The state of Georgia again looks at the passage of a telemedicine bill that would make it easier for telemedicine companies to establish service. This is the fifth time such a bill has been purposed in the state legislature. Georgia, as have many states, includes remote locations were the population does not have access to regular medical facilities. Telemedicine capabilities could greatly improve the health care available to people living in these areas.
Here is an excerpt of an article written byErin McCann,
Associate Editor of Healthcare IT News
Fifth attempt on telehealth bill passage
A telemedicine bill aimed at expanding remote patient monitoring technology in rural and underserved communities was re-introduced in the Senate this week, making it the fifth time the bill has been proposed since 2005.
Cosponsors Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) together with Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) are hoping the current environment of health information technology may help make the fifth time around the charm for the Fostering Independence Through Technology Act. [See also: Georgia to expand telemedicine statewide.] If passed, the bill would establish pilot programs under Medicare to provide incentives for home health agencies utilizing telemedicine technologies. Officials say the bill would allow for improved monitoring of Medicare patients and further reduce program expenditures over time. In a push toward value-based care, many hospitals now face readmission penalties when a Medicare patient is re-admitted to a hospital within a specific time period. Currently, nearly one in five Medicare beneficiaries are re-admitted within a 30-day period. The bill’s cosponsors say telemedicine could bring those numbers down significantly.
For the full article on telemedicine in Georgia, click here.
Last week a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives that will lift restrictions on telemedicine, allowing medicare and medicaid to cover telemedicine procedures. The bill aims to promote the use of telemedicine in various clinic and home situations where time and money can be saved. For instance, if a pregnant mother to be is experiencing problems, she will be able to use telemedicine procedures to communicate essential data and information from her home instead of visiting a doctor’s office.
This is great news to the telemedicine industry. The lifting of these restrictions will allow telemedicine to make greater inroads into the medical community by having medicare and medicaid cover expenditures.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
“In addition to removing coverage restrictions to telemedicine, the bill would provide a new federal standard for medical licensure, officials add. Consistent with legislation already passed by Congress for military healthcare, providers in all federal health plans would only need to be licensed in the state of their physical location and would be free to treat eligible patients anywhere in the nation.”
“This is a major step forward in Congressional support for telemedicine and would extend the benefits of telehealth and mHealth to nearly 75 million Americans,” said Jonathan Linkous, chief executive officer of the American Telemedicine Association. “Representative Thompson clearly understands that telemedicine is a value — for patients, for the government and for the American taxpayer. We encourage other legislators to support this win-win bill, which will improve healthcare and decrease federal health expenditures.”
To read the full article you can click here.
Telemedicine is expanding world-wide. A hospital company is going to build new telemedicine clinics in East and West Africa, bringing much needed doctor-patient contact to under served areas.
This is the context of the press release:
Apollo Hospitals has signed an agreement with AfroIndia Medical Services to set up 30 tele-medicine units in East and West Africa. This will pave way for availability of tertiary and quaternary healthcare to patients resulting in cost, effort and time benefit, says an Apollo press release. Prathap C. Reddy, Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group, inaugurated the first three units at Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja in Nigeria through video conferencing in the presence of his Eyitayo Lambo, Health Minister of Nigeria.The telemedicine centres will facilitate doctors in several African countries to interact with specialists at Apollo. A feature of this service is the provision of electronic virtual house visits and remote domiciliary care.
Here is the link to the page on Business Line website.
Telemedicine is Minnesota is getting a boost through a local broadband provider. Broadband is ususally necessary for data transmission of ehealth data–xrays, MRIs, forms etc. Several counties in the state are going to be outfitted to this change. Nursing homes, assisted living communities and schools are going to be the facilities for this expanded service.
This is wonderful news–the greater the connection people have to medical information and coverage, the greater the chance that their health will be maintained and improved.
"SEMN Beacon & Telemedicine
The Southeast Minnesota (SEMN) Beacon Program including 17 communities in 11 counties has designated the Winona Minnesota community to implement an expanded use of broadband technologies for internal hospital operations and for community-wide telemedicine.
The new broadband network being developed will be called the “Winona Community Telemedicine Network” (WCTN) and will be hosted by Hiawatha Broadband a local broadband network operator.
Using eHealth isn’t new to Winona Health in Minnesota. They started working on incorporating the use of technology ten years ago by digitizing health records, centralizing them, and then enabling other facilities to share records along with doing remote consults. Also, Winona has been working on moving to the cloud for several years.
Winona Health is in a unique position to implement additional broadband strategies since Winona Health has been a beta site for Cerner Software development for ten years and has be recognized as one of the top Health IT enabled regional hospital systems for the past eight years."
For the full article, use this link.
With new developments in the telemedicine industry it is no wonder that cell phones networks and satellite systems have coming into use. Telephone land line networks, the main data transmission method, are being joined by mobile systems with greater transmission capacities. Here is an excerpt of an article from Healthcare IT News:
Providers of cellular and satellite networking services for connecting telehealth and other non-phone wireless devices are approached every day with new use case scenarios about how telemedicine can provide novel value. Those applications are growing rapidly in the market.
Healthcare IT News spoke with Alex Brisbourne, president and COO of KORE Telematics, a wireless network provider focused on the M2M communications market, regarding these evolving telemedicine opportunities. Brisbourne presented the top five health conditions ripe for treatment — or already being treated — via telemedicine.
For the full article, click here.