Monthly Archives

June 2018

Telemedicine brings new options to patients in Central Austin

By | Recent Telehealth News

Article Author: Emma Freer

Source: Community Impact Newspaper

Telemedicine is the provision of healthcare services to a patient by a doctor in a remote location using technology.

Or as Kristi Henderson, vice president of Patient Access, Healthcare Transformation and Virtual Care at Ascension Texas and a clinical professor at Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin, sees it, telemedicine is like the grocery store express lane.

“If you have a minor illness or injury and just need to have a follow-up appointment, why are you going to the line that has everybody with two buggies full of groceries and which costs more money? Why can’t you do it in an express lane?”

Although telemedicine has been practiced in Texas for years, in May 2017 the Legislature passed a bill easing restrictions on telemedicine and opening the door to increased use across the state. The bill took effect in November.

As a result of the legislation, local health care providers, including Ascension Texas, Austin Regional Clinic and CommUnity Care, have expanded their telehealth services and invested in developing new ones.

Read More.

State and Federal Approaches to Decreasing the National Opioid Epidemic

By | National Telehealth Policy Resource Center Blog

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently released a State Medicaid Director letter addressing findings within the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis’ final report issued November 1, 2017. The letter identifies many of the strategies supported and emphasized within the President’s Commission report along with some of the potential benefits associated with implementing such strategies. State Medicaid programs are encouraged to consider adopting some of the strategies which are presented as potential approaches to decrease the national opioid epidemic.
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Telehealth Gives Doctors a Chance to Be Where They’re Most Needed

By | Recent Telehealth News

Article Author: Erick Wicklund

Source: mHealth Intelligence, June 18th, 2018

Telehealth technology is allowing Dr. John Bender to be in two places at once. And that makes a big different in care management and coordination for thousands of patients at his Colorado-based medical practice.

Bender, senior partner and Chief Executive Officer of Miramont Family Medicine, is using a pair of telemedicine robots to coordinate care at the three-office medical practice. He says the telepresence units are used every day in the practice, which employs about 80 practitioners and sees some 20,000 patients a year.

Read More.

Innovative Telehealth Services Bridge Gaps in Care

By | Recent Telehealth News

Article Author: James B. Levasseur

Source: Benefits Pro, June 18th, 2018

The nation’s looming shortage of qualified doctors and specialists presents a growing threat to the nation’s health care system. The Association of American Medical Colleges released new research that shows physician demand continuing to grow faster than supply, leading to a projected shortfall of between 42,600 and 121,300 physicians by 2030. This includes a projected shortage of 14,800 to 49,300 primary care physicians. For non-primary care specialties, the projected shortfall ranges from 33,800 to 72,700 doctors.

There are many key drivers behind this trend: Baby boomer physicians are retiring, yet the aging baby boomer population still requires care. Additionally, with the rising cost of education, fewer students are going into M.D. programs in proportion to the general population.  What’s more, the distribution of physicians means a glut in urban locations, while many rural areas remain underserved — an issue that is expected to get worse.

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CCHP Releases Report Detailing Complexity of Accessing Telehealth MAT Services to treat Opioid Use Disorder in California Medicaid (Medi-Cal)

By | National Telehealth Policy Resource Center Blog

Over the past year, CCHP has conducted in-depth research into the intricacies and barriers around utilizing telehealth to access medication assisted therapy (MAT) for purposes of treating opioid use disorder (OUD) in California’s Medicaid Program (Medi-Cal).  CCHP has issued a new report detailing its findings and making recommendations to help facilitate greater access to MAT services through telehealth in California. Read More

FCC commissioners boost Rural Health Care Program cap to $571M

By | Recent Telehealth News

Article Author: Greg Slabodkin

Source: Health Data Management

The Federal Communications Commission has voted in favor of a proposal by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to increase the annual cap from $400 million to $571 million for the Rural Health Care Program, which provides telecommunications and broadband services to rural communities supporting telemedicine.

Last week, Pai sent a draft order to his colleagues at the agency seeking an increase in the annual funding cap by $171 million for the Rural Health Care Program. In response, a majority of the FCC’s commissioners voted in favor of the proposal to take immediate action to address a funding shortfall and improve telemedicine in rural areas.

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Telehealth success varies by setting, according to AHRQ

By | Recent Telehealth News

Article Author: Les Masterson

Source: Healthcare Dive

Healthcare organizations are investing more in telehealth. Foley & Lardner’s 2017 Telemedicine and Digital Health Survey found three-fourths of healthcare organizations said they plan to offer telehealth services this year. Only four years ago, the same survey found that the vast majority of organizations said they didn’t expect patients would use virtual care by now.

Another 2017 survey found that 30% said telehealth was a high priority in their organization. The North American telehealth market is expected to reach $16.8 billion by 2020, fueled by chronic diseases and rising healthcare costs.

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