels traditionally

Using Telemedicine for Diabetes Care Improves Outcomes

A recent article offers good news for diabetics: When patient information is monitored with telemedicine, outcomes improve. By digitizing data, such as blood glucose levels, caloric intake, weight, and exercise patterns, patients’ data can be transmitted to health professionals for analysis. Read more

Senior using a walker

Telemedicine for MS Brings Therapy Into the Home

Telemedicine is quickly becoming a game-changer for people living with multiple sclerosis (MS). The physical disability caused by MS makes it difficult for patients to visit their doctors and physical therapists, but a recent study found that participating in telerehabilitation programs can improve postural control and balance. For these patients, telemedicine for MS can mean the difference between a devastating fall and regaining balance. Read more