Updates on Telemedicine – Is it Time to Jump In?

February 24, 2017 | By Ami Tucker

The sustainability of the traditional office provider-based model is being continually challenged by technological advances, payer and purchaser demands, and new consumer expectations. Telehealth and virtual health services in particular are exploding, offering a range of applications, including basic diagnoses, physician consultation, patient education, and remote monitoring. These advances are reshaping traditional patient-provider communications and redefining access to healthcare, putting pressure on providers to develop new strategies for remaining competitive in the long-term.

“As healthcare evolves, providers are realizing the importance of offering their services through the most convenient and affordable avenues to meet modern consumer demands,” said Clarin, Sr VP at Kaufman Hall, management consulting services. “However, providers are largely unprepared for this transition and the significant effect it will have on their businesses. This session is the perfect opportunity to share the implications of a telehealth strategy in terms of market share, patient utilization, financial impacts, and which service lives will be most affected.”

Technology use in our society is advancing day by day, if not minute by minute, and we can choose to either jump on board the train or watch from the sidelines at the station.   The American Medical Association recently sent a clear message that if you want to be a successful member of the medical profession now and in the future, you need to hop on board the technology train, more specifically the telemedicine train.

Global Telemedicine Market Outlook 2021

Market Reports Center predicts that the global telemedicine market will expand at a CAGR of 14.77% during 2015-2021. The report takes into account factors like aging world population, expansion of healthcare services in rural and remote areas, attending emergency medical incidents, and government initiatives to cut down on medical expenses, to name a few. (Market Reports Center is an e-commerce platform meeting the needs of knowledge workers, experts, professionals who are subject to market research information for their work, or to make strategic business decisions.)

Telemedicine device wins Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation

Twenty-four year old, Arthur Zang – an engineer from Cameroon, was recently selected as the winner for the 2016 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation reports Telehealth & Telecare Aware.  Zang’s invention, the Cardio Pad, allows health workers to give heart examinations and take a 12-sensor Electrocardiogram (ECG) and send the results to a heart specialist in a hospital via a mobile phone network. The Cardio Pads are given to hospitals free of charge and patients pay an annual subscription of $29.

Insurers embrace telemedicine to offer convenient services, cost savings

Many insurance companies are creating telemedicine platforms for their employer groups and individual subscribers with PPO policies.  They seek to reduce costly visits to a hospital emergency room or urgent care center for something that is readily treated in a lesser setting, while meeting the growing demands of consumers who want the ability to electronically connect with care providers at their convenience.

CMS / Medicare Covered Telehealth Services

Even Medicare is on board with telehealth under certain circumstances.  To see if your office address is eligible to provide Medicare-covered telehealth services, visit this link:  https://datawarehouse.hrsa.gov/tools/analyzers/geo/Telehealth.aspx

If you are eligible, you can download the list of services payable under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule when furnished via telehealth on this link on the CMS website.

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