Telehealth Usage and Coverage Continues to Increase Throughout the US

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Telehealth coverage and usage is continuing to make strides forward. The US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that currently 60% of all healthcare institutions and about 45% of all hospitals are using telehealth in one way or another. This increased usage correlates with the goal of improving patient care, improving the health of the overall population, reducing healthcare costs and the physician shortage the US is currently facing.

A large number of healthcare providers have reported using telehealth services to bridge the gaps in health care. Geisinger Health System, the Veterans Health Administration, Partners HealthCare and many more have implemented telehealthcare into their care systems. Telehealthcare has helped deal with provider shortages as well as improve the patient’s overall experience. This form of care allows for extended care hours, reduces patient travel time and improves accessibility to healthcare.

Currently 31 states and the District of Columbia have laws in place which require commercial health insurers to provide equal coverage for in-person and telehealth services. 49 states cover telemental health services, and 36 cover various other telehealth services. Legislation is continuing to support the implementation of telehealth which could be a saving grace for the US healthcare system.

Legislators are not the only ones jumping onto this telehealth bandwagon. The National Business Group on Health predicts that almost all employers with cover telehealth services by 2020. Now as this field continues to grow questions come up on the effectiveness of telehealthcare vs in person visits, and how will this be integrated into the clinical workflow?

These questions are yet to be fully answered, however the evidence provided so far has shown telehealth has been largely effective. With the emergence of this field there will need to be continued research and innovation in order to successfully integrate telehealth into the care system.

With that said telehealth continues to be a promising tool for the future of healthcare. If you would like to learn more about the world of telehealth and how you can join this community check out our website and other blog posts.

 

Telehealth Platforms Are Moving Telepsychiatry Forward

Great time at home.

Telepsychiatry has started forming its own healthcare niche. In 1995, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) released a paper in support of telepsychiatry, explaining how it can overcome geographical limitations, provide greater access to care, and cut out travel time. For over 20 years there has been talk of implementing telepsychiatry into the mental health sector, however the pace of implementation has recently picked up.

James Varrell MD a licensed psychiatrist started working in telepsychiatry in 1999 and now oversees more than 200 psychiatrists at InSight. Throughout his time in the field Varrell has seen a growing need to expand the practice of telepsychiatry. As the provider shortage continues in the US, more and more people are lacking access to healthcare. Currently 55% of US counties are without any psychiatrists according to Kaiser Telepsychiatry can help provide mental healthcare access to those counties.

Varrell has found telepsychiatry to be effective in most realms of mental healthcare, from working in the ER with people in crisis, to working with translators remotely, to having increased volume devices for the elderly or hard of hearing. Telehealth allows for all types of people to connect from nearly anywhere anytime and receive the accommodations they need.

Everyday more and more psychiatrists and healthcare providers are joining the telehealth sector. With the shortage of healthcare providers continuing in the US, telehealth technology will greatly improve people’s access to care and increase the regions through which providers can connect with clients.

Some believe that physical healthcare services cannot be provided adequately through a virtual interface. While this may be true for some fields of medicine, psychiatrists are not encourage to touch clients in the first place. Meaning telepsychiatry is truly a great option for them to connect with their clients and perform all general psychiatric care needs.

If you are interested in entering the world of telepsychiatry check out our website to learn how you can join for free! Clocktree is a great platform for mental health providers and is 100% HIPAA compliant. Good luck with your first steps toward a virtual practice!

 

Telehealth is Helping Patients Receive Care Faster

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Today on average a patient waits 29 days to meet with a doctor. The USA as a whole is expected to be short 90,000 physicians by 2025, meaning the wait to see a physician should continue to lengthen. Due to this month’s long delay many patients are opting out of seeking care for minor illnesses such as, cold or flu because the emergency room is their only timely option.

Going to the ER for minor ailments is not only costly and time consuming but, causes a longer wait for those who are truly in need of urgent care. So what can be done instead? Telehealth technology could be an answer to this problem. Remote health tracking and virtual checkups save time by helping doctors keep track and work with more patients than ever before.

Allowing the home to become the primary care setting cuts out travel time and leaves clients in a more comfortable environment. The idea of virtual care options appeals to many Americans, so what is the wait on implementing virtual care into our healthcare system?

While the technology is available to create a world of virtual healthcare, regulations and legal requirements have not caught up to the time. This is a large hurdle telehealth companies are facing, however as time goes on, more and more states are adopting telehealth coverage into their healthcare systems.

The technology is here and consumers are willing and eager to enter the world of telemedicine. Since this could be the saving grace to our physician shortage, US regulations and legal requirements need to catch up to the technology! If you are interested in learning more about the world of telemedicine check out our website or read some more of our blog articles.  

Telemedicine Technology is Helping Florida Residents Affected by Hurricane Irma

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During a time of such chaos and destruction in Florida, it has been extremely hard to provide healthcare access to those in need. Within the last three days Florida Hospital has incorporated telehealth technology into their system of care. This platform now enables those who are unable to travel or prevented from reaching their usual services and care providers a virtual care option.

Florida Hospital has been using eCare to reach so many affected by hurricane Irma. While virtual visits are typically 49$, Florida Hospital has been offering them for free until the storm subsides and life for residents returns to somewhat normal. Scott Brady, the president of Florida Hospital, said “Despite the storm, illness and injuries still happen” he wants people of the region to know that they are available, from 8am to 8pm, should a need for urgent care arise.

While such hardship has struck Florida and many southeastern states, the reaction from people willing to help one another has been inspiring. As natural disasters to continue deluge the US, telehealth technology could be a critical resource for providing urgent care assistance to those unable to seek hospitals, medical facilities, or their routine care providers.