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Avoid These Telemedicine Pitfalls

At the recent American Telemedicine Association’s annual conference in Chicago, healthcare providers were offered insight into five key measures that are vital to a successful telemedicine program, as described by Afua Branoah Banful, MD, an expert in growth strategies focused on hospitals and health systems. Ignoring any of these can cause an organization to stumble into telemedicine pitfalls that can doom a telemedicine program from the start. Read more

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Home Telepsychiatry Reduces Anxiety, Saves Lives

Telemedicine has often been touted as a solution for remote regions with physician shortages, but one area of medicine is finding that telemedicine brings unexpected benefits, even if the patient lives right around the corner. Home telepsychiatry brings psychotherapy to the patient and meets the patient’s needs where he/she is. In the process, the physician can gain invaluable insight into the patient’s living situation—insight that might otherwise take weeks to uncover during in-office therapy sessions. For instance, a patient once complained of a cluttered home; she turned out to be a hoarder. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has discovered especially intriguing results from using home telepsychiatry. Read more

man with liver pain

Telehepatology Can Bring Cancer Patients Home

Home-based care—the most traditional type of health care—is making a comeback, especially for cancer patients. This is even more true for patients with hematologic malignancies, for whom there is no clear-cut distinction between the curative and end-of-life phases of disease. In an effort to keep patients comfortable and out of medical facilities, several hospitals have initiated Hospital at Home programs to provide a combination of acute, palliative, and hospice care needs. Some industry experts speculate that telehepatology may even join the mix. Read more

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ATA Endorses First Telemedicine Accreditation Program

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) has announced its first endorsement for a telemedicine accreditation program: the new Telemedicine Accreditation Program (TAP), developed by the ClearHealth Quality Institute (CHQI). Achieving CHQI accreditation will indicate that the organization follows certain clinical guidelines for telemedicine to ensure quality and safety and provide consumers with assurance of quality from an independent accrediting body. Read more

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Prenatal Telemedicine Simplifies Care

Pregnancy isn’t an illness, but prenatal care in the U.S. typically involves 12 to 14 appointments during the 40-week term. Hopefully, these visits simply confirm that the mother and fetus are healthy. For low-risk expectant mothers, however, some of these appointments may be unnecessary, researchers say; the costs and inconvenience incurred—such as lost wages or child care—are not insignificant. At Mayo Clinic, a prenatal telemedicine program is easing the burden on low-risk mothers-to-be and their obstetric providers. Read more

Tired man with calculator

Diabetes Management and Telemedicine at Home

Telemedicine holds untold potential for chronic disease management, but one of the largest areas of impact will likely be for diabetes management. According to the U.S. Pharmacopeia Medication Errors Reporting Program, roughly half of all drug errors involve insulin. Furthermore, studies reveal that more than 97% of insulin overdoses occur at home, and only 60% of patients with type 2 diabetes follow their prescribed medication regimen—many fearing an overdosage. These mishaps can lead to adverse drug events, hospitalizations, and staggering costs, all of which could be reduced by using the feedback mechanism made possible by using telemedicine at home. Read more

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“Smart Socks” Merge Physical Therapy and Telemedicine

At first glance, the concept of physical therapy may not appear to lend itself well to telemedicine due to the physical nature of the specialty, but therapists and patients are finding that physical therapy and telemedicine work surprisingly well in certain situations—especially considering the convenience and low cost to patients. Now, a pair of “smart socks” may revolutionize telemedicine visits with physiotherapists and other such specialists. Read more

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Telepsychiatry Program Combats School Violence

In the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School and Aurora, Colorado, theater shooting, a Texas telepsychiatry program was launched to help schoolchildren and teens deal with potential mental health issues that could lead to later violence or suicide. School violence may get all the attention, but suicide is the second most common cause of death among American teenagers. Both situations often stem from untreated mental or behavioral health issues among children and teenagers. In the years since those shootings, at-risk students at these Texas schools have received the psychiatric care they need and, in some cases, have even been removed from the school setting amidst safety concerns. Read more

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Enterprise Telemedicine Programs Raise the Bar

The results are in: The REACH Health 2018 U.S. Telemedicine Industry Benchmark survey has been released, and its findings are illuminating. Despite the obstacles presented by lack of reimbursement, parity, and electronic medical record (EMR) integration, telemedicine has been growing by leaps and bounds, especially as enterprise telemedicine programs rather than departmental endeavors as they originally began. And this enterprise-based strategy has been paying off—big time. Read more

ICU patient and monitor

ICU Telemedicine Hub Reduces Mortality by 73 Percent

The Mayo Clinic—already a world-renowned medical facility—has boosted its level of patient care another notch by building a central telemedicine hub that monitors several Intensive Care Units at once. Research-heavy Mayo Clinic has been developing real-world solutions designed to be implemented in various healthcare settings nationwide, and this innovative ICU hub represents a major step forward by allowing physicians and patients to converse in real time via video conferencing. Read more