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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

Supporting Parkinson's patient with cane

Telemedicine Pilot Program Successful for Parkinson’s Patients

Patients with Parkinson’s disease are used to devoting an entire day and driving long miles to be seen by a specialist. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Thanks to telemedicine, though, this could soon change. Last fall, Rush University Medical Center launched a telemedicine pilot program that allows patients to visit their physicians virtually, from the comfort of their own homes. Read more

Woman administering insulin injection

Using Telemedicine for Diabetes Care

According to a recent article in Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, managing diabetes at home is about to become easier. Many types of data—such as blood glucose levels, food intake, and exercise patterns—can be measured, transmitted securely, and analyzed. So far, studies suggest that telemedicine for diabetes care can lead to better outcomes at lower costs. Read more