The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published an article this month comparing telehealth use trends between rural and urban populations. The research uses data collected from the July 2015 U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey which included questions regarding the use of telecommunications.
Article Author: David Raths
Source: Healthcare Informatics
Among all the proposed changes the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rolled out last week, ones related to telehealth drew considerable interest. Although it can’t use its regulatory power to change the laws that restrict telehealth services paid for by Medicare to rural settings, the agency has instead defined new “communication technology–based services” that could be used for virtual visits with established Medicare patients regardless of such patients’ location, effective Jan. 1, 2019.
In its proposed rule about virtual visits, CMS is seeking comment on whether telephone interactions are sufficient or whether interactions enhanced with video or other kinds of data transmission should be required. CMS also proposes to create a new code to permit separate Medicare payment for store-and-forward technology such as when a dermatologist examines an image of a patient’s skin asynchronously.
It is hard to believe that 2018 is more than halfway gone! Just a couple of weeks ago, the Upper Midwest Telehealth Resource Center (UMTRC) staff participated in the Indiana Rural Health Association’s (IRHA’s) 21st Annual Conference! The conference, held at the historic French Lick Resort and Casino in French Lick, Indiana drew 557 attendees from all over the country. There were 5 separate telehealth breakout sessions including topics from the culture changes in telehealth programs, the Cincinnati VA telehealth programs, avoiding transfers, emergency telemedicine, and infant mortality with a combined attendance of 140 people. The National Telehealth Technology Assessment Center staff traveled all the way from Anchorage, Alaska to provide a Telehealth Showcase that allowed participants to compare various telehealth dermatology cameras and digital stethoscopes.
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.
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.
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.
This session will outline the basic conceptual and regulatory framework surrounding the provision of behavioral health services via live interactive video, and will present several models for integrating telebehavioral health into primary care and hospital services. These models include both clinical and sustainability aspects. Major points of value, as well as common challenges faced by organizations in implementing these programs, will be addressed.Download the Powerpoint