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Telehealth technology in sight, even for old-schoolers, expert says

Telehealth technology has arrived -- even for hospitals that might be considered traditional medical settings.

Thanks to patients' and physicians' acceptance of telehealth technology and reimbursement for related services, telemedicine is a reality today, not in some hazy future, according to telehealth expert Nick Adkins.

"Everything is catching up with itself," Adkins says in this video, the second in a three-part video series recorded at the 2016 American Telemedicine's Annual Conference and Trade Show.

In parts one and three, Adkins offers a glimpse of his personal style and talks about his preferred telehealth technology: asynchronous video, in which clips are recorded and forwarded securely, as opposed to real-time video.

"Patients are engaged already. Patients are educated. If you can answer a phone, you can do telehealth," Adkins says in the video. "No one has to go out and buy a robot. Nobody's got to go out and spend a lot of money. Nobody has to do a lot of training."

He notes in the video that it's not just startups and native telehealth technology companies that are doing business in telemedicine any more.

"The old-school players, the bricks-and-mortar guys, are getting into the game as fast as they can because it's undeniable … it's unavoidable at this point," Adkins says. "They're going to have to do it."

Adding to the pressure, Adkins also thinks that traditional hospitals and health systems are gradually losing their longtime cachet as the preferred place to receive healthcare.

"It's all about bringing healthcare to where people are," he says.

The "hospital of the future," or iterations of the virtual hospital as embodied now by Missouri's Mercy Hospital health system's telehealth-only Virtual Care Center, will be commonplace, Adkins says.

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Transcript - Telehealth technology in sight, even for old-schoolers, expert says

Everything is catching up with itself, right? So the technology's finally caught up with itself, consumer's knowledge, the education, the big thing is to always say, "Oh, we need to educate the patient" -- no, we don't; "No, we need to engage patients" -- no, we don't. Patients are engaged already, patients are educated. If you can answer a phone, you can do telehealth. Okay. Nobody has to go out and buy a robot. Nobody has to go out and spend a lot of money. Nobody has to go through a lot of training, it's very intuitive, we all carry phones in our pockets or have computers. It's simple stuff.  

The old-school players or the bricks and mortar guys are getting into the game as fast as they can because like I said, it's undeniable, it's unavoidable at this point um they going to have to do it. Okay, it's about bringing healthcare to where the people are, okay? The nurse or the doctor needs to see you, guess what, a little alarm goes off in their house and says, "Hey, we need to talk to you," and they come sit down at their kitchen table they open their little iPad like this, and they sit down, there's the nurse or the doctor having a live telehealth session with them. They can be more efficient, they can be more economical, they can streamline this, and I think for the hospitals of the future what we're going to see, you know, is a really good classic example here of what Mercy is doing or their virtual hospital. I think we're going to see more and more virtual hospitals. It's going to become a smart hospital and the business part of that's going to become a lot smarter as well.

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