There are many states debating telemedicine reimbursement and access. New legislation is being pushed as the technology has cemented itself as a standard healthcare service that is helping improve quality of care and lower costs.
As the American Telemedicine Association convened in Minneapolis last month for its annual conference, it was interesting to recall that a little more than 20 years ago, another ATA conference was held in Minnesota. It was in Rochester and featured a Mayo Clinic-trained physician and astronaut conducting the first telemedicine conference from space. Since that time, telemedicine – the remote delivery of health care through a secure video or computer link – has experienced profound progress, increasing access to care while also lowering the cost of care.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill (S.B. 1363) into law, on May 17, 2016, requiring private health plans to pay for telemedicine services across the whole state rather than only services received in rural areas of the state.
Increasing global focus on the use of telemedicine to reduce healthcare costs and improve patient outcomes is spurring big growth in the telemedicine technologies market. BCC Research reveals in its new report that the new U.S. healthcare law will, if anything, intensify this focus by increasing the number of people with health insurance and seeking medical services.
In rural communities across the country, it’s often more difficult to find a pharmacist than it is to find a doctor. Now healthcare providers are using telemedicine platforms to create telepharmacy networks and bring the pharmacist into the clinical conversation.
The guidelines appear to have changed little but remote visits has turned into one of the biggest trends in healthcare. Next week the association plans to discuss adding the guidelines at its annual conference in Chicago.