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ER Telemedicine Leads to Faster Treatments

A recent study from the University of Iowa shows that in rural emergency departments, patients who had ER telemedicine consults generally saw clinicians more quickly and had shorter lengths-of-stay at the emergency room before a hospital transfer than patients who did not have telemedicine consults. That 15-minute difference, said lead researcher Nicholas Mohr, MD, can be important for patients with certain serious diseases such as stroke, myocardial infarction, or severe trauma. Read more

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Telehealth for Autism Shows Promise

Raising a child with autism can be challenging but rewarding, say their parents, but telemedicine is beginning to show itself to be a valuable tool. Whether it’s being used for remote assessments to diagnose autism or remote in-home therapy, telehealth for autism is currently being studied—and the preliminary results look promising. Read more

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Aging Population Welcomes Telemedicine for Seniors

Last winter, Medicare expanded its telemedicine coverage to make telestroke, dialysis, and home healthcare more accessible for seniors starting in 2020. Now, a recent poll shows that almost 9 out of 10 adults age 40 and over feel they would be comfortable using telemedicine for seniors in their families or for themselves—as long as the quality of care and health information privacy are as good as what they would get from an in-person visit. Read more

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Telemedicine Counseling for Genetic Testing Can Help Cancer Patients

For cancer patients, genetic counseling has become a standard of care at academic medical centers, but community-based medical centers often lack access to such resources. A new study, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting this week, suggests that telemedicine counseling may help bridge that gap. Read more

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VA Eliminates Licensure Barrier to Interstate Telemedicine

As part of the new “Anywhere to Anywhere VA Health Care Initiative,” Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) providers will soon be able to provide telehealth services across state lines regardless of the state’s licensing rules. The goal is to create a national telemedicine network that can reach veterans in their homes or at locations outside VA hospitals. Effective June 11, the change is expected to increase access to care by making more clinicians available for appointments for patients in rural, remote, or medically underserved areas. Read more

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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

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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