News & Events

National Telehealth Research Symposium 2019: Collaboration at its Best

Some members of SEARCH, SPROUT and local NTRS organizing committee at the poster session and networking event.

Successful meetings don’t just happen. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into the planning, organization and execution of these events. The National Telehealth Research Symposium 2019 that was recently held in Chicago is a perfect example of how organizations with common goals can collaborate to create a top-tier meeting (without any vendor support or involvement!) to promote research in connected health and telemedicine. The NTRS 2019 meeting was put together by SEARCH (the Society for Education and the Advancement of Research in Connected Health) and SPROUT (Supporting Pediatric Research on Outcomes and Utilization of Telehealth; a group within the American Academy of Pediatrics). SEARCH’s mission is to promote a platform for researchers, free from commercial bias, to prove the benefits of Connected Health via their annual symposium, with the goal of sharing research findings and to foster collaborations among researchers and organizations who wish to define, develop, and contribute to the field of connected health research. SPROUT’s mission is to promote, develop, and disseminate multicenter value-driven research on pediatric telehealth with the goals of identifying best practices for implementation of pediatric telehealth, determining the impact of telehealth on healthcare quality, and establishing a network of institutions to conduct collaborative research on pediatric telehealth.

Climbing Higher: SWTRC & Colorado Colleagues Host Telehealth Symposium
Picture of audiance at Aurora, CO Telehealth Syposium
Elizabeth Krupinski Wed 09/04/19, 05:09

The Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) and the SWTRC have been conducting telemedicine training sessions for nearly 20 years and hosting regional telemedicine meetings for at least as long as well. Most have been within the state of Arizona, and although they have attracted attendees from throughout the Southwest region as well as the rest of the nation and world, we felt it’s time to expand our efforts and work more with our long-time partners in the region to promote telemedicine. To aid in this effort, the SWTRC received supplemental funding to our existing grant (as did all the TRCs) from HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration) to co-host telehealth meetings in our designated regional states. First stop – CO!

Seniors Stepping into the World Wide Web

Blog Image of 2 people talking

The idea of having seniors use the internet on a daily basis was something not a lot of people expected. However, as the years went by, even this group couldn’t stay immune to the addictiveness of modern-day technologies and the internet.

More and more, older people today own a smartphone, and for one or another reason, they choose to spend a portion of their time on the internet. How and why they use it are clearly demonstrated in a piece by MediaAlertHelp, which details some reasons for using internet-based health aids and helps us understand some reasons that drive seniors to use technology and the internet, and how they use it.

How Telepsychiatry Is Increasing Access to Care

Blog Image 2 people with video screen

There is no other area of my life that I am more passionate about than the accessibility of mental health providers.

Some of the people I love the most live with multiple behavioral health diagnoses and have had life-long battles with addiction. I’ve lost loved ones due to not getting the help they need. I’ve also been on the other end of the phone trying to get someone the help they need and received the frustrating response that appointments are booked out weeks, sometimes even months.

Telehealth – It’s Not About the Technology - But Let’s talk About it Anyway!

Image of the banner for TelehealthTechnology.org

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times – telehealth is not about the technology it’s about the people. However – the technology is always there and sometimes it’s worth taking a look at what people are using and what future technologies they might be interested in. Luckily the National Telehealth Technology Assessment Center (TTAC; http://www.telehealthtechnology.org/), a member of the National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers, does just that! They recently came out with their 2018 survey results and provided a comparison with 2014 survey results to assess trends and changes. The survey was sent to all 50 states and I don’t want to brag but will anyway – Arizona had the most respondents and Colorado and New Mexico were also in the top 10!

Telehealth Reimbursement: What You Don’t Know Could Hurt You!

Image of a slide about Rules for telehealth reimbursement

Telemedicine reimbursement is always a hot topic but even hotter with the new CMS regulations.  On February 7, 2019, Jordana Bernard the Director for Policy and Public Affairs at InTouch Health, was the guest presenter for the Southwest Telehealth Resource Center and the Arizona Telemedicine Program webinar series.  The webinar reached over 500 individuals across the US and a few international folks joined in too! Jordana provided a concise and informative overview of all the latest changes in telehealth reimbursement. It was recorded and archived on our website along with her slide deck and a couple of useful handouts (e.g., the list of 98 CPTs that are reimbursed), so if you missed it think about taking the time to view it. These, along with all our previous webinars, can be found at https://telemedicine.arizona.edu/webinars/previous .

Artificial Intelligence & Teleradiology: Like It or Leave It?

Image about RSNA Machine Learning Showcase

Practically everywhere you turn today, AI, or artificial intelligence, (aka deep learning and machine learning) pops up as the must have, coolest thing since robots and thinking machines were first introduced in popular literature and films. After all, who doesn’t want a car that can sense when it’s safe to change lanes, stop before hitting the deer in the road and even drive itself?

There is little doubt that AI already has and will continue to revolutionize the world and thereby healthcare. For example, the past five years at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) annual meeting -- the world’s largest radiology meeting, attracting over 50,000 people to Chicago -- have seen an explosion in the number of vendors promoting AI in their products, and the number of scientific talks and courses on the topic. The 2018 meeting in November was no exception – I swear, every single vendor must have had “AI” advertised somewhere on their booth. Throughout the meeting sessions, AI, deep learning and machine learning topics permeated presentations.

Good News from Washington: Congress and CMS are Embracing Telehealth

Practitioner on phone call

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

Image of 2019 printed on a highway

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.