What is Telemedicine

Telemedicine is another attempt to cut health care costs while providing effective care. Recently, it has gained popularity in the news but it is not a new concept. It has been around for years but is becoming increasingly utilized with the crisis of our healthcare system. Telemedicine companies are reporting enormous growth and there have been favorable reports from customers using the telemedicine system.

According to the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) “Formally defined, telemedicine is the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s clinical health status. Telemedicine includes a growing variety of applications and services using two-way video, email, smart phones, wireless tools and other forms of telecommunications technology.”

Earlier this year, Businessweek published an article called “Telemedicine: Doctor Visits via Video Calls“. The article reports the benefits of this form of healthcare including saving the patient/consumer time and money.

Is Telemedicine Regulated?

Telemedicine is gaining momentum as quality, cost effective care.

Telemedicine is gaining momentum as quality, cost effective care.

Currently, there is not an accreditation process for telemedicine providers. The American Telemedicine Association is working to change that. Proposed rule making is currently underway. Setting a standard in a very unregulated arena is essential to keeping providers safe and accountable.

Medicaid supports the use of telemedicine and has already been utilizing the health care delivery system for years. Medicaid provider guidelines are vague citing that states should follow their own legislation. It’s important to be aware of your state legislation for more specifics on state coverage and reimbursable use.

Does it Work?

Research about telemedicine has been going on for the past 40 years but research has increased in the area in the past two years. Overwhelmingly, the research has shown it to be cost effective with comparable or improved health outcomes. Examples of these research outcomes are readily available online with a quick search.

With healthcare constantly transitioning, being aware of emerging trends and changes is an important part of being a health care provider and consumer.  Here at Occupational Training Solutions, we take this role seriously.