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Remote Patient Evaluation (RPE) Is Ready for Primetime

To date, remote patient monitoring (RPM) has used digital technologies to collect health data from patients in one place and transmit that information securely to case managers somewhere else. This approach has proven useful for caregivers to prioritize follow-ups and monitor compliance as they have easy access to real-time data such as: weight, glucose levels, blood pressure, heart rate, air flow and even subjective survey data trends measured by patients in the comfort of their homes. Read more

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Proposed Rule Would Allow VA Telemedicine Providers to Treat Patients across State Lines

If the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs gets its way, VA telemedicine providers will soon be exempt from state restrictions that prohibit physicians from seeing patients in another state without being licensed to practice there. The goal of the proposed rule, the Veterans E-health and Telemedicine Support Act of 2017, is to increase veterans’ access to care and timeliness of treatment, especially in rural and underserved areas. Read more

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Texas Considers Expanding Telemedicine Reimbursement for Workers’ Comp Cases

Now that Texas state officials have finally opened the doors for telemedicine expansion, they certainly aren’t wasting any time: The Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) has proposed an informal rule that would eliminate Medicare-based restrictions on originating sites and reimbursement for workers’ comp cases. Read more

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In the Wake of Harvey, mHealth Infrastructure Stabilizes

Thanks to ever-improving technology, an impressive 96 percent of the cell towers in the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey remained functional, enabling weather correspondents to provide continuous “on the scene” updates—a vast improvement over the limited coverage provided by satellites in the past. This upgrade in wireless technology has significant ramifications for mobile health (mHealth); if meteorologists can use wireless connections consistently and reliably, then so can telemedicine providers. Read more

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Pediatric Telemedicine Combats Child Blindness

With few eye specialists on hand, how do you fight preventable infant blindness? Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the largest pediatric multispecialty medical group in the U.S., approached the problem with technology. Rather than waiting for infrequent medical missions trips to Armenia, Thomas Lee, MD, and his team use pediatric telemedicine so that specialists in L.A. can train surgeons in remote locations and empower them to combat child blindness without waiting for assistance. Read more

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Harvey’s Youngest Evacuees Saved by Newest Telemedicine Legislation

It’s a good thing that Texas just passed a law easing restrictions on telemedicine visits; otherwise, countless children displaced by Hurricane Harvey would likely be unable to receive prompt medical care for recent injuries, infections, or chronic conditions like asthma. Luckily, the new telemedicine legislation permits real-time visits without an initial in-person visit, allowing doctors across the state to see the children through the technology. Read more

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Rural Telemedicine to Assist Sexual Assault Victims

Thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, the Penn State College of Nursing is launching a pilot program to improve the identification and treatment of sexual assault cases through rural telemedicine. Later this year, four rural health sites will be linked to the Pennsylvania Sexual Assault Forensic Examination and Telehealth (SAFE-T) Center on the Penn State campus; through this program, nurses in the rural regions will be able to train to become forensic Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) or connect with a SANE immediately via telemedicine when a sexual assault victim comes to the facility. Read more

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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

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Telepsychiatry Extends Services Across Maine ERs

In recent years, increasing percentages of emergency department visits have required a psychiatric consult, but the number of psychiatric beds in emergency rooms has dropped. Amidst such a shortage, patients often end up with longer ER stays or are released without being treated. In Maine, St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center added emergency telepsychiatry services to their renovated ED in 2010; this allows them to link patients with a mental health professional around the clock. Read more