The Digital Doctor Visit
Telemedicine Trend Grows
The same technology that makes it possible for a grandmother in Nebraska to see a child’s first steps in Minnesota or a technology firm in Texas to close a deal with a buyer in New York mitigates geographic boundaries in healthcare, as well.
Telemedicine, or telehealth, connects patients and their home medical teams with specialists across the country or around the world.
Locally, hospitals in Kent and Sussex Counties utiltize telemedicine for consultations with pediatric specialists at Nemours/AI duPont Hospital for Children, saving worried families long car rides and identifying potentially life-threatening conditions for follow-up. And in Sussex County, where there are few behavioral health specialists to meet the needs of a growing – and spread out – population, telemedicine may provide a solution, connecting patients in need with providers upstate.
Earlier this year, Delaware became the 29th state to pass legislation which would require health insurers to pay for telemedicine just as they do office visits. “We are making an effort in Delaware to transform the way healthcare is delivered and paid for and this piece of legislation supports that,” said Governor Jack Markell. “Telemedicine will improve access to information and medical care for Delawareans, leading to better health outcomes for patients and reduced costs for hospitalizations and transportation.”
Telemedicine has its challenges – namely, the lack of standardization of reimbursement policies for physicians and the standing up of the necessary technology infrastructure in rural communities.
As part of our mission to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare in Delaware through technology, the Delaware Health Information Network supports the State of Delaware and industry leaders like HIMSS in their efforts to overcome these barriers. Additionally, in 2016, we look forward to sharing news of a telemedicine product for consumers, which will harness existing technology to enhance communication between patient and physician.
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