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Telehealth Breakthroughs: The road to full acceptance

August 11, 2016 Kerry Best Healthcare 1813

Telehealth Breakthroughs: The road to full acceptance

The idea of providing healthcare to patients via video, or telemedicine, may have seemed far-fetched a number of years ago. But today, it’s on its way to being considered just another delivery mechanism. Much like the idea of a mobile clinic, telemedicine is quickly becoming a no-brainer as an incredibly efficient means of accessing quality healthcare.

We recently heard from our friends at Yorktel in their industry insights into telehealth adoption about the barriers that have kept telehealth from fully taking off. We learned that many of the obstacles in adoption revolve around legislation and the lack of reimbursement availability for providers. Even with obstacles preventing full adoption, we continue to see life-changing stories about how telemedicine gives the disabled, veterans, and children around the world access to healthcare they may not otherwise have.

According to Forbes magazine, recent changes in legislation are proving to be more favorable than before for telemedicine, even in states that have long held onto dated regulations. In the state of Arkansas, previous legislation required an initial in-person encounter to establish a valid physician-patient relationship. Just recently, however, the Arkansas Medical Board passed new rules allowing for the creation of a relationship through telemedicine, meaning that a doctor can establish a valid relationship with a patient without the need for an in-person exam first. In the state of Texas, a number of obstacles diminished when a regulatory board shot down new restrictions to distance counseling – a huge win for telehealth in the state of Texas.

A few months ago, a law was passed in the state of Arizona requiring private health plans to pay for telemedicine services across the whole state rather than only services received in rural areas of the state. According to The National Law Review, there is still room for improvement in Arizona, as coverage is limited to a set of telemedicine services rather than everything one would receive at an in-person setting.

Just last month, the governor of Hawaii, David Ige, signed a bill into law expanding coverage for telehealth. Senate Bill 2395 requires the state’s Medicaid managed care and fee-for-service programs cover services provided through telehealth, stating that these programs “shall not deny coverage for any service provided through telehealth that would be covered if the service were provided through in-person consultation between a patient and a health care provider.�?

Telehealth is without a doubt becoming synonymous with healthcare, and maybe in the near future, the delivery method won’t even be a factor.

If you are looking to start or expand your outreach via telemedicine or video, the Polycom Grant Assistance Program may be able to help. Complete a Grant Assessment Request today to engage the team of experts to find out.