Thanks to some new bills in Congress, and more in the works, the implementation of telehealth programs in an array of clinical settings has finally taken off.
Telehealth has seen a surge of systems implementing programs in a variety of clinical settings recently. Reports in October indicated the momentum is building (with official requests to Congress for support as well). With the clearing of some regulation hurdles for reimbursement and crossing state lines, the financial savings and patient interest, is only going to grow.
Recent happenings have been shining a brighter light on telehealth programs. Here are a few:
1. Veteran’s breaking state barriersThe House passed a bill to let VA providers cross state lines for telemedicine and that bipartisan legislation -- which received broad support from Congress and trade groups -- will let VA providers — in good standing — practice telehealth regardless of the patient’s location.
2. CMS final rule expands reimbursement optionsThe MACRA final rule boosts telemedicine for patients in rural or underserved areas by paying for more consults and making it easier for providers to bill for them.
3. Natural disaster relief workHurricanes Harvey and Irma brought a spotlight on the value of telehealth during a natural disaster. Nemours and LiveHealth Online were two of the telehealth systems who stepped in to help patients after Irma.
4. Employer programsEmployee telehealth tools save Cuyahoga County thousands while employer-based telemedicine programs overall are growing. An August 2017 survey from the National Business Group on Health, in fact, found that telehealth offerings by employers are becoming nearly universal.
5. Critical care for premature infantsMayo Clinic is using telemedicine to provide remote consultations to pre-term infants, newborns with respiratory distress and babies who require advanced resuscitation located in community hospitals get the specialty care they need through video to avoid transfers.
6. Emergency departments adopting techThe Texas House passed Bill 479 to improve patient outcomes by using telemedicine technology to bring the judgment of trauma surgeons into the back of ambulances to assess and direct treatment at Texas Tech.
7. Remote patient monitoring American Well, Medtronic partner to utilize video-enabled platforms that allow bi-directional data flow between the two parties, giving patients greater access to their care team while improving clinician access to critical information and opportunities for early intervention. Video classes and remote care has helped the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program as well.
8. Behavioral health servicesCommunity Health System is using intake and placement services at nine hospitals in East Tennessee with licensed behavioral health clinicians through a home-grown telepsychiatry program designed to shorten wait times and move patients through the care center.
Jay & Julia Taylor own and operate Caney Creek Studio. Caney Creek Studio is a video production, digital marketing, and social media management agency.