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Southwest Telehealth Resource Center Blog

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.

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.

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 has become a vital tool to deliver timely and effective medical care, particularly in rural areas.  One hospital in Arizona, Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC), is using telehealth to improve patient satisfaction and treat conditions that would otherwise need the services of a “big-city” hospital.

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 .

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