Age-inclusive Telehealth: What is it? How can we achieve it?


As a geriatrician, I serve as a primary care physician for older adults. In my practice, there are patients across the continuum of medical complexity with all levels of physical and cognitive functioning. A universal theme I see in practice is that it’s hard to keep up with health, healthcare, and health insurance plans. It can be challenging for my patients to come into the office for an in-person visit. They may have to drive a long distance, their medical appointment may interfere with their routine, such as a weekly exercise class, or if they have limited mobility, leaving the house is a feat and getting into the clinic can be quite burdensome. 

AI's impact on healthcare and telemedicine


The current and future potential impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on healthcare, particularly in relation to telemedicine, is huge. Presented here are just a few of the more exciting technologies and their potential for use and impact in telehealth applications.

With ambient clinical listening technologies (AI-based scribes), advanced, voice-enabled AI tools automatically document patient encounters and free-flowing conversation between physicians, patients, and families. An advantage of using AI scribes in a telemedicine setting is that providers can focus more continuously on their consultation with the patient, eliminating the need to divert their attention away from the patient for note taking. Using AI scribes can save providers significant amounts of time as the burden to create accurate notes or encounter summaries in the electronic health record is reduced as it can be done automatically with minimal editing. Some AI scribe products also include predictive tools that can analyze the conversations, provide feedback, and assist with order placement, future appointment scheduling, or prescriptions, which can help reduce provider burnout, save time, and help ensure that all topics discussed are properly coordinated.

HHS SAMHSA final rule makes PHE opioid-related telehealth flexibilities permanent


On February 2, 2024, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), published a final rule that expands on, and makes permanent, certain opioid-related telehealth flexibilities initiated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the rule, authorized providers will be able to start patients on buprenorphine or methadone—medications used to treat opioid use disorders—pursuant to a telehealth visit and without needing an in-person visit.

2024 Medicare telehealth billing and reimbursement updates with Carol Yarbrough


In the ever-evolving landscape of Medicare coverage, the 2024 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) brings crucial updates to telehealth billing and reimbursement.

During a recent Southwest Telehealth Resource Center webinar presentation, “`Tis The Season: For The 2024 MPFS Telehealth Billing & Reimbursement Updates,” Carol Yarbrough, MBA, CCA, CPC, OCS, CHC, a healthcare compliance and reimbursement specialist, discussed the intricacies of the 2024 MPFS changes affecting telehealth along with their impact on providers and patients alike.

SEARCH 2023: Back in-person and a huge success


Virtual? In-person? Hybrid? These were the decisions faced by the officers and advisory committee of the Society for Education and the Advancement of Research in Connected Health (SEARCH) after three years of virtual events due to COVID. By 2023, the weariness of virtual meetings had taken its toll, so in-person it was. The outcome exceeded expectations. The National Telehealth Research Symposium in 2023 turned out to be a resounding success!

As in previous years, the meeting would not have succeeded without the support of collaborating organizations, and this year we had six partners return: the Medical University of South Carolina National Telehealth Center of Excellence, the National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers, SPROUT (Supporting Pediatric Research on Outcomes and Utilization of Telehealth), the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Institute for Digital Health & Innovation, the UAMS Translational Research Institute, and the University of Mississippi Medical Center National Telehealth Center of Excellence. New for 2023 was a collaboration with the American Heart Association (AHA).

Want better access to telehealth and healthcare? Start with digital equity and inclusion


Conversations around healthcare increasingly center on digital equity and inclusion, especially as more communities across the country embrace telehealth, expand broadband connectivity, and consequently recognize the importance, more than ever, of digital literacy.

According to Jaleen Johnson, program manager for the Northwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center (NRTRC), social determinants of health have long been connected to digital literacy and broadband connectivity. However, to better understand that relationship, digital equity and inclusion must first be defined, and an explanation provided as to why these concepts are important, and how they relate to healthcare.

SEARCH symposium returns with American Heart Association partnership


SEARCH 2023 – The National Telehealth Research Symposium connects health researchers, academics and visionaries in telehealth and telemedicine to share findings and foster research partnerships. The annual conference, hosted by the Society for Education and Advancement in Research in Connected Health, focuses on research of telemedicine, telehealth, eHealth, and other healthcare technologies. This year’s conference on November 7-9 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania will feature research presentations on AI, behavioral health, and more.

SWTRC hosts Nevada healthcare professionals virtually and in-person in unique conference that took place in Carson City, Reno and Las Vegas


“This telehealth conference has been over a year in the making. We've been wanting to do this for some time ... I'm thrilled that this is happening,” John Packham said, welcoming healthcare providers gathered at University of Nevada–Reno, simultaneously connecting with others located in Carson City at the Nevada Health Centers, Las Vegas at UNLV, and virtually.

Packham, Associate Dean for the Office of Statewide Initiatives, University of Nevada–Reno, School of Medicine, added the timing of the conference was perfect with the dust setting on the pandemic.

New Mexico telehealth partnership allows newborns in critical care to stay close to home


Until earlier this year, newborn infants in the Four Corners region of New Mexico, born prematurely or with unique health problems requiring specialty care, were typically transported to neonatal intensive care units at larger hospitals hours from home.

According to Dr. Bradley Scoggins, the purchase of an Amwell telemedicine cart and a new telehealth partnership with Presbyterian Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) team in Albuquerque, NM has helped keep more infants at the San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington, NM.

Supporters of new Arizona telemedicine law say pets will receive greater access to care


From Dr. Steven Hansen’s Arizona Humane Society office, you may have heard a sigh of relief when Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signed Senate Bill 1053 into law on May 9. Beginning in August, veterinarians licensed in the state will legally be able to provide veterinary care through telemedicine, a care alternative many have become accustomed to on the human side of healthcare.

Currently, there’s a six-week waiting list for pet owners who need the Humane Society’s subsidized services at their clinics in Maricopa County. Bringing telemedicine into the picture will make a difference.