31 May 2013

Telehealth Also Asking Gov't Help

Whether you call it telehealth, mHealth or remote monitoring, the deployment of telemedicine is galloping. In what direction, this is a question to be answered. We should have an answer in 2013 or 2014, possibly. Some state medical boards are so wrapped up in their own self-importance that they are opposing the expansion of telemedicine and vehemently doing this. Other state medical boards are cautious, but moving in the right direction, and some are openly embracing telemedicine.

The state medical board in my state seems to be frozen in the past. They are unable to make a decision on many issues and therefore the state legislature is not acting on several issues that have been brought before it. Fortunately, the US Congress may force the issue and create laws that will force issues to be settled at the state level and create funding problems for those states choosing not to act. Again, patients are being caught in the middle and are the ones that will suffer.

This article is important and does need to be quoted for several issues. “Consider these facts:
  • More than five million Americans had their medical images read remotely last year;
  • Approximately 10% of all the intensive care unit beds in the U.S. use telemedicine;
  • According to MobiHealthNews, there are more than 13,000 consumer health applications for the iPhone;
  • One million Americans benefit from remote cardiac monitoring for implantable devices or for checking on a suspected cardiac arrhythmia; and
  • The American Telemedicine Association estimates that more than 10 million Americans have directly benefited from some sort of telemedicine service this past year, probably double from just three years ago.

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) was established in 1993. The ATA says the leading barriers to the development of telemedicine in the USA have been government policies. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is very hesitant to reimburse for telemedicine. Then the ATA lists state-based standards of care and professional licensing as blocking much of what it needed for the advancement of telemedicine. And the list goes on to the FCC and FDA for their dragging of action.

Please take time to read the article in the link above.  It explains what is happening to telemedicine and the reasons they feel that 2013 will be the year of change.

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