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Telehealth Goes to Washington

by John Moore | November 02, 2007

At the recently held Connected for Health symposium, which I reported on previously, a widely held belief among participants was that telehealth would not see substantial growth until the largest potential market, seniors, start receiving Medicare benefits that covered telehealth programs.

Coming close on the heels of this conference is a report released this week by the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) providing some pretty compelling results on patient outcomes via telehealth.  AdvaMed is using this report in support of a bill now before the Senate that would require Medicare to reimburse physicians for remotely monitoring patients with chronic diseases.

Seems pretty logical to me.

Keep chronic care patients at home where they are comfortable (and it’s certainly cheaper than a hospital). Do keep tabs on them to insure they are relatively healthy by the judicious use of technology that is now available.  Reimburse physicians for providing such a service that in both the short and long term saves everyone time and money.

Really, what is there not to like about telehealth?  Off the top of my head, there is the lack of interoperability across the multitude of remote monitoring devices in the market today.  But that should be resolved in the near future with the promulgation of standards by the Continua Alliance.  It is difficult to fnd anything not to like  other than the sticky issue of reimbursement.  Maybe the Senate, in its infinite wisdom will pass this bill.  But from what I’ve seen lately coming out of Washington, I’m not holding my breath.

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