Posts

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

Doctor at night in hospital

Telenocturnists Ease Burdens for All

Previously, patients admitted in the middle of the night have had a higher mortality rate, according to the American Medical Association. Soon, however, this statistic may be a thing of the past; telenocturnists have begun volunteering for the less-desired weekend and nighttime shifts, and they’re hoping to lessen the disparity in outcomes while reducing the financial burden on hospitals. 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prison telemedicine, the entire experience has transformed; shackles, holding pens, and hurried in-person visits have been replaced by local virtual visits that are long enough for patients to voice their concerns.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

MACRA consists of the APM and MIPS programs

Medicare Reimbursements Shift towards Quality of Care

In an open letter last Friday, October 14, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), announced the finalized policies for implementing the new Medicare Quality Payment Program (QPP). Although the rule takes effect on January 1, 2017, several components will be phased in over the next few years to give physicians time to adjust accordingly. Many of the policies have been updated from the previous proposal in response to feedback from clinicians across the country. Read more

rural road leads to distant mountains

USDA Announces Grants for Rural Telemedicine

On November 19, in honor of National Rural Health Day, the U.S. Department of Agriculture bestowed $23.4 million in awards to expand rural telemedicine and mental health services, as well as distance education, for 75 projects in 31 states. The grants will help increase access to health care in rural areas with a shortage of providers for emergency medical care, routine examinations, virtual rounds, behavioral health services, and specialty services. Read more

Man using laptop for telemedicine

Telemedicine for Parkinson’s Patients May Increase Compliance, Care

Telemedicine has been making headlines for facilitating timely stroke treatment and increasing access to care in rural areas, but other specialties are finding substantial benefits, too. This summer, preliminary results from a randomized clinical trial of telemedicine for Parkinson’s patients were released; these initial findings look very promising. Read more

"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

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