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Telemedicine for Coronavirus: Drive-Through Testing

Telemedicine for Coronavirus: Next Window, Please

Telemedicine offers an ideal strategy to enable more health care providers to address more patients’ needs while minimizing exposure to infectious diseases such as the currently notorious coronavirus (COVID-19). As shown by the recent expansions for Medicare reimbursement for telemedicine, our Congress and President clearly recognize the potential benefits of utilizing telemedicine for coronavirus screening and other health care concerns. Even the New England Journal of Medicine came out a week ago with a strong statement of support for telemedicine’s benefits. Now, the question is how to deploy the technology quickly and in a way that will drive better outcomes for patients, providers and society as a whole. Read more

Handwashing complements telemedicine for coronavirus by reducing the spread of illness

Telemedicine for Coronavirus Cleared for Widespread Use

Telemedicine’s moment to shine has arrived. Amidst rising national concern regarding the spread of coronavirus COVID-19—on top of the annual influenza cycle—Congress has passed an emergency spending bill that expands Medicare reimbursement for telemedicine during a public health emergency by loosening restrictions on the permissible locations for patients during the consultation. Read more

With telemedicine adoption, cowboy checks blood pressure at home

Telemedicine Adoption Surpasses Use of Other Digital Technologies

A recent survey by the American Medical Association has revealed that physicians’ use of digital health, particularly telemedicine adoption and remote patient monitoring, has grown since 2016. This rise can be attributed to physicians’ improving attitudes towards digital health, explained the researchers. The Digital Health Research study showed that telemedicine engagement among providers doubled—from 14% of physicians to 28% over the three-year period—and remote patient monitoring (RPM) usage jumped from 13% of physician participation in 2016 to 22% in 2019. 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

Telemedicine Provider e-health button on keyboard

Telemedicine Provider Teladoc’s Bold Move

Teladoc has popped up in the news quite a bit lately as a telemedicine provider. Well-known for their strong presence in the direct-to-consumer (DTC) telemedicine market, they’ve been expanding their global reach lately by acquiring smaller DTC telemedicine companies such as Best Doctors, Advance Medical, French company MédecinDirect, and others. So far, they’ve focused on accessing patients either directly or through business partnerships. Now, however, in a move aimed at medical facilities, Teledoc has announced its purchase of telemedicine vendor InTouch Health. Read more

Telehealth for astronauts aboard the International Space Station over the planet Earth. Elements of this image furnished by NASA

Telehealth for Astronauts: Unearthing Deadly Risks

When we think of telemedicine sessions, most of us probably picture consultations that take no longer than a typical appointment; once a treatment plan is agreed upon, only brief follow-up telemedicine visits remain. But what if the patient isn’t on earth? As reported by Forbes, in the longest telemedicine consultation on record, a U.S. astronaut has been successfully treated for a potentially fatal condition while living on the International Space Station (ISS). Read more

Telemedicine services or urgent care services? Injured girl receiving first aid

How Do Telemedicine Services Affect the Primary Care Model?

Recent surveys from the Kaiser Family Foundation have shown that roughly one in four American adults have not chosen a regular doctor that they see for general ailments. For adults under age 30, that ratio jumps to nearly half. For a health care system originally built on primary care-centered medicine—which has proven to reduce health care costs by one-third—this is unsettling news indeed. However, evolving technologies such as telemedicine services are re-shaping the health care landscape, forcing existing generalists to adapt to the new paradigm for survival. Read more

Doctor holding smartphone for electronic prescription per telemedicine prescribing laws

Telemedicine Prescribing Laws Inch Forward

More than a decade after the passage of the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008, the US Drug Enforcement Agency is finally taking steps to fulfill a task assigned by the legislation: the creation of a special registration process for telemedicine prescribing laws by which healthcare providers can apply for authorization to prescribe controlled substances to new patients they have never met in the office, instead examining them only via the “practice of telemedicine.” This long-overdue measure has been welcomed by organizations including the American Telemedicine Association and the Center for Telehealth & e-Health Law, who have long been lobbying the DEA to take action. 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

Child with book for telehealth certification

Avera eCare to Develop New Telehealth Certification Program

In a nascent, growing field yet to standardize one generally-accepted standard for accreditation or certification, another player is entering the field. Avera eCare, one of the country’s largest telehealth networks, is developing a national telehealth certification program with a $4.3 million grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The program will allow healthcare providers to earn either a general certificate in telehealth as a delivery model or a specialty certificate in telemental health. Read more