Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care

Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, technology, health care, and philosophy
Showing posts with label Telehealth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Telehealth. Show all posts

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Characteristics of Mental Health Specialists Who Shifted Their Practice Entirely to Telemedicine

Hailu, R., Huskamp, H. A., et al. (2024).
JAMA, 5(1), e234982. 


The COVID-19 pandemic–related shift to telemedicine has been particularly prominent and sustained in mental health care. In 2021, more than one-third of mental health visits were conducted via telemedicine. While most mental health specialists have in-person and telemedicine visits, some have transitioned to fully virtual practice, perhaps for greater work-life flexibility (including avoiding commuting) and eliminating expenses of maintaining a physical clinic. The decision by some clinicians to practice only via telemedicine has gained importance due to Medicare’s upcoming requirement, effective in 2025, that patients have an annual in-person visit to receive telemedicine visits for mental illness and new requirements from some state Medicaid programs that clinicians offer in-person visits. We assessed the number and characteristics of mental health specialists who have shifted fully to telemedicine.


In 2022, 13.0% of mental health specialists serving commercially insured or Medicare Advantage
enrollees had shifted to telemedicine only. Rates were higher among female clinicians and those
working in densely populated counties with higher real estate prices. A virtual-only practice allowing
clinicians to work from home may be more attractive to female clinicians, who report spending more
time on familial responsibilities, and those facing long commutes and higher office-space costs.
It is unclear how telemedicine-only clinicians will navigate new Medicare and Medicaid
requirements for in-person care. While clinicians and patients may prefer in-person care,
introducing in-person requirements for visits and prescribing could cause care interruptions,
particularly for conditions such as opioid use disorder.

Our analysis is limited to clinicians treating patients with commercial insurance or Medicare
Advantage and therefore may lack generalizability. We were also unable to determine where
clinicians physically practiced, particularly if they had transitioned to virtual-health companies. Given the shortage of mental health clinicians, future research should explore whether a virtual-only model
affects clinician burnout or workforce retention.

Friday, January 26, 2024

This Is Your Brain on Zoom

Leah Croll
Originally posted 21 Dec 23

Here is an excerpt:

Zoom vs In-Person Brain Activity

The researchers took 28 healthy volunteers and recorded multiple neural response signals of them speaking in person vs on Zoom to see whether face-processing mechanisms differ depending upon social context. They used sophisticated imaging and neuromonitoring tools to monitor the real-time brain activity of the same pairs discussing the same exact things, once in person and once over Zoom.

When study participants were face-to-face, they had higher levels of synchronized neural activity, spent more time looking directly at each other, and demonstrated increased arousal (as indicated by larger pupil diameters), suggestive of heightened engagement and increased mutual exchange of social cues. In keeping with these behavioral findings, the study also found that face-to-face meetings produced more activation of the dorsal-parietal cortex on functional near-infrared spectroscopy. Similarly, in-person encounters were associated with more theta oscillations seen on electroencephalography, which are associated with face processing. These multimodal findings led the authors to conclude that there are probably separable neuroprocessing pathways for live faces presented in person and for the same live faces presented over virtual media.

It makes sense that virtual interfaces would disrupt the exchange of social cues. After all, it is nearly impossible to make eye contact in a Zoom meeting; in order to look directly at your partner, you need to look into the camera where you cannot see your partner's expressions and reactions. Perhaps current virtual technology limits our ability to detect more subtle facial movements. Plus, the downward angle of the typical webcam may distort the visual information that we are able to glean over virtual encounters. Face-to-face meetings, on the other hand, offer a direct line of sight that allows for optimal exchange of subtle social cues rooted in the eyes and facial expressions.

Key findings:
  • Zoom meetings are less stimulating for the brain than face-to-face interactions. A study by Yale University found that brain activity associated with social processing is lower during Zoom calls compared to in-person conversations.
  • Reduced social cues on Zoom lead to increased cognitive effort. The lack of subtle nonverbal cues, like facial expressions and body language, makes it harder to read others and understand their intentions on Zoom. This requires the brain to work harder to compensate.
  • Constant video calls can be mentally taxing. Studies have shown that back-to-back Zoom meetings can increase stress and fatigue. This is likely due to the cognitive demands of processing visual information and the constant pressure to be "on."
  • Be mindful of Zoom fatigue. Schedule breaks between meetings and allow time for your brain to recover.
  • Use Zoom strategically. Don't use Zoom for every meeting or interaction. When possible, opt for face-to-face conversations.
  • Enhance social cues on Zoom. Use good lighting and a clear webcam to make it easier for others to see your face and expressions. Use gestures and nonverbal cues to communicate more effectively.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Dozens of telehealth startups sent sensitive health information to big tech companies

Katie Palmer with
Todd Feathers & Simon Fondrie-Teitler 
Originally posted 13 DEC 22

Here is an excerpt:

Health privacy experts and former regulators said sharing such sensitive medical information with the world’s largest advertising platforms threatens patient privacy and trust and could run afoul of unfair business practices laws. They also emphasized that privacy regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) were not built for telehealth. That leaves “ethical and moral gray areas” that allow for the legal sharing of health-related data, said Andrew Mahler, a former investigator at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights.

“I thought I was at this point hard to shock,” said Ari Friedman, an emergency medicine physician at the University of Pennsylvania who researches digital health privacy. “And I find this particularly shocking.”

In October and November, STAT and The Markup signed up for accounts and completed onboarding forms on 50 telehealth sites using a fictional identity with dummy email and social media accounts. To determine what data was being shared by the telehealth sites as users completed their forms, reporters examined the network traffic between trackers using Chrome DevTools, a tool built into Google’s Chrome browser.

On Workit’s site, for example, STAT and The Markup found that a piece of code Meta calls a pixel sent responses about self-harm, drug and alcohol use, and personal information — including first name, email address, and phone number — to Facebook.

The investigation found trackers collecting information on websites that sell everything from addiction treatments and antidepressants to pills for weight loss and migraines. Despite efforts to trace the data using the tech companies’ own transparency tools, STAT and The Markup couldn’t independently confirm how or whether Meta and the other tech companies used the data they collected.

After STAT and The Markup shared detailed findings with all 50 companies, Workit said it had changed its use of trackers. When reporters tested the website again on Dec. 7, they found no evidence of tech platform trackers during the company’s intake or checkout process.

“Workit Health takes the privacy of our members seriously,” Kali Lux, a spokesperson for the company, wrote in an email. “Out of an abundance of caution, we elected to adjust the usage of a number of pixels for now as we continue to evaluate the issue.”

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Frequently asked questions about abortion laws and psychology practice

American Psychological Association
Updated 1 SEPT 2022

Since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, many states have proposed, enacted, or resurrected a range of laws to either prohibit, significantly restrict, or protect reproductive rights and health care. Currently, the main targets of these laws appear to be medical providers who provide abortions or individuals seeking to obtain an abortion.

APA and APA Services Inc. are striving to provide psychologists with accurate and adequate information about the potential impact on them of reproductive health care laws. Since psychologists have embraced telehealth and many use technology to provide services across state lines, it’s important to be familiar with the laws governing the jurisdiction(s) where you are licensed as well as the jurisdiction(s) where your patients live.

In addition to this FAQ and other APA resources, psychologists will want to be familiar with guidance issued by federal and state agencies, their state licensing board(s), and their liability carrier. Some frequently asked questions follow.

While the situation is dynamic, good psychological practice remains unchanged. The changing landscape in states regarding access to reproductive health care does not change the fundamental approach to psychological care. Psychologists should continue to prioritize the welfare of their patients, protect confidentiality, and ensure their patients’ safety.

Practicing in states with changing abortion laws

Am I practicing in a state where abortion is, or is soon to be, illegal under all or certain circumstances?

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has put the regulation of abortion in the hands of states. In anticipation of the ruling, 13 states enacted “trigger laws,” designed to ban or restrict abortion upon the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade. Not all trigger laws immediately kicked in, and some that did were immediately challenged in court, delaying their enforcement.

Staying current on laws affecting the states where you practice is important. For a list of existing abortion bans and restrictions within each state, the Center for Reproductive Rights has provided a map that is updated in real time. The Guttmacher Institute, a well-respected research group that collects information on abortion laws across the United States, also tracks current state abortion-related laws.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

What One Health System Learned About Providing Digital Services in the Pandemic

Marc Harrison
Harvard Business Review
Originally posted 11 Dec 20

Here are two excerpts:

Lesson 2: Digital care is safer during the pandemic.

A patient who’s tested positive for Covid doesn’t have to go see her doctor or go into an urgent care clinic to discuss her symptoms. Doctors and other caregivers who are providing virtual care for hospitalized Covid patients don’t face increased risk of exposure. They also don’t have to put on personal protective equipment, step into the patient’s room, then step outside and take off their PPE. We need those supplies, and telehealth helps us preserve it.

Intermountain Healthcare’s virtual hospital is especially well-suited for Covid patients. It works like this: In a regular hospital, you come into the ER, and we check you out and think you’re probably going to be okay, but you’re sick enough that we want to monitor you. So, we admit you.

With our virtual hospital — which uses a combination of telemedicine, home health, and remote patient monitoring — we send you home with a technology kit that allows us to check how you’re doing. You’ll be cared for by a virtual team, including a hospitalist who monitors your vital signs around the clock and home health nurses who do routine rounding. That’s working really well: Our clinical outcomes are excellent, our satisfaction scores are through the roof, and it’s less expensive. Plus, it frees up the hospital beds and staff we need to treat our sickest Covid patients.


Lesson 4: Digital tools support the direction health care is headed.

Telehealth supports value-based care, in which hospitals and other care providers are paid based on the health outcomes of their patients, not on the amount of care they provide. The result is a greater emphasis on preventive care — which reduces unsustainable health care costs.

Intermountain serves a large population of at-risk, pre-paid consumers, and the more they use telehealth, the easier it is for them to stay healthy — which reduces costs for them and for us. The pandemic has forced payment systems, including the government’s, to keep up by expanding reimbursements for telehealth services.

This is worth emphasizing: If we can deliver care in lower-cost settings, we can reduce the cost of care. Some examples:
  • The average cost of a virtual encounter at Intermountain is $367 less than the cost of a visit to an urgent care clinic, physician’s office, or emergency department (ED).
  • Our virtual newborn ICU has helped us reduce the number of transports to our large hospitals by 65 a year since 2015. Not counting the clinical and personal benefits, that’s saved $350,000 per year in transportation costs.
  • Our internal study of 150 patients in one rural Utah town showed each patient saved an average of $2,000 in driving expenses and lost wages over a year’s time because he or she was able to receive telehealth care close to home. We also avoided pumping 106,460 kilograms of CO2 into the environment — and (per the following point) the town’s 24-bed hospital earned $1.6 million that otherwise would have shifted to a larger hospital in a bigger town.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

How to Combat Zoom Fatigue

Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy
Harvard Business Review
Originally posted 29 April 20

If you’re finding that you’re more exhausted at the end of your workday than you used to be, you’re not alone. Over the past few weeks, mentions of “Zoom fatigue” have popped up more and more on social media, and Google searches for the same phrase have steadily increased since early March.

Why do we find video calls so draining? There are a few reasons.

In part, it’s because they force us to focus more intently on conversations in order to absorb information. Think of it this way: when you’re sitting in a conference room, you can rely on whispered side exchanges to catch you up if you get distracted or answer quick, clarifying questions. During a video call, however, it’s impossible to do this unless you use the private chat feature or awkwardly try to find a moment to unmute and ask a colleague to repeat themselves.

The problem isn’t helped by the fact that video calls make it easier than ever to lose focus. We’ve all done it: decided that, why yes, we absolutely can listen intently, check our email, text a friend, and post a smiley face on Slack within the same thirty seconds. Except, of course, we don’t end up doing much listening at all when we’re distracted. Adding fuel to the fire is many of our work-from-home situations. We’re no longer just dialing into one or two virtual meetings. We’re also continuously finding polite new ways to ask our loved ones not to disturb us, or tuning them out as they army crawl across the floor to grab their headphones off the dining table. For those who don’t have a private space to work, it is especially challenging.

Finally, “Zoom fatigue” stems from how we process information over video. On a video call the only way to show we’re paying attention is to look at the camera. But, in real life, how often do you stand within three feet of a colleague and stare at their face? Probably never. This is because having to engage in a “constant gaze” makes us uncomfortable — and tired. In person, we are able to use our peripheral vision to glance out the window or look at others in the room. On a video call, because we are all sitting in different homes, if we turn to look out the window, we worry it might seem like we’re not paying attention.

The info is here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

A Psychological Exploration of Zoom Fatigue

Jena Lee
Psychiatric Times
Originally published 27 July 20

Here is an excerpt:

This neuropathophysiology may explain other proposed reasons for Zoom fatigue. For example, if the audio delays inherent in Zoom technology are associated with more negative perceptions and distrust between people, there is likely decreased reward perceived when those people are videoconferencing with each other. Another example is direct mutual gaze. There is robust evidence on how eye contact improves connection—faster responses, more memorization of faces, and increased likeability and attractiveness. These tools of social bonding that make interactions organically rewarding are all compromised over video. On video, gaze must be directed at the camera to appear as if you are making eye contact with an observer, and during conferences with 3 or more people, it can be impossible to distinguish mutual gaze between any 2 people.

Not only are rewards lessened via these social disconnections during videoconferencing compared to in-person interactions, but there are also elevated costs in the form of cognitive effort. Much of communication is actually unconscious and nonverbal, as emotional content is rapidly processed through social cues like touch, joint attention, and body posture. These nonverbal cues are not only used to acquire information about others, but are also directly used to prepare an adaptive response and engage in reciprocal communication, all in a matter of milliseconds. However, on video, most of these cues are difficult to visualize, since the same environment is not shared (limiting joint attention) and both subtle facial expressions and full bodily gestures may not be captured. Without the help of these unconscious cues on which we have relied since infancy to socioemotionally assess each other and bond, compensatory cognitive and emotional effort is required. In addition, this increased cost competes for people’s attention with acutely elevated distractions such as multitasking, the home environment (eg, family, lack of privacy), and their mirror image on the screen. Simply put, videoconferences can be associated with low reward and high cost.

The info is here.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Telehealth use jumps at inpatient settings

Shannon Muchmore
Originally posted August 6, 2019

Here is an excerpt:

Hospital-owned outpatient facilities were more likely to use telehealth than those not owned by hospitals. Outpatient facilities tended to use patient portals or apps more than inpatient respondents but also had broad adoption of hub and spoke models.

Still, providers in a variety of settings keeping a close watch on possibilities and wanting to stay at the forefront of the technology, said Kate Shamsuddin, SVP of strategy at Definitive.

The results "show how telehealth continues to be one of the core linchpins" for providers, she told Healthcare Dive.

The inpatient report found telehealth use jumped from 54% when the survey was first taken in 2014 to 85% in 2019. The most common model is hub and spoke (65%), followed by patient portals or apps (40%), concierge services (29%) and clinical- and consumer-grade remote patient monitoring.

The tech most often used in that setting was two-way video between physician and patient. That is also the category respondents said they were most likely to invest in for the future.​ Shamsuddin said hospitals and health systems tend to have a broader mixture in the types of technologies they use due to their larger budgets and scale.

The info is here.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Doctors are burning out twice as fast as other workers. The problem's costing the US $4.6 billion each year.

Lydia Ramsey
Originally posted May 31, 2019

Here is an excerpt:

To avoid burnout, some doctors have turned to alternative business models.

That includes new models like direct primary care, which charges a monthly fee and doesn't take insurance. Through direct primary care, doctors manage the healthcare of fewer patients than they might in a traditional model. That frees them up to spend more time with patients and ideally help them get healthier.

It's a model that has been adopted by independent doctors who would otherwise have left medicine, with insurers and even the government starting to take notes on the new approach.

Others have chosen to set their own hours by working for sites that virtually link up patients with doctors.

Even so, it'll take more to cut through the note-taking and other tedious tasks that preoccupy doctors, from primary-care visits to acute surgery. It has prompted some to look into ways to alleviate how much work they do on their computers for note-taking purposes by using new technology like artificial-intelligence voice assistants.

The info is here.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ethical concerns for telemental health therapy amidst governmental surveillance.

Samuel D. Lustgarten and Alexander J. Colbow
American Psychologist, Vol 72(2), Feb-Mar 2017, 159-170.


Technology, infrastructure, governmental support, and interest in mental health accessibility have led to a burgeoning field of telemental health therapy (TMHT). Psychologists can now provide therapy via computers at great distances and little cost for parties involved. Growth of TMHT within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and among psychologists surveyed by the American Psychological Association (APA) suggests optimism in this provision of services (Godleski, Darkins, & Peters, 2012; Jacobsen & Kohout, 2010). Despite these advances, psychologists using technology must keep abreast of potential limitations to privacy and confidentiality. However, no scholarly articles have appraised the ramifications of recent government surveillance disclosures (e.g., “The NSA Files”; Greenwald, 2013) and how they might affect TMHT usage within the field of psychology. This article reviews the current state of TMHT in psychology, APA’s guidelines, current governmental threats to client privacy, and other ethical ramifications that might result. Best practices for the field of psychology are proposed.

The article is here.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Why It's So Hard to Get Mental Healthcare in Rural America

By Syrena Clark
Vice News
October 7, 2016

Here is an excerpt:

Conditions in rural areas can also exacerbate mental-health problems. One in five adults suffers from mental illness, but in rural areas, rates of depression and suicide attempts are significantly higher than in urban areas, according to a report by the Center for Rural Affairs. Mostly because of isolation and poverty. For people who can't afford or access mental healthcare, some turn to self-medication, treating symptoms with drugs, alcohol, and self-harm, worsening their own illnesses. Where I live, it's easier to buy Klonopin from a dealer than it is from a psychiatrist.

After years of inadequate treatment, I swallowed an entire bottle of Gabapentin, a type of seizure medication. My goal was to die. When I was later strapped into an ambulance, the drive to the hospital was over an hour. I got better there, but after six days, I was discharged. It was far too soon, but there simply weren't enough beds to stay.

Mackie said his organization and others are investing in programs that will bring more attention to mental healthcare in rural areas, including programs that "[educate] people in rural areas to be able to provide assistance and care at a basic level," so as to start a pipeline of people who can later become licensed mental-health professionals.

The article is here.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Ethical Considerations Prompt New Telemedicine Rules

American Medical Association
Press Release
Originally released June 13, 2016

With the increasing use of telemedicine and telehealth technologies, delegates at the 2016 AMA Annual Meeting adopted new policy that outlines ethical ground rules for physicians using these technologies to treat patients.

The guidelines

The policy, based on a report from the AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, notes that while physicians’ fundamental ethical responsibilities don’t change when providing telemedicine, new technology has given rise to the need for further guidance.

“Telehealth and telemedicine are another stage in the ongoing evolution of new models for the delivery of care and patient-physician interactions,” AMA Board Member Jack Resneck, MD, said in a news release. “The new AMA ethical guidance notes that while new technologies and new models of care will continue to emerge, physicians’ fundamental ethical responsibilities do not change.”

The pressor is here.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Telepsychology, Telehealth, & Internet-Based Therapy

From Ken Pope's site

I gathered the following resources to help therapists, counselors, and other clinicians to keep abreast of the rapidly evolving professional guidelines, research, treatments, innovations, and practices in the areas of telepsychology, telehealth, internet-based therapy.

I've divided the resources into 3 sections:

1) Links to 24 sets of professional guidelines that focus on telepsychology, online counseling, internet-based therapy, etc.

2) Citations for 51 recent (i.e., published in 2013-2015) articles

3) State Psychology Board Telepsychology Laws, Regulations, Policies, & Opinions--This third section was generously compiled by psychologist Kenneth R. Drude, and I am indebted to him for his kind offer to post it here.

The resource page is here.

I will link it in the Guides and Guidelines section of this site.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Physicians Lead the Way to Interstate Practice

By Ross Friedberg, Brandon Ge, Rene Quashie, and Bonnie Scott
Epstein, Becker, and Green
Originally posted February 21, 2014

A significant barrier to the interstate practice of telehealth is closer to being broken down. The Federation of State Medical Boards ("FSMB") recently completed and distributed a draft Interstate Medical Licensure Compact ("Compact"), which is designed to facilitate physician licensure portability and the practice of interstate telehealth. The Compact would create an additional licensure pathway through which physicians would be able to obtain expedited licensure in participating states. As the FSMB notes in the draft, the Compact "complements the existing licensing and regulatory authority of state medical boards, ensures the safety of patients, and provides physicians with enhanced portability of their license to practice medicine outside their state of primary licensure."

The entire article is here.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

New bill breaks down telehealth barriers

By Eric Wicklund
Healthcare IT News
Originally published September 13, 2013

A bill introduced in Congress this week would enable healthcare providers to treat Medicare patients in other states via telemedicine without needing different licenses for each state.

The "TELEmedicine for MEDicare Act", or HR 3077, was introduced Sept. 10 in the House by Reps. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and Frank Pallone, D-N.J. Nicknamed the TELE-MED Act, it seeks to update current licensure laws "to account for rapid technological advances in medicine," according to its sponsors.

“By reducing bureaucratic and legal barriers between Medicare patients and their doctors, it expands medical access and choice for America’s seniors and the disabled,” Nunes said in a statement.

The entire story is here.

Friday, July 12, 2013

ATA Responds to CMS Proposal for Expanded Telemedicine Coverage

Press Release
The American Telemedicine Association
Originally published July 10, 2013

The American Telemedicine Association voices its cautious support for new proposals by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that would expand Medicare’s telehealth footprint.  CMS proposes to increase the number of beneficiaries eligible for telemedicine by modifying their urban/rural definitions and proposes several new reimbursable telemedicine services.

“Overall, the proposed rules are good news for Medicare patients and forward-thinking healthcare providers. We applaud CMS for taking steps to help these patients benefit from proven telemedicine technologies,” said Jonathan Linkous, Chief Executive Officer of the American Telemedicine Association. "But many potential beneficiaries are still left behind.  For example, we hope that either CMS or Congress take additional steps to restore telehealth benefits to the one million beneficiaries in 104 counties that lost coverage last year due to reclassification to metropolitan areas.”

The entire story is here.

Thanks to Alex Siegel for this information

Saturday, May 25, 2013

VETS Act Expands Veterans Access to Care, Protects Patient Safety

The American Telemedicine Association strongly supports the proposed Veterans E-Health and Telemedicine Support Act (H.R. 2001,) lauding it as a key step in improving healthcare quality by minimizing regulatory barriers for interstate telemedicine.

Press Release
The American Telemedicine Association
Originally published May 16, 2013

The American Telemedicine Association voices its strong support for the new Veterans E-Health and Telemedicine Support Act (H.R. 2001) as one key step in lowering regulatory barriers to 21st century healthcare. The bi-partisan bill, introduced by Representatives Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and cosponsored by 21 Members of Congress, would permit U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health professionals to treat veterans nationwide with a single state license.

This bill, known as the VETS Act, builds on the unanimous congressional enactment of the 2011 STEP Act (Servicemembers' Telemedicine and E-Health Portability Act,) which provides a similar provision for healthcare providers in the U.S. Department of Defense. A similar licensing rule for patients and providers of Medicare, Medicaid and other major federal health programs was included in a comprehensive telemedicine bill submitted by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) in December 2012.

“These bills are a simple way, while preserving the states’ role to license, to address shortages of medical specialists, to improve patient access to the best qualified physicians, and to accommodate mobile Americans and multi-state health plans,” said Jonathan Linkous, Chief Executive Officer of the American Telemedicine Association. “They accommodate both patient choice and patient safety. We would like to see a similar act for all federal patients and providers.”

Presently, most providers who practice interstate telemedicine must be licensed both where the patient and provider are physically located. Such regulation increases the cost of healthcare and is an artificial barrier, favoring the business interests of local physicians over patient choice. Some state medical boards are even imposing stricter licensing requirements for telehealth providers than they do for in-person care, such as requiring a prior face-to-face examination for each and every case.

“Access to quality healthcare is, ultimately, the foremost safety issue for the patient,” concluded Linkous. “It’s time that we allow patients to make an appointment and see a qualified licensed health provider regardless of where the patient or provider is located."

About the American Telemedicine Association

The American Telemedicine Association is the leading international resource and advocate promoting the use of advanced remote medical technologies. ATA and its diverse membership, works to fully integrate telemedicine into transformed healthcare systems to improve quality, equity and affordability of healthcare throughout the world. Established in 1993, ATA is headquartered in Washington, DC.

For more information visit http://www.americantelemed.org.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Physician Study Finds Similar Outcomes From In-Person, Telehealth Consultations

By Jonathan Field
Managing Editor - The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism

Thanks to health care reform and technological innovations in the private sector, the telehealth market is booming. And it is having a direct impact on the physician-patient relationship and on the health costs associated with an employer-sponsored health plan.

The industry predicts continued, strong growth. According to a recent market analysis by IMS Research, the telehealth market will grow by 55 percent in 2013 after growing only 5 percent from 2010 to 2011 and 18 percent from 2011 to 2012. And a 2012 report by BCC Research, the Wellesley, Mass.-based market research firm, predicted that the global telehealth market was expected to double from $11.6 billion in 2011 to over $27 billion in 2016.

InMedica, leading independent provider of market research and consultancy to the global medical electronics industry, predicts that in by 2017 the telehealth market will reach 1.8 million patients -- up from 300,000 in last year. The research firm attributes growth to four sectors of demand: federal, provider, payer and patient. For more details on the projected growth of telehealth market, view InMedica's new report The World Market for Telehealth – An Analysis of Demand Dynamics – 2012.

The entire article is here.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Arizona studies envision telemedicine on smartphones

By: Lorri Allen
Cronkite News Service
Originally published: Nov 21, 2012

Until now, telemedicine has largely involved capital-intensive studios and cameras isolated to one area of a hospital. But the Mayo Clinic and a University of Arizona center dedicated to telemedicine are pioneering work aimed at moving care to smartphones.

That means practicing medicine in remote and underserved communities will become cheaper, quicker and more effective, according to Dr. Bart Demaerschalk, a neurologist at Mayo Clinic Hospital.

"What we're attempting to do is to make it even easier for the clinical specialist to insert themselves in a virtual manner for the patient in the remote environment," he said. "A mobile device should fulfill that goal."

Dr. Ronald Weinstein, director of the Arizona Telemedicine Program, sees it as a natural progression.

"Telemedicine is rapidly evolving into being next-generation or even a generation beyond by going to mobile health or e-health, and the concept du jour is that the smartphone is the telemedicine workstation," he said.

That's happening at Benson Hospital, where health care workers use Skype on iPads to save time.

"It's very low-cost and it's to facilitate communication between our ER docs and admissions," said John Roberts, information technology director.

The entire story is here.