Posts

woman using telemedicine follow-up app

Telemedicine Follow-Up Visits May Work Well for Ambulatory Surgeries

Soon, women recovering from breast reconstruction surgery may be able to follow up with physicians on their smartphones rather than traveling to the clinic. A recent study in JAMA Surgery found that using a telemedicine follow-up mobile app with a questionnaire and patient-provided photos resulted in less office visits and more satisfied and engaged patients with no significant difference in complication rates when compared to patients with in-office visits. Read more

Dr in ICU

Tele-ICU May Improve Outcomes Both During and After ICU Stays

Thanks to telemedicine, ICU patients may soon have more timely access to specialists and more specialty care after discharge from the ICU environment. At Hawaii’s North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH), patients who need critical care are enjoying the benefits of the tele-ICU system that allows patients to receive state-of-the-art care without the treatment delays caused by inter-island transfers to the main facility on Oahu. Meanwhile, at Indiana University, researchers are currently conducting trials for elderly patients who experienced delirium during their ICU visits to determine whether training and exercises delivered via telemedicine can improve the patients’ quality of life. Read more

HIPAA-compliant file folder

Keeping Telemedicine HIPAA-Compliant

Two rising trends are on a collision course: telemedicine and healthcare data breaches. As increasing numbers of healthcare organizations implement or expand telemedicine programs, and as more patients rely on text messages, email, or video to communicate with providers, personal health information (PHI) is at more risk than ever before. Now considered worth 10 times more than credit card information, as reported by Reuters, PHI is an attractive target for unscrupulous hackers. Thus, it is imperative that healthcare organizations and vendors prioritize security and compliance measures and keep telemedicine HIPAA-compliant. Read more

Innovative Ways to Overcome Rural Health Care Challenges

A new report by The Commonwealth Fund showcases several representative solutions implemented by organizations to meet the challenges of rural health care. While Americans living in these underserved areas have a higher poverty rate, a higher incidence of illness, a lower life expectancy than their urban counterparts, and less access to health insurance and physicians, the innovation of rural health care facilities suggests that with enough time and creativity, the difference between rural and urban health care and outcomes can be significantly reduced. Below are some of the problems and approaches described in the report. Read more

medical claim form with stethoscope and pen

New Telemedicine CPT Codes Created

After a long wait, the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes have finally been updated to include telemedicine. A “95” modifier can be added to CPT codes for real-time remote encounters with a video and audio component; the list includes outpatient evaluation and management (E/M) codes, consultation codes, and behavioral health codes, among others. Additionally, a new place of service (POS) code, telemedicine CPT code 02, is required for clinicians who bill for telemedicine services. 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

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

Depressed elderly woman at home

Telemedicine Offers Hope to Depression Sufferers

A recent study opens new avenues for individuals with depression: Therapy conducted with video medicine can work just as well as in-person visits. This means that patients who have limited mobility, who live in remote areas, or who do not seek treatment openly due to stigmas may soon be able to access psychotherapy treatments privately from their homes or local medical clinics. Read more