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Why You Should Consider Telemedicine

Telehealth and Telemedicine Definition

We often hear telehealth and telemedicine used interchangeably, so let’s set the record straight – telehealth is the umbrella term that refers to medical services that healthcare practitioners provide to patients from a distance.  This could be nurses or physicians.  Telemedicine is more specific and refers to the use of electronic services which allow doctors to communicate with other doctors and interact and give consultations to patients.  Telehealth specialists often do their work through mobile health (mhealth) applications.  In fact, the majority of doctor visits can be handled via mhealth.

Telehealth Advantages for Practitioners

Healthcare practitioners are quickly increasing their use of telehealth and need to stay on top of the strict medical credentialing required for the use of telehealth technologies with patients. Through the use of telemedicine, physicians are given the opportunity to reach more patients and develop stronger relationships with them.  In addition, physicians can save both money and time through this new method of treatment.  One caveat to these advantages is that a physician needs to be licensed in a particular state in order to practice remotely through telemedicine.  For example, a Massachusetts-based physician can only consult patients in Massachusetts unless she is also medically licensed in other states.  Keeping track of the different licenses can be a headache, but there are great tools out there, such as CE App, which can help them easily manage their licenses.    

Why are many hospitals now using telemedicine?

Telehealth is becoming an increasingly popular method for caring for patients with chronic conditions.  While no one would question the benefit of these primary care visits for chronic conditions, these visits add up and can become quite costly.  With telehealth, both physicians and patients can save time.  Telehealth services are also useful for monitoring discharged patients and tracking patient recovery.  Here in the US, we have traditionally struggled with monitoring patient outcomes.  We want to track patient outcomes so that we can then focus on improving our healthcare systems, and telehealth allows us to better achieve this.

 

telehealthoutlook

Administrators at Telemedicine Companies:

  • Telehealth market is growing quickly – a big opportunity for companies.
  • Telemedicine is becoming increasingly popular for venture capitalists
  • Identify target customers:
    • Physicians and clinical staff who are experiencing difficulty providing services for their patients
    • Patients who are in need of services (may have difficulty traveling to doctor’s office)
  • A new telehealth program would create increased revenue
  • If interested, check out this telehealth grant program

How to Become a Telehealth Specialist 

For some tech-savvy physicians, the move towards adding telehealth to their workload will be a breeze. For others, there’s plenty of resources to make the transition as painless as possible.  You have multiple options when it comes to learning how to become a telehealth specialist.

Formal Classroom Training

Self Study Videos and Materials

Webinars

Amwell Opportunity

Learning about telemedicine in workshops is helpful, but putting it into practice is another thing. Amwell’s Online Care Group (OCG) is an online medical practice that connects providers with patients through live video visits.  These visits can happen on your laptop, tablet or phone.  The OCG’s board-certified providers use American Well’s telehealth platform to deliver immediate and efficient care at the highest quality and patient satisfaction. OCG providers serve as a unique medical community of its own, with its own sharing guidelines and discussion.

To join the Online Care Group, click here.

Telemedicine Outlook

Traditionally, medicine has been slow to adopt technologies (see: any of the many physicians still using pagers).  Part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act is an increased focus on healthcare information and technology services, so we can move our healthcare system into the 21st century.  With CE App, we are doing our part in supporting this initiative, as we are striving to make continuing education a much simpler process for healthcare practitioners. This move to making medicine more efficient is important because in the US, our healthcare costs are rising faster than inflation.

Going forward, this could potentially be unsustainable for both patients, practitioners, and insurance providers alike.  Many states now require reimbursements for telehealth services. This is a good for the future of telehealth, considering how effective it is from both a cost and care delivery perspective.  As we move away from fee-for-service and towards bundled and global payments, it is important for everyone to be on the same page, innovation and technology wise, so as to provide the best, most efficient care.