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Does telemedicine just make more sense for the future?

April 10, 2014
Healthcare Consulting By LW Consulting Inc.

Readying a practice for the greater use of telemedicine might take so much time and money for a provider that it doesn't exactly feel effortless as some proponents claim. However, in an recent interview for EHR Intelligence, one practitioner, Dr. Jay Sanders, said that live electronic interactions with patients should simply become more common and expected as we progress, comparing it to the evolution of the smartphone.

This could be a useful way to reframe the implementation of such technology, rather than thinking of it as a burden or something your practice is being forced to implement by circumstance. He also identified some of the roadblocks that are likely to go away, such as state-specific licenses that impede a doctor from conducting remote consultations.

It's compounded by the fact that the industry is, as he puts it, "decades behind all other service industries."

"What the present technology affords the physician is an ability to better evaluate their patient in the patient setting, not in the doctor setting," he says. "And technology today, in effect, allows the physician almost to do a complete examination with communication technology." 

If this technology is going to expand and become as ubiquitous in people's lives as Sanders suggests, the legal framework may need to be laid in advance. Not only will HIPAA compliance need to be upheld, enough legal groundwork will need to be put into effect to accomplish this.

The Associated Press recently reported on the state of telemedicine in Florida, where the issue of licensing and access is being grappled with. Legislation is apparently being considered in both the state's Senate and House with different requirements for providers in this area.

Compliance can clearly mean different things in different states depending on the law, which is why compliance consulting services are so essential for the practice still figuring out how to proceed.