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Southwest Telehealth Resource Center Blog

To respond to the growing need for intensivist support among many facilities in the mountain west, a new service has been created within the University of Utah Health Care's extensive Telehealth System. When a regional hospital lacks intensivist coverage, their primary ICU attending is out sick, the local pulmonologist goes on vacation, or an expanding community ICU service finds itself short-handed, the University of Utah’s TeleICU program is here to help.

The TeleICU program has been implemented for just over a year, with many success stories. Many patients who otherwise may have been transferred to a tertiary center have been able to stay in their community hospitals, near family and support systems, while providing revenue for the local hospital. This virtual intensivist coverage allows our affiliate facilities to function at the top of their skill set, and patients that do require transfer to a larger center can be more rapidly identified.

The benefits of telemedicine and telehealth have been clearly supported over the past 20 years with more than 20,000 research papers published. Telemedicine reduces barriers to care, improves patient access to specialists, helps medical practitioners expand their practice reach, and can realize substantial cost savings for healthcare systems and patients.

As the technology has become more affordable and generic, and states enact parity legislation, the market for commercial telemedicine specialty services is exploding—and this can be a very good thing for healthcare systems, hospitals, clinics, and other organizations facing healthcare provider shortages. But with so many telemedicine service providers out there, the challenge is narrowing down the field to the one that will best fit your organization, your community, and your patients’ needs.

In addition to teaching students reading, writing and the basics of arithmetic, parents expect that school faculty and staff will keep their children safe throughout the day. That’s why the staff of your child’s elementary school includes a nurse as well as educators. But while most schools have a clinic onsite, nursing staff in educational institutions tend to be restricted in the services they’re able to provide, simply due to a lack of effective clinical technology or access to specialty healthcare providers.

Telemedicine may be on board to change all that. Between providing nurses access to other healthcare professionals via remote conferencing and letting school healthcare staff monitor students remotely when necessary, school administrators are ready to give telemedicine an A.

When it comes to telemedicine, navigating the reimbursement process can be tricky. What rules do you need to follow to ensure you get paid? How do you know your patients are eligible for telemedicine? How does the billing process actually work?

We get these questions all the time at eVisit. While the answers vary a bit depending on which payer you’re talking about, it’s usually easiest to start with Medicare.

Are you thinking about moving data (e.g., patient files, images, telemedicine survey data) from that clunky old Yugo computer or storage system to a brand new shiny Ferrari system? Are those happy thoughts or are they clouded by dread and visions of digital monsters eating up all your data and laughing in your face? You are not alone.

Data migration can be painful but there are ways to lessen that pain with careful preparation. First let’s start with a few basic terms. Legacy data is what you have now and want to transfer. Data migration is the process of importing that data into the new system. Data cleansing is getting the old data ready to move – making it compatible with what the new system requires or expects. It’s this last part that is often the most difficult.

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