Telehealth is a field that is moving towards widespread acceptance, so agreed a panel at Health Journalism 2017 in Orlando.
Today is National Rural Health Day, an annual opportunity for grassroots groups, nonprofits and agencies, including the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, to highlight the unmet health needs of the estimated 62 million Americans who live and work in rural communities. And take a look at efforts to address them.
For example, there are some interesting stories to write about how workforce expansion efforts are getting help from new technology. Continue reading
Telehealth services are gaining ground as a means to expand reach and keep health costs down.
But what about telemental health? On one hand, it could be a boon for older adults who may be isolated or otherwise unable to visit a mental health practitioner in person. However, as the American Telehealth Association notes, “the service must be provided to an eligible Medicare beneficiary in an eligible facility (originating site) located outside of a Metropolitan Statistical Area” or in a health professional shortage area (HPSA).” Continue reading
At Health Journalism 2016 on Friday, David Pittman, an ehealth reporter for Politico, had some good advice for reporters covering telemedicine: Define your terms. Telemedicine can mean the most gee-whiz new smart phone app or wearable (think “smart bra” for heart monitoring) – or an old fashioned telephone call between patient and doctor.
The breadth of the field, and some of the challenges were illustrated at the Friday panel. Continue reading
Potentially Avoidable Hospitalizations (PAH) among nursing home residents are costly, expose residents to additional health risks and exact a toll on patients and families. Many of these readmissions occur after hours or on weekends — when there is no physician or nurse practitioner readily available.
PAHs are hospitalizations that could have been avoided because the condition could have been prevented or treated outside of an inpatient hospital setting. One skilled nursing home chain is using a novel telemedicine program to bring board-certified physicians to the patient bedside, providing two-way video communication to assess, diagnosis and minimize readmissions. It may also save the health system hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. Continue reading
Indiana is embarking a new way to deliver mental health care to Medicaid members. John Wernert, M.D., a psychiatrist who heads Indiana’s Medicaid agency, is introducing telemedicine to deliver psychiatric and other mental health services to patients, including the approximately 85 percent of patients who have what he calls rather modest behavioral health needs.
Indiana’s telemedicine initiative is important because the state is one of only a few adopting telehealth statewide. More widespread use of telehealth has been slow due to concerns about costs, as Phil Galewitz reported for Kaiser Health News last month. Continue reading