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How education can power telemedicine growth

May 14, 2013
Healthcare Consulting By LW Consulting Inc.

This blog recently discussed how hospitals can be losing millions of dollars each year by not integrating new healthcare systems into their daily operations. Until medical facility staff members understand how things like electronic medical records or even computerized physician order entry software can be beneficial, it will be more difficult to use them to their full potential.

American Telemedicine Association (ATA) President-Elect Ed Brown spoke with HealthcareITNews at the annual ATA conference last week in Austin, Texas. According to Brown, telemedicine will become more widespread as more people - doctors, nurses, technicians and even patients - understand the value that it brings to healthcare.

Brown added that "telemedicine" can be confusing at times, as there's not a clear definition. With that in mind, he sometimes refers to it as "virtual healthcare," because the concept is about what can be done to support the healthcare industry over a distance.

"It's about collaboration. It's about remote monitoring. It is even e-consult, secure email. These are all things that are used to support patient care," Brown said. "To me, that's all part of the telemedicine that we're developing."

Additionally, Brown explained that while he is still involved with the ATA, he wants to ensure that advocacy and policy continue to be highlighted. There is a huge wave of activity rippling across the U.S., with more people understanding just how important telemedicine is, he said.

He cited the fact that 18 states currently have laws requiring private insurers to pay for telemedicine coverage and that there are 30 that are developing similar legislation.

When medical facilities invest in healthcare consulting services, and have a physician consultant available to help in all transitions, it ensures that staff members can fully understand the importance of telemedicine.