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"Telemedicine kiosk here" sign

Telemedicine Kiosks Bring Doctor Consults to Workplaces and Retail Locations

For common ailments—such as earaches, rashes, or sprains—is a visit to the doctor really necessary? Thanks to telemedicine kiosks, the answer may soon be a resounding “No.”

In recent months, telemedicine kiosks have begun appearing across the country in pilot programs. These self-contained booths are bringing doctor consults into retail pharmacies, workplaces, and even city halls, making it easier and cheaper for individuals to receive health care for non-emergency needs, especially during nights and weekends. Read more

Mobile images from professional cameras and smartphones

Are Mobile Images Good Enough for Telemedicine Consults?

Is a professional-level camera required for on-the-go telemedicine consults? The rise of healthcare using mobile devices—known as mhealth—is leading to questions about whether the images taken with smartphones can be trusted for accurate clinical diagnoses. Read more

Telemed doctor using tablet

Who Wants to Be a Telemed Doctor?

Patients in rural areas and with limited transportation may welcome telemedicine, but what about the doctors?

It appears that physicians everywhere are also embracing this technology. A recent nationwide poll, conducted by QuantiaMD and American Well, reveals that 57 percent of primary care physicians are interested and willing to conduct telemedicine visits with their patients (1).

To better understand this response, let’s examine the context. As revealed by the survey, doctors are spending increasing time on non-reimbursable phone and email communications with patients. The average family doctor devotes nearly 4 hours per week on phone calls and emails, and each phone call alone costs roughly $20 of the physician’s time.

In this situation, it makes sense to replace non-reimbursable activities with billable telemedicine hours. Read more

Schoolboy with sore throat

Telemedicine in Schools Makes It Harder to Play Hooky

With the rapid growth of telemedicine, missing school to see the doctor may soon be unheard of.

Thanks to a grant, Burke County Public Schools will implement Health-e-Schools program this fall. This initiative, offered by North Carolina’s Center for Rural Health Innovation, is being funded by a $701,207 grant from the Duke Endowment Grant Project.

The grant was earmarked for rural areas with less access to healthcare than urban regions. By introducing telemedicine in schools, the program will make it easier and faster for students to receive care. The goal of the initiative is to extend the reach of primary care physicians, rather than replace them. Read more

swyMed Goes the Distance for Mobile Stroke Units

We’ve all heard that “Time is Money,” but what about “Time is Brain”? When it comes to treating strokes, we already know that every minute really can make a difference in recovery. In this high-pressure environment, the health care industry eagerly embraces any proven innovation that can save crucial seconds in delivering treatment.

That’s where mobile stroke units come in. Recently named as the leader among the Top 10 Medical Innovations for 2015 by the Cleveland Clinic, mobile stroke ambulances are equipped with telemedicine units so stroke treatment can begin en route to the hospital.

Sounds great, but what’s the catch? Mobile stroke care only works if the technology works. Read more

Laptop using swyMed

7 Features for Telemedicine Software That You Can’t Live Without

When you’re faced with a number of telemedicine products, how do you separate the wheat from the chaff?

You could try consulting the government; according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the defining feature of telemedicine is real-time video communication. This means that a doctor talking on any video conferencing software can be considered “telemedicine.” Unfortunately, this standard is too vague to offer useful guidance in choosing the best telemedicine solution for your healthcare organization. Read more

reimbursement for telemedicine

Medicare Falls Behind in Reimbursement for Telemedicine

You might think that the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and the resulting opportunities for telemedicine would have led to widespread telemedicine usage to increase access to healthcare while reducing costs, but the reality is that reimbursement from government agencies—such as Medicare—has fallen far behind the rhetoric. And when good intentions aren’t backed up with adequate funding, progress can become slower than molasses.

Telemedicine has certainly grown steadily, but the impact has been felt more significantly among those with private insurance that provides reimbursement for telemedicine visits. Among Medicare beneficiaries, less than 1% have coverage for telemedicine (1). And of those who are fortunate enough to enjoy such coverage, particularly those in rural areas, Medicare often requires the beneficiary to already be at a clinic. So much for making healthcare more convenient. Read more

5 Ways (and why) to Help HIT and Telemedicine Adoption

A few articles came out this week that I that I feel underscore the need for providers – both large hospital systems and private practices – need to get off their collective derrières and start implementing HIT and Telemedicine.

Thankfully, we are going to provide them valuable advice to help make this happen later in this piece. However, let’s start with a brief discussion of some of this week’s materials.

In a piece Read more

Interstate Licensure Compact Goes Live

interstate licensure map

Blue indicates states where the compact is enacted, orange indicates states where it has been introduced. Map from licenseportability.org, sponsored by The Federation of State Medical Boards.

Slightly old news, but on May 19th (only two weeks after the American Telemedicine Association’s Annual Meeting and Trade Show), enough states signed the Interstate Licensure Compact into law to trigger forming the Interstate Licensure Compact Commission. Each state will appoint two commissioners who will help oversee and administer the compact.

This is a highly important event, as it marks the beginnings of making physician licenses either more portable (license portability) or much easier to acquire in additional states once acquired the first time–a key stumbling block in telemedicine that looks to provide aid to rural areas that are often closer to medical service areas in a bordering state. It’s also been a key issue in overcoming the increasing physician shortage in general.

The seventh, and triggering state, was Alabama, followed almost immediately by Minnesota on the same day. On May 27th, Nevada followed suit, making the number of participation states nine. The other states are Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming–notably rural states that would benefit immensely by the Compact’s success.

The commission is expected to meet later this year. For more information on the Instate Medical Licensure Compact, please visit http://licenseportability.org/.

swyMed & Kubi on EMR & HIPAA

There was a nice little write-up by John Lynn at the EMR & HIPAA site about Revolve Robotics‘ Kubi robot. Although we weren’t the focus of the article, there was a nice paragraph about needing swyMed for Kubi’s healthcare applications due to being HIPAA compliant while still having Kubi controls baked in.

Please click here to read the entire article.