Even though telemedicine seems to be having its day in the sun, with Teladoc’s forthcoming IPO and major funding for MDLive, Doctor on Demand, and American Well, one of the oldest, earliest telemedicine companies is shutting down. Bosch has officially closed its US subsidiary Robert Bosch Healthcare, reducing the scope its healthcare operations to a 50-person team based in Germany.
Teladoc, Inc. (NYSE: TDOC), the nation’s first and largest telehealth provider, today announced the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has invalidated the major elements of a telemedicine patent held by American Well Corporation on the basis that they were not patentable because American Well did not invent them. The USPTO took this action at the request of Teladoc. At issue before the USPTO were the same elements of the American Well patent that a Massachusetts federal court declared invalid earlier this year on a separate basis.
Telehealth will only succeed if providers are reimbursed at the same rate as in-person care.
That’s the conclusion drawn from a health policy brief developed by Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It argues that the nation’s move from volume-based to value-based healthcare will be accomplished only if providers can be assured of delivering high-value care at a lower cost – and that’s what telehealth promises.
The Journal of the American Medical Association published a point-counterpoint set of opinion pieces yesterday on whether ACOs, as an experiment, should be declared a failure. Massachusetts General physician Dr. Zirui Song and Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy Director Elliot Fisher argued for ACOs by pointing to the shades of grey between different types of ACOs and suggesting ways to focus future ACO efforts. But the anti-ACO contingent, Drs. Kevin Schulman and Barak Richman of Duke University Schools of Medicine and Law respectively, argued that the concept was fundamentally flawed, and that mobile and telehealth tools were central to their reason why.
The group’s annual survey of 133 large employers, who altogether cover more than 15 million Americans, was conducted in May and June 2016. It indicated that telehealth availability, among other employee benefits, is on the rise as employers shift their priorities.
Earlier this month the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple revealing an invention that could one day play a part in Apple’s Health Platform through HealthKit. Today Apple’s Health app gives users an easy-to-read dashboard of your health and fitness data. But HealthKit is also behind new hospital systems like the one from Ochsner Health System, the largest not-for-profit academic medical center in the Gulf South which uses iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch to further its mission of innovation in healthcare
The telehealth platform is the latest in a series of digital health initiatives for NYP, long considered one of the nation’s top mHealth-enabled systems. The six-campus health system which launched its own “innovation space” some two years ago, and now offers such services as a text-messaging platform for patients undergoing surgery (and their family and friends who want quick updates) and a mobile app – already in its third iteration – that helps users find any physician in the health system, get directions, access the health system’s Twitter feed for the latest news, get information about NYP services, and use the online payment system to pay bills.
Thomas Jefferson is among the vanguard of hospital systems re-engineering telehealth and virtual care platforms to improve the patient experience. The Mayo Clinic, Ohio Health, and Hospital Corporation of America are also undertaking similar turn-around initiatives.
Zeriscope is an enterprise-grade, hands-free, mobile-first, multi-sensor SaaS (Software as a Service) platform. Nurses empowered with a Zeriscope-enabled mobile device are able to stream their point-of-view from a tethered camera system in real-time, high-definition video, with advanced sensor streams such as Bluetooth stethoscope audio.
While telehealth has long been a growing sector of the health IT industry in the U.S., the massive surge of newly insured Americans under the Affordable Care Act has thrust the industry into the spotlight, and telehealth is now more of a “must have” than a “nice to have” for patients, hospitals, physicians and other providers.