A new study published in the November, 2014 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry found that veterans suffering PTSD received superior treatment via telemedicine in comparison to treatment provided by federally-operated veteran’s affairs hospitals.

Due to insufficient numbers of VA hospitals in the U.S., veterans often have to travel long distances to find a VA hospital to receive the treatment they need for physical or psychological issues. Because most of them have sustained serious injuries from combat, it is often difficult for them to travel lengthy distances, making the ability to receive consistent medical treatment nearly impossible.

An Effective and Necessary Substitute for Traditional VA Hospitals

Researchers conducting the study employed a randomized trial design to investigate the efficacy of evidence-based psychotherapy on veterans with PTSD. A group of 265 veterans living in rural areas were divided evenly to compare the effects of telemedicine-based treatment to “brick and mortar” hospital-based treatment.

One group of veterans had access to physicians via telemedicine. This system involved phone calls and video correspondence. According to study results, the group of veterans relying on telemedicine were eight times more likely than the non-telemedicine group (who had to commute to a VA hospital) to follow through with eight sessions of CPT (cognitive processing therapy).

As expected, the group using telemedicine experienced considerable improvement of their PTSD symptoms. This study has impressed the Veteran’s Administration so much that they are now considering the creation of an app to assist rural veterans who do not have access to a VA hospital.

Telemedicine Offers Additional Benefits to Veterans

Telemedicine may also be effective in reducing wait times for veterans, a serious problem brought to public awareness last summer when the VA scandals made headlines. In addition, telemedicine is capable of decreasing infrastructure costs so that more funds can be channeled towards treating veterans.

If the U.S. Veteran’s Administration and associated hospitals can provide veterans with the ability to use telemedicine PTSD, debilitating anxiety and other health problems that deprive our courageous veterans of enjoying a high quality of life can be treated more consistently, more quickly and, more importantly, successfully.

The Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, for good or for ill, has changed the face of modern medicine and medical insurance. While most everyone is familiar with the individual mandate, which penalizes people who don’t enroll for medical insurance, fewer are aware of other penalties that exist within the law. One important facet of the law penalizes hospitals that readmit patients too many times. This part of the law is designed to encourage preventative medicine and full-fledged solutions to medical problems, rather than just patch-work solutions which cause medical problems to flare-up or return.

One way that many doctors and hospitals have begun to counter readmissions is through the use of telemedicine. Telemedicine allows physicians to interact with patients via a digital medium. Telemedicine physicians can potentially diagnose medical problems and even give prescriptions using this new technology. It can allow both the doctor and the patient to save time and reduces transportation costs in hospitals that use telemedicine. This is why over 30% of doctors currently use this technology and over 36 million Americans have already been treated by it.

Unfortunately, for telemedicine physicians, the insurance industry has not entirely kept up with the changing technological landscape. The vast majority of physicians that treat patients this way receive limited or no reimbursement from telemedicine sessions. Primarily this is a problem with laws as much as with the insurance companies. States like Florida have pending legislation to assure that this type of medicine is covered fully by medical insurance. But until such legislation is completed, many physicians and hospitals are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Readmissions incur costly penalties while one of the best new preventative medicine techniques, which helps to prevent readmissions, isn’t covered by most standard insurance policies.

Despite this, the trend is moving in the direction of telemedicine. Other savings, like decreased transportation costs, helps cover the loss of income when insurance doesn’t cover and the laws are slowly changing so that this type of medicine is covered in more areas. As such, the number of doctors using telemedicine in the next year is expected to rise to nearly 60%.

Telemedicine is the newest concept in treating patients outside the office. According to a survey conducted at a health and medicine conference in San Diego, many physicians are being paid for this service already, even though they are not offering it to their patients. It seems that the interest in telemedicine is not at the top of most doctor’s list, according to a spokesperson for MobiHealthNews.

About 33 percent of the surveyed doctors, did admit to using some method of telemedicine, and less than 30 percent stated that are planning to use the technology. This is an overwhelming 62 percent of medical doctors that are either considering using telemedicine, or are already implementing the service.

What are the Benefit of Telemedicine for Patients and Physicians?

Telemedicine is an electronic technology that allow doctors to prescribe medicine care to patients via internet, telephone, web chat or video. The service is designed to assist patients at home, by getting their questions asked, and scheduling consultations without leaving home. This service is offered to doctors through their patient’s insurance provider.

When asked if the doctors were in a network that would reimburse them for providing telemedicine services, a low 19 percent responded with a yes. If doctors choose to implement this technology into the services they provide, it could mean less money for the practitioners.

Insurance companies and medical professionals agree that telemedicine technology can lower health care costs, and improve patient’s health. However, the biggest problems practitioners face is the reimbursements they may or may not get from the insurance companies.

This is the same concerns that are found among physicians that provide integrative care such as acupuncture. More than half of the participants in the surveyed agreed, that telemedicine technology is beyond the guidelines of state medical regulation boards. Additionally, most doctors agree that telemedicine is not appropriate for an initial visit, but it is acceptable for a follow up visit.

Only recently did CMS agree and finally released a final ruling of the expansion of telehealth care services, which will be eligible for reimbursement under Medicare. This ruling will go into effect in 2015, as the bill will be represented before the House bill in July of 2015.

Telemedicine is becoming increasingly popular, and more and more physicians are opting to provide telemedicine services to their patients. There are many advantages of telemedicine, and after a recent conference that provided a showcase of the many current telehealth providers in Arizona, it is obvious that telehealth has been a huge success so far.

Of the nearly 250 medical professionals that showed up for the conference, many of them declared how impressed they were with the speakers and the valuable information that they derived from the showcase. The conference also assisted many health care organizations with planning their services for the coming year, which was immensely helpful for them. A majority of those in attendance plan on attending again for the 2015 Telemedicine & Telehealth Showcase. Not only is it interesting to see which health providers are offering telehealth services to their patients, but according to some of the health professionals in attendance, participating in the conference, which is the only one of its kind that they’re aware of, is a great way for doctors, CEOs, and the various other health care providers to collaborate and share ideas and techniques.

Telemedicine is a convenient way for doctors to keep track of their patients progress, especially when it comes to patients with chronic but potentially life-threatening conditions. For instance, the Mayo clinic located in Arizona, has a telestroke program, which enables specialists to track their patients’ progress without the need for the patient to come in for an office visit. This takes providing medical care to a new level, making it easier for doctors to monitor their patients and even determine whether or not an actual visit to the local clinic or even the emergency room is warranted.

Not only is telehealth becoming more popular in Arizona, but it’s becoming more popular throughout the country, and even throughout the world. Patients and doctors alike greatly appreciate this major medical technological advancement that has truly revolutionized healthcare. Telehealth can make it possible for patients from across the world to access the expertise of doctors who they would never have the ability to travel to, which has the ability to save numerous lives.

Google is making headways again, as it plans to test a service which could change the future of healthcare in a significant manner. It could help numerous online searchers interested in health information in a truly unique manner. Healthcare will be drastically different, and hopefully for the better, when Google launches a test period for a new telemedicine feature which will be part of health-related Google searches. This is how it will work:

When individuals go online and perform a Google search for a health-related condition such as “knee pain” or “backaches,” they will be presented with the option to speak with a medical professional. If the user chooses to do so, then they can discuss the symptoms that they searched as well as any accompanying symptoms with a licensed physician, and the physician can provide a preliminary diagnosis and advise him or her to seek further medical attention, if he or she sees fit.

The purpose of this test period is to determine if speaking with a physician through a special web service would be helpful and prevent people from worrying needlessly and inaccurately diagnosing themselves after reading sites regarding their symptoms. Perhaps if a medical professional could lead them towards a more accurate diagnosis, then fewer people would panic and wrongly believe that they suffer from potentially lethal diseases when they may really only suffer from minor conditions or an injury.

If it is determined that this telemedicine service is, in fact, useful, then Google will make it permanent following the test period. There will be a fee if the service becomes permanent, which can be paid using Google Wallet. However, during the experimental stage the service will be completely free, which can benefit over 1 million online searchers.

Google will connect users with doctors through Helpouts, a live video chat system. All HIPAA standards will be adhered to, as Google has taken special precautions to ensure that all sessions are 100% confidential.

Have you ever experienced some concerning symptoms, but instead of making an appointment to see your doctor you performed a Google search of your symptoms instead? Well, you aren’t alone, as numerous others have done this as well. Unfortunately, this has lead to paranoia and various people making self-diagnoses that are often inaccurate. In order to prevent Google searchers who seek information about certain symptoms that may be plaguing them, Google is currently experimenting with a new telemedicine system that can prevent both self-diagnosing and visits to the doctor.

This possible new system would connect Google searchers with a qualified physician for a web video chat session if the searcher has searched a health-related topic like “headaches” or “dizziness.” Helpouts is the service that will connect users to medical professional to assess their symptoms. This telemedicine service will work like this: you type in a Google search like “neck pain” and in addition to the regular search results, you will be given the option to click on a link that says “talk with a doctor now.”

This Google teleservice is currently in an experimental phase, as Google determines if this service will help to better educate users about their health, rather than assuming they have cancer when the problem is merely acid reflux syndrome. During the experimental stage, this teleservice is free for users, as Google is covering all costs. However, if it is determined that the service is beneficial and Google wishes to take the teleservice to the next step and make it permanent, then there will be a cost, which will be decided at the time. If necessary, payments can be conveniently made through the use of your Google Wallets account.

If you are worried about confidentiality and security, Google has that covered. Google has ensured that their medical assistance service is HIPAA compliant so you and other users can rest assured that private information is kept confidential. Google has partnered with experts Scripps Health and One Medical for this purpose.

View the Secure Medical Prescription Drug Distribution System and Methods Patent Mar 14, 2003 Secure methods of distributing and prescribing prescription medications and related systems significantly increase prescription medication distribution security. Applications of the present invention are particularly useful in prescribing and distributing lifestyle drugs where an actual physical examination is not necessarily required, but are similarly useful for all prescription medications.

There is a group of prescription drugs known in the industry as “lifestyle” drugs which are not necessary for the health of the patient, but may improve the quality of life for the patient. Some examples of lifestyle drugs include, but are not limited to, drugs for weight loss, hair loss, erectile dysfunction, pain relief from arthritis, allergies, herpies, birth control, skin care, smoking, and the like.

Due to the ease by which a customer can receive prescriptions for prescription drugs, many cyber-pharmacies have come under attack for the apparent lack of controls associated with prescriptions and prescription drugs being distributed through cyber-pharmacies.

A system configured according to a particular embodiment of the present invention involves a prescription request kiosk, a prescription request review terminal, a medical information database, and a pharmacy all associated with a prescription distribution system processor.

Particular embodiments of prescriptions of the present invention include a photograph of a prescription requestor on the prescription for added security along with additional follow-up questions to be asked by the pharmacist to the customer. Requestors initiate prescription requests by answering a plurality of questions related specifically to the prescription medications requested.

Secure Medical Certification Program and the “Secure Certified” Seal

As a payment processor, Secure Medical provides its services and secure data centers only to companies/websites that meet the strict requirements of its Certification Program. Secure Medical’s processing capabilities and data centers have been utilized by select clients since 1998. In order for a company to partner with Secure Medical, they must meet or exceed a number of strict requirements as outlined in the Secure Medical Certification Program. Once a company is in compliance with these standards, they may obtain our services and display the “Secure Certified” seal on their websites. Clients must also pass a quarterly compliance test to maintain their certification.

Certification Program Requirements to Display Seal

Website Support/Doctor/Pharmacy Are Located in the United States Yes
Valid Customer-Service Phone Number Appears on Website Yes
Website/Pharmacy Provides Only FDA-Approved Medications Yes
Physicians and Pharmacists Are Licensed in the United States Yes
Physician Issues a Prescription Based Upon Patient’s Medical Questionnaire and Medical History Yes
Physicians/Pharmacists Are Accessible to Speak During Business Hours Yes
Website Does Not Sell Prescription Pain Medications or Controlled Medications Yes
Patient Identity is Verified Electronically or Via Phone Yes
Signature Required at Delivery Yes

The Certification Program also requires clients/websites to meet compatibility standards with regard to Secure Medical’s secure data centers and processing procedures.

Safe and Secure Data Centers Yes
PCI DSS Compliance Yes
Age & Address Verification Yes

Safe and Secure Data Centers – Secure Medical utilizes the latest data encryption systems to protect customer medical records and keep customer information safe and secure. Secure Medical’s data centers include firewalls, intrusion detection systems, other industry-leading hardware, 24-hour monitoring and a dedicated staff of IT engineers that are always on-call. As the latest technology updates become available, Secure Medical continually performs system upgrades to further ensure the safety of consumer data.

PCI DSS Compliance – Secure Medical complies with PCI DSS, which stands for Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS). It was developed by the major credit card companies as a guideline to help organizations that process card payments prevent credit card fraud, hacking and other security issues. Any company that processes, stores and transmits credit card numbers must be PCI DSS-compliant or they lose the ability to process credit cards. The PCI DSS reflects the combined interests of VISA, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and JCB, the five credit card brands that agreed on this common set of security standards.

Age & Address Verification – Secure Medical uses IDology’s ExpectID® age and address verification service to identify a valid age and current address for customers. ExpectID® uses a patented process to access thousands of data sources that contain billions of public records. This returns an ID validation. This verification service was designed to validate and protect a customer’s identity while maintaining consumer privacy.

Jennifer Lopez and the Lopez Family Foundation are so appreciative to have been awarded with the 2013 American Telemedicine Association Humanitarian Award for the Foundation’s commitments to pediatric and maternal human services. Jennifer gladly acknowledged the tribute at a private occasion in Los Angeles.

The Lopez Family Foundation has perceived how get to telemedicine can spare lives and make a critical effect in under-served markets, and anticipates proceeding with their backing with ATA and past.

Transcript from the Jennifer Lopez ATA award video:
Hi I am Jennifer Lopez and I’m honored to accept the 2013 Humanitarian Award from the American telemedicine Association. thank you so much.

The Lopez Family Foundation is committed to the use of telemedicine because we have seen how remote healthcare positively impacts the health and well-being of women and children. Telemedicine brings health care to people where and when they need it.

Recently, Congress offered a Bill that promotes the expanded use of Telehealth among Accountable Care Organizations (or ACO); this is great news considering that this has been a debatable issue for some time now.  The Act, according the Bill can be referred to as the “ACO Improvement Act of 2014”, if passed, the bill would foster the growth of Federal support and expenditures for national Telehealth and Telemedicine services, resulting in a more compatible and convenient form of health care for individuals, in some cases, even helping to save lives.

What Is Telehealth?

Telehealth is an expansion of Telemedicine, both are terms developed to describe the telecommunication technology that is utilized by health care providers, in order to facilitate the interaction with patients and assist in patient care management, within the scope and practice of Remote Health Care. This can be the utilization of teleconferening, where one patient provider communicates remotely with another patient provider, or more advanced options such as online voice or video communication. In addition, patients and providers can interact with each other using these cutting edge options, without ever leaving the comfort and security of your home or office.

Saving on Cost and Time with Telehealth and Telemedicine

Imagine never having to step into an office during low temperature months or scorching hot summer days, when your ailment is at its worse, or never having to take a day off of work and losing a days pay. With the convenience of Telemedicine and Telehealth, these advanced health care options and technologies can save you time and money. Some patients simply have an aversion to doctors offices or hospitals, that’s okay too. Telehealth and Telemedicine is fantastic for those that would normally not seek out medical help or are just unable to access proper care locally.

Cutting Edge Health Care

Telemedicine which is more curative in nature; focusing on specialties such as: General Health Care, Telenursing, Telepharmacy and Emergency Telemedicine. In addition, Telemedicine has been integrated within Telerehailitation, Telecardiology and Teletrauma Care, as well as Teleradiology, Telepsychiatry, Teledentisty and Telepathology. That’s not all, incorporation of Telemedicine has been instrumental for providers of Teledermatology, Teleopthamology and Teleaudiology, and has also been used for critical life saving and emergency medical care. 

Telehealth envelops promotive, preventative, as well as curative elements within health care; Telehealth has come a long way in recent years, stressing innumerable technological components, from emailing between doctors and patients, to the submission of prescription drugs to pharmaceutical providers and a myriad of other patient solutions. Providers have the capability to monitor the condition of their patients who are either home-bound or do not have the luxury of taking time off from work or other responsibilities. Additionally, doctors all over the globe have the ability to assist each other in ground breaking procedures and surgeries remotely through the use of Telehealth Technology. 

Going Hi-Tech

Should the ACO Improvement Act of 2014 pass, providers can deliver the same high quality and caliber of care to their patients, that is already afforded to those who are physically seen at health care facilities. Providers will begin, on a much larger scale, to treat patients more effectively and soundly by eliminating all of the  costs associated with unnecessary testing and procedures. No only will this Act cut costs and save time, providers can focus on the advancement of curative and preventative medicine and measures, as well as focus on discovering new methods of treatment and care, this will benefit the patients and not the bottom line. All of this can be done with mobile devices that monitor vital signs during the management of treatment, resulting in the elimination of unnecessary travels, cost cutting and financial savings for patients.