Twelve months ago, few, if any, could have predicted that the public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic would linger on into a new presidential administration. Dissatisfied by the lackluster pandemic relief bill passed by Congress and signed by President Trump just before Christmas, which failed to extend the pandemic’s eased stance on telemedicine regulations, industry stakeholders are now looking to President-elect Biden and the 117th Congress to sanction more permanent measures in order to preserve the sudden rise in telemedicine usage during the pandemic. Read more
The results are in: 80 percent of US states have taken action to improve telemedicine coverage or reimbursement over the last two years, according to the American Telemedicine Association’s latest survey of state laws and policies. However, each state is working alone in implementing these changes, forcing physicians who practice in more than one state to juggle confusing guidelines. Read more
Two American Medical Association (AMA) researchers recently evaluated the data from the 2016 Physician Practice Benchmark Survey of AMA in order to estimate telemedicine usage among physicians. The AMA’s survey was the first national survey to examine physicians’ telemedicine utilization rates. Upon examining telemedicine use in patient interactions and in consultations with other health care professionals, the researchers found that particular specialties have higher rates of telemedicine utilization than others, and a larger practice size correlated with a higher likelihood to engage in telemedicine. Read more
With telemedicine as a rapidly growing industry, how can patients tell if a healthcare system’s telemedicine program is high quality? The ClearHealth Quality Institute (CHQI), an independent health care accrediting body, has created a telemedicine/telehealth accreditation program—the only one in the US that’s supported by the American Telemedicine Association (ATA). And now, the University of California San Diego Health and the Texas-based CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Health System are the first two health systems in the nation to have earned Telemedicine Accreditation. Read more
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
This year’s American Telemedicine Association conference just wrapped up this week in Orlando. The theme, Telehealth 2.0, emphasized that when it’s done right, telehealth can benefit patients and providers, and they both prefer it. Throughout the numerous panels and talks, the tremendous growth of the industry showcased innovation, technology, and workable solutions. In case you missed it, here are the top six takeaways that we learned from the conference. Read more
Last week, the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) issued its yearly reports of telemedicine coverage, reimbursement, and standards across the country. In general, telemedicine has consistently become an accepted tool by patients, providers, and third-party payers in all states, with improved coverage and reimbursement in several states. Some state legislatures are removing restrictive requirements for physician practice standards, even allowing them to practice telemedicine across state lines. Read more
For the first time, official guidelines have been published for the use of telemedicine in potential stroke cases. The American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association (ASA) recently released a joint scientific statement describing quality measures and outcomes for telestroke. The document was prepared in response to the rapid growth of telestroke over the past decade. Now, hospitals can quantitatively measure their telestroke programs against these standards in order to ensure they are providing high quality care. Read more
Come join us at the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) Fall Forum! This yearly event focuses on the latest updates in the telehealth industry, bringing together well-known experts to help you understand how the changes affect you and your organization and how you can adapt—or even stay ahead of the game. Read more
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/.
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