Microsoft’s new broadband strategy could hugely improve access to telemedicine in rural communities!

Stone Footpath Along Mountain Ridge In Peak District.Most rural communities have a shortage of healthcare providers. Due to this shortage, patients may need to travel anywhere from 1 – 4 hours just to see their doctor. Telemedicine could improve rural communities’ access to healthcare by supplying a greater amount of providers through virtual channels. An issue that is limiting the use of telemedicine in these communities is the lack of internet access. Microsoft has come out with a new article explaining a 5 year plan they have constructed to improve broadband capabilities in rural communities.

Their plan focuses on using the “TV White Spaces Spectrum,” an untapped UHV television band spectrum which would allow wireless signals to travel through buildings and trees as well as over hills. The spectrum would provide internet access to more than 23 million Americans located in rural areas who are currently not connected to internet. Rural healthcare providers are paying up to 3 times more for broadband access than those in urban areas. If broadband access was made less expensive and more accessible these funds could be redirected into patient care, thus improving the quality of care in these communities.

Access to broadband in rural areas could improve the quality of care in many other ways. For example, a large number of patients must come into hospitals or clinics for simple medical issues that could be resolved through video chat, which are commonly much shorter than in person visits. By providing these patients with internet connection and virtual care options, hospitals and clinics would become much less crowded, decreasing wait time and increasing the provider’s ability to work with more patients throughout the day

Brad Smith, the CLO of Microsoft, believes that by using “TV White Spaces Spectrum” 80% of rural communities would see improvement in connection. With such an expansive growth in internet access, the underserved populations would have access to virtual healthcare options.

Clocktree wants to support providers who are looking to expand their practice into the virtual care sector, as well as reach out to underserved populations such as rural communities. If telehealth is something your practice wants to be a part of, Clocktree is the right place for you. If you have any questions about joining the telehealth community do not hesitate to give us a call at 302-990-8935 or send us an email at info@clocktree.com.

How can telemedicine help US Veterans?

Vietnam War Military Veteran

PTSD has been a long standing, but rarely talked about problem, particularly in the United States Veteran community. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, known as the VA, estimates that 11-20% of veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars suffer from PTSD with numbers as high as 30% for Vietnam war veterans. With numbers this high, it is astonishing that a mere 8% of 5 million veterans under VA care have been diagnosed with PTSD. To increase the number of Veterans receiving the care they need, the VA has turned towards telemedicine, which helps improve the quality and access of care for Veterans.

There has been a stigma about mental health in the US ever since mental illnesses were first diagnosed, especially in the Veteran community. By increasing ease-of-access to care, using telehealth services, the number of veterans who require mental health care but are not receiving the services they need will decrease. Telemedicine offers what many veterans are looking for, greater discretion and easier access to either mental healthcare or general healthcare.

Telemedicine is changing the face of healthcare one step at a time. There are so many underserved populations that will benefit greatly from access to virtual care. The VA is working to help our veterans receive the care they need as well as diagnose conditions such as PTSD by implementing telehealth into their system. They believe that telehealth will improve quality and access of care.

Clocktree wants you to be on the forefront of the up and coming world of telehealth. If you have any questions about joining the telehealth community do not hesitate to give us a call at 302-990-8935 or send us an email at info@clocktree.com.

Telemedicine on Nicotine

Broken CigaretteSmoking has been a national problem for years now. Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, but yet people are having a difficult time quitting this addictive habit. What is preventing smokers to seek out the help they need to quit? Well, the lack of access, education, and the limitations that surround certain individuals are a few barriers to name. However, telemedicine can be the connection that current smokers are seeking in order to help find access to certain counselors and specialists across the United States.

UT Southwestern Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center in Dallas was able to conduct a study in order to test the theory that telemedicine can eliminate or reduce nicotine addiction in patients. The study was called, Tele-Nicotine. The experiment pooled together a group of male smokers and provided them with a four week course in order to eliminate their smoking habit. The team leading the program include a cancer educator, oncology nurse, and a counselor. This study was conducted over video conference and the purpose was to identify how comfortable the team was using technology, how effective was the technology use, and if they were able to make personal connections through video.

The study concluded that there were successful outcomes resulting in reduced nicotine use. The results indicated that 25% of participants said they had stopped using nicotine and 25% said they had significantly reduced their nicotine use. The team leading the program reported that they were comfortable with the technology use and felt that it was highly effective in order to reach out to patients that they otherwise would not be able to see. The results of the Tele-Nicotine study are a very positive sign that telemedicine can be effective in facilitating much-needed healthcare services to an otherwise underserved population.

If telemedicine is the next step for your practice, check out our Starter plan which is free for up 10 hours of video sessions per month. Clocktree is here to help you get started and grow your telehealth services at no cost. Once you need more than 10 hours of video sessions per month, the monthly fee for our Professional plan is only $49. If you have any other questions about adding Clocktree to your practice don’t hesitate to give us a call at 302-990-8935 or send us an email at info@clocktree.com.

Which US State Will Be Next to Push Forward the Telehealth Movement?

Blurred emergency in hospital

As a telehealth platform Clocktree provides a secure and HIPAA compliant resource for providers to step into the world of telehealth. Telehealth is becoming increasingly common and useful in the realm of healthcare, some States such as a Georgia are even using telemedicine as a substitute for ER visits in nonemergency cases. 

Blue Cross Shield of Georgia is pushing to have telemedicine replace unnecessary and costly ER visits. According to the article “Ga. Payer Pushes Telehealth to Replace Unnecessary ER Visits starting July patients will only be reimbursed for an ER visit if emergency care is necessary. However the goal of this is not to discourage people from going to the ER if there is an emergency but rather encourage people to use a telehealth platform or urgent care clinic instead of an expensive and time consuming ER visit for nonemergency medical issues. This restriction does not apply to children under the age of 13, on holidays/Sundays and when urgent care facilities are more than 15 miles away. Georgia is hoping this leads to its residents receiving higher quality and more affordable healthcare. 

Telehealth is not only cost effective but will also decrease the wait time in ERs and allow for people with more serious conditions to be seen quicker. However not all agree on this lack of reimbursement for all ER visits. Since patients are not trained to know what is or is not an emergency they can end up having to foot the bill for something they saw as a valid circumstance for an ER visit. Telehealth is an up and coming field which will greatly improve patient care however, it does not substitute for the ER in the case of an emergency, something providers and patients should be aware of when entering the world of telemedicine. We at Clocktree want you as a provider to be prepared for the changing healthcare system. By joining the telehealth community your practice will be on the forefront of healthcare technology.

If telemedicine is the next step for your practice, check out our Starter plan which is free for up 10 hours of video sessions per month. Clocktree is here to help you get started and grow your telehealth services at no cost.  Once you need more than 10 hours of video sessions per month, the monthly fee for our Professional plan is only $49. If you have any other questions about adding Clocktree to your practice don’t hesitate to give us a call at 302-990-8935 or send us an email at info@clocktree.com.