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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog

Jul 17 2011   9:56PM GMT

The business of telehealth services



Posted by: RedaChouffani
mhealth, Remote patient monitoring, telehealth

Video conferencing has proven to be a cost effective, efficient and relatively easy way for people to communicate across state and national boarders. And with the increased adoption of VoIP and recessions, many organizations are reducing their travel expenses by transitioning to doing a bulk of their meetings over the wire. Though while it does seem that many organizations have seen the benefits of utilizing video/audio teleconferencing, when it comes to health care, there is still a long way to go before telehealth a remote patient monitoring goes mainstream.

This does not come as a big surprise, as most patients find it comforting to visit a physician and discuss their conditions face to face. There is also the stigma that telehealth will not allow for the highest quality of care delivery vs. an in-person consultation.

That aside, there is still one specialty that has seen a significant number of early adaptors is in the space: psychiatry.Remote therapy sessions with full video/audio support have shown to be very effective for patients, and with several pilot projects showing significant cost savings for the payers, we are now beginning to see a significant increase in the adoption rate.

In terms of increasing adoption in the industry as a whole though, there are a few items that need to be more widely available to physicians:

·Easy to use technology and simple applications such as Facetime, Skype and Microsoft Lync

·Standardization in medical device data exchange

·Patient education to encourage adoption and show value of how they can easily access services

·Ensuring secure communications from end-to-end

·Clear fee schedules and reimbursement structures to eliminate any burdens for the telehealth services

Telehealth has another significant value for patients, as it goes far beyond simply video chatting with a clinician. Remote monitoring services, where detailed medical data is transmitted from devices attached to the patient directly back to the physicians in near-real time.This can significantly improve patient care and provide a quick way to respond to specific conditions, without the burden of an office visit.

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