Telehealth, Telemedicine; Tell a Legislator!

“Reach out and touch someone” Do you remember that line from the 1980’s telephone commercial?  Bell South telephone company used that slogan for years.  Today that line means so much more than it did back then.

 

Sixty four percent of all U.S. adults own a smartphone.  “Smartphones” do more than a home phone but slightly less than a computer.  Pew Research highlights that many low income/ fixed income citizens use the smartphone as the best option for internet service.  These small devices have transformed the way we live.  We can apply for jobs, get up-to-date traffic and weather, read news headlines, shop, connect on social media and so many other tasks using our smartphones.

 

Telehealth is the ability to communicate with your doctor either by video call (Skype), phone call, texting, email or any other method that the Smartphone supports.

 

The Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, forced our healthcare system to use electronic communications to get paid, to transfer patients, to share test results and health records moving us into a “paperless” system.  Now let us extend the same electronic benefits to patients.  It is time to use our smartphones to communicate with your doctor.  The first step has been the patient portal for scheduling appointments and filling out health history.  How about virtual visits instead of a routine office visit?   How about the ability to send a photo of a prescription in question and get a quick text response?

 

Today many health insurance companies and health systems use telehealth to streamline services and communications with compensation.  It is so valuable for saving lives and time that many go without payment just to remain connected to their patients. 

 

State governments license health care providers.  State governments will need to license telehealth.  Our healthcare system gives State governments tremendous power to regulate who and how care is provided within a State. Therefore, telehealth needs new laws and regulations to become a reality.

 

Please contact your State Senators and Representative asking for their support of Telehealth bills currently under review.