Telehealth has numerous benefits and clinical applications that can be seen in various medical centers around the country. The usage of telehealth is increasing at a rapid rate, but not just for its innovative approach to patient care. Telehealth technology presents a cost-effective and efficient way to increase patient engagement, maximize patient reach, and deliver a high caliber of care.
In March, Health Recovery Solutions published a blog post on the potential of telehealth to disrupt the current system of treatment for those living with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The post highlighted several aspects of ESRD treatment, including: the cost of treatment to Medicare and other payor agencies, the preference of patients and families to receive treatment at home, and the need to increase engagement between patients and clinicians. Today, we revisit the utilization of telehealth to treat ESRD patients in the wake of recent CMS reimbursement changes.
While numerous studies have examined the use of telemedicine within surgical subspecialties, there has yet to be a study that looks at surgical care from a broader perspective. A recent systematic review aimed to do just that by providing an evidence based overview of telemedicine in surgical care.
In recent years, the use of opioids has skyrocketed, drawing attention from all levels of government across the country. In 2016, the opioid-related overdose deaths reached an all-time high of over 42 thousand, prompting President Trump to declare a public health emergency.[i]
As the aging population increases globally, it is integral to find effective and affordable ways to increase older adults’ independence, improve their quality of life, and decrease the risk of life-threatening injuries. Telehealth technology has the ability to accomplish all of this and more, and presents an exciting way to empower and educate elderly patients about their health.
As telehealth rises in both its popularity and reach, it is sure to expand to more patient populations and areas of healthcare. When thinking beyond the traditional applications of telehealth, we open doors to a wide array of possibilities within the field of remote patient monitoring. As we explore these new avenues, we will start to see that telehealth has the potential to benefit many different types of patients. In orthopedics, for example, telehealth can be used to service patients post hip and knee replacement as they recover from surgery.
Although most Medicare recipients still receive their health insurance coverage directly from the federal agency, the number of recipients that opt to receive coverage through Medicare Advantage, a private insurance alternative, is growing. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expects nearly 23 million people to enroll in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans in 2019. Although these plans are administered through private insurers, CMS rules place restrictions on what benefits the insurers may provide. These rules place limitations on MA telehealth benefits as well, and the telehealth services that are eligible for reimbursement.
As digital health technology advances, telehealth is increasingly used to augment the management of diabetes. Telemedicine is a promising intervention for the diabetes patient population because it allows for advanced and accurate monitoring of blood glucose, while also fostering improved medication adherence. However, for these benefits to materialize, patients must be engaged with the technology. A recent study addressed this point by examining the role of patient participation in the success of a diabetes telehealth program.
After one of the worst hurricane seasons on record, it seems more pressing than ever to discuss how we respond to natural disasters. How can we improve our response from a healthcare and emergency response perspective? Specifically, how can telehealth platforms be utilized in the wake of natural disasters to help individuals and entire communities remain healthy?
For many students, college can be a time of extreme stress. Lack of sleep, heavy workloads, financial issues, and post-graduation pressure can contribute to the highly prevalent mental health problems within the student population. Telemedicine has proved to be a way to increase stress management, access to mental illness treatment, and overall well-being.