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mHealth

Good News from Washington: Congress and CMS are Embracing Telehealth

Medicare providers will now be paid for “virtual check-ins” with patients.

The 115th Congress (2017-2018) took big steps forward for telehealth.

First, members introduced 119 bills that included the term “telehealth” or “telemedicine,” a 42% increase over telehealth legislation introduced in the 114th Congress.

Second, the bipartisan Congressional Telehealth Caucus formed to “discuss how best to improve remote care to Americans who need it most.” Yes, you read that right: Bipartisan! There is enormous bipartisan support for telehealth in Congress.

Heading Into 2019 - Hopes & Expectations for Telehealth

2018 had many successes in the telehealth arena – check out some of our past blogs for highlights! There is, however, still much to be accomplished, so looking forward we asked our colleagues around the country what they are looking forward to in 2019. We hope you find some inspiration, new directions and novel ideas in these thoughts to help guide your 2019 adventures in telehealth!

Elizabeth A Krupinski, Ph.D.
Co-Director, Southwest Telehealth Resource Center
The SWTRC is looking forward to watching trends in artificial intelligence (AI) and how it can not only impact Telehealth and healthcare in general, but how AI companies and investigators will effectively and efficiently integrate AI into the clinical information environment and workflow. Being embedded in an academic environment also provides us with some unique opportunities to partner on grants with others developing and expanding their Telehealth footprint, and the SWTRC looks forward to be a vital part of these grants and helping provide training and related Telehealth expertise.

Ronald S. Weinstein, MD, FCAP, FATA
Co-Director, Southwest Telehealth Resource Center
I'm looking forward to leveraging the vast potential that emerging 5G mobile cellular phone technologies promise to deliver to the health care industry.  5G delivers gigabit speeds, reduced latency, higher system capacity, and the massive device connectivity needed for optimizing personalized patient care. 5G networks will enable new classes of digital technologies aimed at improving treatment outcomes. Telehealth's "e-classrooms–of-the future" will promote greater patient participation in their personal healthcare teams while addressing, at the same time, the need for significant improvements in US population health literacy across the entire country.

SEARCH 2018 – Proving the Power of Telehealth Research

Members of the National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers attend and participated at the SEARCH2018

The 2018 SEARCH (Society for Education and the Advancement of Research in Connected Health) meeting was the first held by this group of dedicated telehealth researchers since the Society was formed earlier this year. The meeting was jointly organized and hosted by SEARCH, the West Health Institute and the National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers (NCTRC). It was held at the West Health facilities in San Diego, CA October 24th and 25th. About 150 people attended from a wide variety of backgrounds and there were 47 presenters, all with a passion for proving (or disproving) the benefits of connected health through the conduct of rigorous investigations.

4th Annual Service Provider Summit – If You Missed It You Missed a Lot!

The 4th Annual Telemedicine & Telehealth Service Provider Summit (SPS https://ttspsworld.com/), sponsored by the Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) and Southwest Telehealth Resource Center (SWTRC), was held October 8-9 in Glendale, AZ, and attracted an all-time high of nearly 400 attendees! SPS continues to be unique in its intent to bring together telemedicine service providers and users in a collaborative and interactive venue that provides the opportunity to learn from each other. SPS, as in past years, was organized and hosted by Drs. Dale Alverson, Elizabeth Krupinski, and Ronald Weinstein. The ATP team contributed innumerable hours (especially Nancy Rowe and Kris Erps), support, and enthusiasm to put the meeting on and deserves many kudos and thanks (Cassandra Coray, Ellen Dudzik, Kris Erps, Mike Holcomb, Angel Holtrust, Bob Kerr, Janet Major, Chris Martin, Karen Miller, Nancy Rowe, Tracy Skinner)!

Tailoring telehealth programs to kids

Children have long been recognized as a population with significant challenges accessing medical care, most notably due to a limited number of pediatric specialists who are concentrated at children’s hospitals in urban settings. And the very nature of face-to-face, traditional health care may place a disproportionate burden on low-income and rural based families.

This is particularly true in the large geographic region served by Children’s Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Top 20: SWTRC States Listed Among Telehealth’s “Most Progressive”

The Southwest Telehealth Resource Center has scored a hit!

Or, you might say, five hits!

 Established in 2009 by the Arizona Telemedicine Program, with funding from the federal Health Resources and Service Administration’s Office for the Advancement of Telehealth, SWTRC serves telehealth programs in five southwestern states: Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.

Where Has All The Telemedicine Research Gone?

Have you been to any telemedicine meetings lately and wondered what’s happened to the basic research presentations? Surely it can’t be that we’ve solved all the challenges and finally proved to everyone that telemedicine really does have all the advantages we’ve been touting for years. 

No, there’s still a lot to discover and basic research is alive and well. The reality is that times change as do societies, tradeshows and conferences. It’s not a bad thing and there are lots of very useful, educational and productive telehealth meetings to choose from and attend. It all depends on what you are looking for. For example, the Service Provider Summit (SPS https://ttspsworld.com/) is a great national conference focusing on linking telemedicine and telehealth service provider companies with hospitals, healthcare systems, clinics and others who need their services. 

In-Home Telehealth Care for Patients on Medicaid: Coming Soon to a State Near You?

In its spring 2018 update on state telehealth laws and reimbursement policies, the Center for Connected Health Policy reported a patient-friendly trend in telehealth and telemedicine delivery to home-bound patients.  Ten states have revised their policies to recognize a Medicaid patient’s home as an “originating site” – a policy change enacted to improve patients’ access to care.

The 10 states are Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.

Universality Of Mankind

Chaco Canyon located in northwestern New Mexico

A great thing about America's Southwest is the diversity of its people.  Although many cultures call it home, it truly is Indian Country. The Navajo Nation with over 300,000 population encompasses more than 27,000 square miles of the states of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.  Along with several other tribes and pueblos, they have a dominating presence.  Many of us in healthcare deal with this wonderful group of people on a daily basis. My personal experiences with them have been very rewarding and enlightening.  Over the years I have learned much and developed a high regard and respect for their way and philosophy of life.

It is fascinating how similar their beliefs are to many old world cultures and customs.  It clearly is a testament to the universality of mankind.

Smart Ways to Get Peace of Mind With Aging Parents

With a large generation entering retirement and quickly approaching their senior years, a growing segment of the population is seeking ways to stay in touch with, and care for, their loved ones. The good news is that today’s smart home technology makes it simple to care for aging parents, whether they live with you or are hundreds of miles away. Here are a few key functions and products to consider that can provide peace of mind.

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