Will Telehealth Adoption Increase in 2017?

The current trends show that Telehealth Adoption is on the increase. There’s no question that Telehealth software is changing the way healthcare is delivered. As with any new technology or innovation to any major industry, there are challenges in the early stages of Telehealth adoption.

Some of these challenges come in the form of governmental regulations. Nowhere is this more common than in the field of Healthcare.

Telehealth Adoption Licensure Challenges

A recently released report from the Center for American Progress has found that state licensure and Telehealth reimbursement are at the top of the list of needed industry improvements. The report was overwhelmingly favorable towards Telehealth technologies and their role in the future of health care. Over 60% of healthcare professionals are already using Telehealth services or planning to within the next few years.

One of the biggest issues the report found was dealing with individual state licensure acceptance. There are only three states (Maryland, New York, and Virginia) and the District of Columbia that recognize and allow licensure reciprocity. In most states in the U.S., licenses don’t transfer to other states, so in order to practice Telehealth in another state, a physician would have to be re-certified there as well.

Telehealth Adoption in hospitals can help to treat patients in multiple states. Of course, Doctors have to make sure they’re complying with multiple sets of laws. Some states that do allow licenses to out-of-state providers have various restrictions and regulations in place, slowing down the process.

Telehealth Adoption Reimbursement Challenges

Telehealth reimbursement is the other big issue among providers and consumers. The American Progress report suggests that states “should take all available steps to increase reimbursement for Telehealth services.”

Telehealth reimbursement has steadily grown and increased in range and coverage. There is still work to be done to make it more efficient for patients to receive and pay for Telehealth services.

Medicare, as the leader in Telehealth reimbursement will only pay for face-to-face, interactive video consultation services wherein the patient is present and talking with a doctor and both people can see each other ‘live’ on screen.

When it comes to medicare Telehealth reimbursements, different states have various standards by which their Medicaid programs will reimburse for Telehealth expenses.

As for private Insurance reimbursement for Telehealth, there is no single widely-accepted standard as yet. Some insurance companies value the benefits of Telehealth and will reimburse a wide variety of services. Others have yet to develop comprehensive reimbursement policies, and so payment for Telehealth may require prior approval.

This challenge of Telehealth Reimbursement is increasingly important as the number of Americans who use these services continues to grow too. Over 60% of Americans now say they would be willing to visit a doctor virtually if their was availability.

Estimates suggest that widespread Telehealth services could result in $6 billion a year in Healthcare savings to U.S. companies. Opening up the access and availability by making licensure and reimbursement easier and more prevalent will only to increase these savings.

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