Telehealth

UnitedHealthcare moves forward with telemedicine

UnitedHealthcare recently announced a partnership with three telemedicine companies to cover video-based doctor visits just as it covers in-person visits. The technology sector has for decades predicted that we would one day get our medical care via video chat, but it wasn't until recently that some physicians started considering using telemedicine. This decision may be a sign that the technology is becoming more mainstream. For now, these virtual visits will be available only to UnitedHealth’s self-funded customers, but the feature will expand to most members by next year (Source: “Video Is About to Become the Way We All Visit the Doctor,” Wired.com, April 30, 2015).


Ohio VA hospitals tout telehealth program

Officials at the Chillicothe VA Medical Center this week touted their use of new telehealth technology that enables staff at the Cincinnati VA to remotely offer second opinions (Source: “VA provides long-distance diagnoses for patients,” Chillicothe Gazette, Sept. 18, 2013).

The technology, known as Tele ICU, allows medical staff at the Cincinnati VA to monitor patients using cameras that can zoom in as close as the patient’s pupil or focus on a measurement mark on a syringe.

In the past year, HPIO has focused attention on telehealth as a promising practice that can help improve health outcomes and access to care and reduce health costs. On July 16, the Institute invited key telehealth stakeholders from across the state to participate in a Telehealth Leadership Summit. To summarize the event, HPIO has released a brief titled “The Health Policy Institute of Ohio’s Telehealth Leadership Summit: Key findings and considerations” (pdf, 8 pages). 


HPIO releases brief on key findings from Telehealth Summit

HPIO has released a new brief titled “The Health Policy Institute of Ohio’s Telehealth Leadership Summit: Key findings and considerations” (pdf, 8 pages). 

On July 16, HPIO invited key telehealth stakeholders from across the state to participate in a Telehealth Leadership Summit. The 57 Summit participants included providers, employers, public and private insurers, state agencies and telehealth technology developers. Participants explored a number of issues surrounding telehealth including documentation, informed consent, payment, provider regulation, fraud and abuse and patient safety. HPIO’s brief outlines the key findings and recommendations arising out of the telehealth summit.

HPIO has focused attention on telehealth as a promising practice that can help improve health outcomes, access and reduce health costs.

“Stakeholders expressed a need to align telehealth policy priorities and identify realistic reforms and policy guidance that could further the implementation of telehealth in Ohio,” said HPIO Health Policy Associate Reem Aly, who leads the Institute’s work in this area. “HPIO’s Telehealth Leadership Summit sought to meet this need.”

Over the past year, HPIO has held a series of covenings on telehealth to educate, mobilize and unify telehealth stakeholders. To learn more about telehealth in Ohio, visit HPIO’s telehealth resource page.


Study touts savings, patient satisfaction of online medical treatment

A new national study has found that less expensive online medical consultations produce high levels of patient satisfaction compared to in-person care (Source: “Online Medical Consults Save Money, Study Says,” InformationWeek, Feb. 5, 2013).

A study published in the journal Health Affairs found that Minneapolis-based HealthPartners, an integrated delivery network and health insurer, was able to reduce billing by an average of $88.03 per case through the use of an online clinic, with 98 percent of patients saying they would recommend the service to other.

“Caution is warranted, given the relatively small sample of cases we looked at, but this finding suggests that a well-designed online venue can provide appropriate care,” the study authors concluded.