Texas became the last state in the country to abolish a requirement that the relationship between patient and physician must be started with an in-person visit prior to the use of telemedicine. Governor Greg Abbott signed the landmark legislation on May 27, 2017, paving the way for patients to gain access to the services that telemedicine can offer them.
Texas Demonstrates a Great Need for Telemedicine
Texas seems like an unlikely state to be the last one to sign such a bill. As a state that sprawls over 268,000 square miles, and whose population is dispersed widely, Texas has a great deal of rural poverty with few healthcare services available. In fact, the state ranks 46th when it comes to the number of primary care doctors per capita. There are also 35 counties scattered throughout the state that don’t have a family physician to serve the population, making Texas the ideal market for telemedicine expansion.
Barriers to the Expansion of Telemedicine
Even though telemedicine had already been practiced for several years prior, the Texas Medical Board began restricting its use in 2010. The board cited a prescribing rule, which mandated that physicians must establish a relationship with patients via an in-person visit prior to utilizing telemedicine’s services. Court cases ensued, with litigation dragging on for years.
Governor Abbott’s Action Ends Telemedicine Issue
With Governor Abbott’s signature on Senate Bill 1107 and House Bill 2697, the people of Texas can now access the convenience and expertise of board-certified physicians without unnecessary red tape. This welcome decision brings access to much-needed healthcare to citizens across the state.
On-call services are vitally important for critical health systems like TeleStroke programs, where time is of the essence. Hospital administrators, emergency department staff and stroke coordinators must have a way to instantly connect and coordinate. Current technology makes this type of connection possible.
Here are four signs that your staff needs the latest generation of TeleStroke tech relief.
Bottlenecks in Patient Flow
If the facilities always seem to be overbooked with no relief for new intakes, you will definitely need to invest in a system that gets rid of patient flow bottlenecks. Faster on call services lead to quicker diagnoses and a more even patient count.
Slow Health IT
EHR (electronic health records) usage peaked in 2015 (62.8 percent) with a slight downturn of use last year (59 percent). That leaves a whopping 41 percent still not using the latest technology for their patients. Slower records mean slower treatments and slower receipt of on-call services. If your health IT does not match the speed of the modern generation, upgrading should be a priority.
Communication Between Departments
If patients are slow to receive on-call services, the communication between your departments may need an improvement. The older a population surrounding a hospital, the faster this communication must be in order to maintain healthy movement of patients. Patients should not be required to remember their own records; records should be easily transferrable between departments and referenced during a call.
Complaints With On Call Service
The most telling symptom that your staff may need tech relief is direct complaints from patients about on call service. Upgrading a system from front to back is the best way to avoid on call patients falling victim to preventable problems in transport and intake.
The world of telehealth is growing rapidly all across the country. According to one study, more than half of all hospitals in the United States have currently implemented some type of telehealth or telemedicine program.
Technology devoted to this concept, which was valued at roughly $18 billion in 2014, is expected to grow at a rate of over 18 percent between now and 2020. Another study predicts that telehealth will service roughly 7 million patients by as soon as 2018, up from just 350,000 patients in 2013
These sentiments and others are echoed in the Telehealth Index 2017 Consumer Survey, recently released by American Well. The survey itself is the result of two polls – both of which were conducted by Harris Poll – that included responses from over 4,000 adults.
The results of the survey shed important light on a number of core concepts, including:
- Patients are no longer skeptical about telehealth. Sixty-five (65) percent of those who responded to Harris Poll said that they would be interested in seeing their primary care physician via video visits.
- Telehealth could relieve stress from other areas of the healthcare industry. Twenty (20) percent of respondents said that they would choose a video visit over visiting the emergency room for late night care.
- 52 percent of respondents said that they would be willing to use telehealth for post-surgical follow-ups, or for additional care after a hospital stay.
- 60 percent of respondents said that they would be willing to meet with their primary care physician over video to help manage a chronic condition, something that one out of every two adults in the United States has as of 2017.
Thanks to sources like the Telehealth Index 2017 Consumer Survey, one thing is abundantly clear: Telehealth in general is becoming increasingly important in terms of healthcare in this country, both in terms of the live saving care that professionals are able to provide and with regards to the willing patients who are ready and waiting to receive it.
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Telemedicine insurance valuable to employer, employee – North Bay Business Journal http://ow.ly/8KaVYa
New CMS regulations are another victory for telehealth – here’s why http://ow.ly/8KaVY9