Telemedicine on the Rise: Five Factors Driving Telehealth Growth in 2017 – and Beyond
Here are five critical events and developments from the past
year that have accelerated — and will continue to promote — the growth of
VETS Act of 2017:
The House passed this bill (H.R. 2123, Veterans E-Health and Telemedicine
Support Act of 2017) to permit physicians and other providers who meet the
definition of “covered health care professionals” to administer services via
telehealth with a single medical license, regardless of where the physician or
patient resides. The legislation also requires the VA Secretary to deliver a
report to the House and Senate Committees on Veterans Affairs outlining the
overarching effectiveness of telehealth services.
Reimbursement: The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA)
final rule increases access to Medicare telehealth services, especially for
patients in rural or underserved areas, by paying for more such consults and
making it easier for providers to bill for them.
Disaster Relief: Hurricanes Harvey and Irma shined a
spotlight on the value of telehealth during a natural disaster.
Employer-based telemedicine programs overall are growing. An August 2017 survey
from the National Business Group on Health, found that telehealth offerings by
employers are nearly universal, and employees who take advantage of these
programs require fewer visits to emergency rooms, urgent care clinics and
State Buy-In: Numerous state laws have also addressed telemedicine
issues. Texas passed a bill to improve patient outcomes by using telemedicine
technology to bring trauma surgeons into the back of ambulances to assess and
direct treatment. Twenty-two state Medicaid programs provide reimbursement for
remote patient monitoring, up from three states in August 2016. An increasing
number of states are also passing legislation directing health care
professional boards to adopt practice standards for its providers who utilize
Moving forward, increased demand for self-care and remote
monitoring will continue to drive telehealth growth. Likewise, government
initiatives will continue to play a large role in paving the way for further
expansion of telehealth and telemedicine usage in U.S. health care.
Thanks to JDSUPRA for this informtaion.