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Yesterday, Zoom hosted a webinar, Video Telemedicine and Patient Care – A Game-Changing Technology. The Zoom Video Webinar featured Don Ross, Founder and Managing Director of HealthTech Capital, and Dr. Ron Pion, Founder of Visual Collaboration Innovation and Clinical Professor OB-GYN at UCLA Medical School. This telemedicine dream team discussed current trends in telemedicine and patient care, key growth drivers in telemedicine, and how technology like Zoom will help to transform doctor-patient communications.
In case you missed the webinar, here are five key take-aways we wanted to share:
Telehealth describes the broader phenomenon of digitizing healthcare. It includes storing and sharing medical information such as patient images, patient monitoring (especially for home healthcare), and video consulting.
Telemedicine is a subset of telehealth that is primarily real-time video consultations.
There have been some barriers to widespread telmedicine implementation in the past, but we’ve also seen big strides in the face of these barriers.
Among the challenges…
Technology limitations such as bandwidth and difficult-to-use, unreliable video conferencing services.
–> How it’s changing: networks have improved over the past few years, we now have next-generation video collaboration tools such as Zoom, and the general population has become more tech-savvy.
Reimbursement issues with telemedicine, especially for medicare and medicaid.
–> How it’s changing: reimbursements are expanding, and the Affordable Care Act’s focus on telehealth and cost-efficiencies is helping to make this a priority.
Liability and licensing is an issue because physicians only licensed within a state can only help people in that state.
–> How it’s changing: there is still a lot these doctors can do using telemedicine within their state, and some practices are finding legal ways around these issues via partnerships. We can look to Australia’s national licensing as a model for the future.
Stakeholder buy-in, particularly among doctors and nurses
–> How it’s changing: medical professionals are increasingly seeing the ROI of using telemedicine to bring in specialists and monitor out-patients to reduce readmission. Furthermore, more patients are expecting telemedicine, so more medical professionals need to deliver these services to meet their patient’s requests.
Telemedicine is on the cusp of rapid expansion due to the ongoing changes discussed above. As of 2013, more than 10 million Americans used a telemedicine service that year. This is a lot of people, but keep in mind that there were over 1.2 billion ambulatory care visits in 2010. There is still a lot of room for growth in telehealth.
Among these 10 million Americans using telemedicine are some stand-out success stories that Don Ross shared with us:
Rural areas: Don discussed Montana in particular, where only 17 licensed pediatricians practice in the entire state. A parent in Montana may have to drive for hours just to get properly-trained, licensed medical care for their child. Now they can meet with a doctor within minutes over a telemedicine platform.
Veterans health: Telemedicine has taken off in the VA due to the lack of licensing and reimbursement issues in this network. Telemedicine has been particularly helpful for mental health issues, such as PTSD, because veterans can meet from their homes with their mental health professional instead of driving to one of the far-away VA facilities. Currently 600,000 veteran patients are using telemedicine.
We have strong continuing medical education in the US, but continuing patient education is another critical area for patient success according to Dr. Pion. Patient education lowers hospital readmission rates by making sure they learn how to take care of themselves on a day-to-day basis.
If you missed the webinar, or loved it and want to share it with your friends or colleagues, check out the recording.
We also hope to see you at the following telemedicine events:
Telehealth and Telemedicine Service Provider Showcase, Phoenix AZ, Oct 6-7
HealthTech Conference, San Mateo CA, Oct 14-15