Diagnosis of addiction with syringe and stethoscope

Treatment Providers Debate the Use of Telemedicine for Addiction

Can telemedicine be used to treat drug addiction?

This past January, the Addiction Industry Executive Summit held their annual meeting. Among the topics was telemedicine addiction—treating addiction remotely. Telemedicine is already commonly used to treat illnesses such as pink eye and bronchitis, but whether it should be used for addiction recovery has been debated heavily. Read more

Abdominal pain can be a symptom of hepatitis C

Rural Telemedicine Levels the Playing Field for Hepatitis C Patients

According to a new study in the American Journal of Medicine, rural patients diagnosed with the Hepatitis C virus were more likely to receive treatment if their primary care physicians (PCPs) engaged in telemedicine consults with infectious disease specialists. The researchers found that patients with physicians who participated in the VA-ECHO telemedicine program showed a 21.4% treatment rate, compared with 2.5% among patients with a PCP who did not take part in VA-ECHO. Read more

Report Card: Most Improved A+

ATA’s Annual Reports Reveal Growth in Telemedicine Adoption

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

Girl feeling ill in classroom

School Telemedicine Earns Grade ‘A’

Traditionally, when a student presents with wheezing in the chest, suggesting an asthma attack, the school nurse must call an ambulance to transport the child to the emergency room. Now, with school telemedicine and the parent’s permission, a school nurse can initiate a video call with an emergency room pediatrician; with the aid of a digital stethoscope, the doctor can listen to the student’s lungs remotely, diagnose the ailment, and provide a treatment plan for the nurse to follow. Within minutes, the student returns to class. Read more

An elderly amputee contemplates his healthcare options without telemedicine

Rural Telemedicine Broadband Service Too Spotty

For patients in rural areas, telemedicine can make a big difference by increasing access to health care and specialists—but only when the region’s high-speed Internet access works. Unlike swyMed, most telemedicine platforms need minimum connection speeds of 25 megabits per second for download and 3 megabits per second for upload. Read more

New Year, New President: What Is the Future of Telemedicine?

Amidst the uncertainty that typically follows a transition in presidents and their administrations, the telemedicine industry received rousing support this week. During his confirmation hearing, Congressman Tom Price, President Trump’s pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services, revealed his high regard for telemedicine and his belief that telemedicine is a critical aspect of health care. In addition, his priorities of universal access to care and cost-effective care suggest that strategies that meet both criteria—such as telemedicine—will be favored. Thus, it seems certain that the future of telemedicine looks bright. Read more

ICU

Tele-ICU Programs Pay for Themselves

Some new research shows that when it comes to intensive care units (ICUs), investing in telemedicine pays significant dividends: Combining a tele-ICU program with centralized bed management can increase case volume by roughly 40 percent and raise contribution margins by over $52 million. The differences were attributed to shorter lengths of stay, a higher ratio of case revenue to direct costs, and higher case volume. Read more

Stethoscope and gavel

Telemedicine Legislation Heartily Embraced by Senate

A telemedicine initiative from New Mexico may soon become a nationwide program. Earlier this week, the Senate unanimously approved the Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes (ECHO) Act, which champions the system developed five years ago at the University of New Mexico (UNM) to increase access to specialists in rural, underserved regions. Read more

Preseasonal photos of gis in grymastics

Prison Telemedicine Provides Relief to NYC

At New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex, inmates typically endure hours of onerous travel and waiting just to spend five minutes with a doctor. With the recent introduction of prison telemedicine, the entire experience has transformed; shackles, holding pens, and hurried in-person visits have been replaced by local virtual visits that are long enough for patients to voice their concerns. The result is a win-win situation: Patients are assured of confidentiality while they receive the care they want and need, all from the relative comfort of the prison, while the prison saves untold dollars from eliminating the need for secure transport. Read more