While the Microsoft Kinect is seen as a failure in the gaming community, those in the medical field are finding it to be an asset. The Kinect has allowed telemedicine to thrive in ways it might not have before. Telemedicine has enabled doctors and nurses to evaluate, diagnose and treat people remotely and the Kinect is improving this type of medicine with its progressive technology. Here are some ways in which the Microsoft Kinect has improved telemedicine.

Medical Service

The Microsoft Kinect allows medical services access to under-served areas of the globe. The Kinect technology consists of a 3D camera and a microphone. If a patient lives in an area that does not have enough healthcare providers the Kinect will allow the patient to visit with a physician across the world that may be better able to serve them than a doctor closer to home.

Cutting Medical Costs and Healthcare Costs

The Microsoft Kinect may help cut the cost of the healthcare bill by $30 billion dollars. Because the Kinect will help doctors work remotely it will reduce costs due to transportation and service time. The Kinect also reduces transportation costs to patients since the care will be completed remotely or closer to home. The risk of infection to patients will also be greatly reduced since hospital visits will decrease. In the long run this will be a great financial benefit to the public and medical industry.

Fitness and Physical Therapy

Physical therapy and exercise can be done at home instead of a clinic or gym because of the Kinect. Again, because of the remote nature of the technology patients can save time and money by completing their physical therapy and fitness regimens at home. Further injury can be prevented by the decrease in uncomfortable travel.

Virtual Appointments

Virtual doctor visits and virtual nurses will save time for both the patient and the providers.

Anonymity and Privacy

Since the Microsoft Kinect allows patients to complete their medical appointments from the home the chance of running into a noisy neighbor at the doctors office is removed. Another benefit for mental health patients is that they can complete group therapy using an avatar. Therefore more people may be more likely to get the help they need without the fear of social stigma.

With all of these many benefits the Microsoft Kinect will move telemedicine into the future of the medical industry.

Obamacare has led to lots of changes in healthcare, so it should come as no surprise that digital health has been affected in a major way by the plan. Just one example is the release of the Apple Watch, which you’ve surely been hearing about.

Of course, that’s not the only digital health product or service that’s available these days. You’ve also probably seen references to eHealth, mHealth, Telemedicine, Health Data, and more. These are also examples of digital health, and you will be seeing more of them in the coming years, thanks to the increased funds raised by digital health firms lately. More specifically, such firms raised about $5 billion in 2014 alone, which is much more than in previous years. Compare this amount with 2010’s mere $1.1 billion, or even 2013’s $2.8 billion.

In the past, digital health care seemed like a pipe dream, especially if you consider how slow electronic health records were to materialize. But that’s changed in the last year, and it’s mainly thanks to Obamacare. Not only did it get people thinking about the importance of healthcare more than ever, but it also made sure millions became insured.

At the same time, there is more focus on improving healthcare in general. That’s because when patients get improved care, they tend to be healthier, resulting in lower healthcare costs overall. So it’s no wonder that digital health companies have been able to raise so much money lately.

In particular, Big Data companies have raised the most, making up more than $1 billion of the $5 billion that digital health companies have raised overall. Companies meant to help patients navigate the changing healthcare structure have also raised an impressive amount totaling over $790 million. Coming in third place for fundraising are companies dealing with practice management, having made nearly $600 million.

Obamacare might not have the support of everyone, but it has certainly made a difference in the digital health industry.

Telemedicine gets an increase attention from lawmakers who seek the improvement of care coordination, reduction of healthcare delivery problems and containing the costs. Medicaid agencies develop an innovation on the use of telemedicine in a states’ payment. Telemedicine adoption is the creation and enhancement of access to healthcare services via telemedicine.


Telemedicine is the use of both information technology and telecommunication to provide medical services to different people at different places at a time without being with them known as in-home care. It helps in eliminating distance barriers thus improves the accessibility of healthcare services that may not be available in rural areas in certain types of emergency situations and at the critical care services that can be used to save lives. The technology gives an opportunity to patients to be able to communicate with the medical staff with fidelity. Our objective is to improve the accessibility to quality healthcare throughout the world by helping clinics and hospitals to achieve their excellent capabilities in Telemedicine.

Telemedicine adoption enhances creation of the new law to assist in the accessibility of care via telemedicine and for the existing policies to be amended with higher implications. Both the healthcare providers and patients benefit from the improvement of the system of telemedicine to the removal of regulatory and statutory barriers, expansion of service coverage, and existing parity laws. Telemedicine offers comprehensive coverage for the telemedicine provider services like diabetic screening, etc. Telemedicine is covered when the providers use store and forward, e-mail, phone mail, remote patient monitoring, and an audio-video. Highest coverage of telemedicine provides physician services, and most states covers a consultation, mental health assessment, medication management, individual therapy, and behavioral health services.


Medicaid is a social healthcare for individuals and families who have low income and those with limited resources. It is also described as government insurance for all peoples i.e. those with little income to pay for their medical services. It’s a means test program that jointly gets funds from the federal government and states and the management is by the states. Most states cover for low-income adults by changing and improving the Medicaid eligibility. The states administer and establish their Medicaid programs by determining the duration, scope, type, and amount of services within the federal guidelines. The national trend allows a statewide Medicaid coverage of the telemedicine not only in designated areas but also as a mileage requirement. The coverage helps in identifying the policy that many states responds with streamlined policies to improve the quality of healthcare and reduces costs through the adoption of telemedicine.

Bottom line

Most states increasingly use telemedicine to ensure access to the specialized healthcare. Overall specialty coverage for telemedicine services is a checkerboard under Medicaid. The Medicaid plan for many states has tele-rehabilitative for therapy services. Telemedicine and Medicaid give benefit to you because it is done at home, therefore, a home health benefit.

More than 20 million new Obamacare and Medicaid patients are provoking the use of telemedicine and telehealth. Community clinics are becoming aware of this and many have already taken initial steps in incorporating these health care practices.

Times are changing and whether some people accept it or not new advancements in technology have allowed things like telemedicine and telehealth to be considered for health maintenance. Most physicians have already begun to implement telehealth and telemedicine in their health care practices and by the look of things they are having some success with it.

Telehealth and telemedicine are great for everybody but specifically elderly people. Elders tend to get sick more and usually have more health problems then younger people. Regular checkups become more convenient for elders because they don’t have to leave their house, they can get checked up at the comfort of their home. The country needs more doctors and practitioners.

There are some people who believe that a large number of doctors across the country will diminish by the year 2025. Medicaid patients need more doctors. It’s becoming more difficult to set up appointments with doctors and health care specialists. Sometimes it can go from a few weeks to a few months.

Telehealth could make the experience and expenditure easier for everybody that’s involved. Specialists can really benefit from this because they can evaluate and consider which patients need to be seen on the spot and those that can be attended from home through the telehealth.

It’s a lot more convenient this way. TeleHealth and telemedicine could be most valuable in maternity and pediatrics. As I previously stated, the biggest overall reason for telehealth is its convenience. It allows doctors to treat the most ill patients at the actual clinics while those are less sick can stick to telehealth. Telemedicine and telehealth will surely make their presence felt in the upcoming days, months, and years.

The USA based providers have been consistent in forming International Telemedicine Programs. The programs have been spreading their influence worldwide. Recently, the stakeholders of these programs have set their eyes on China as the next country of interest. These stakeholders spearheading the telemedicine program include physician companies, academic medical centers, hospitals and health systems and related entrepreneurs. They all consider China to be a market with great potential and look forward to offering their medical skills and experiences to the residents.

The government of China has expressed its interest in allowing foreign countries to provide telemedicine services to its people. It released a publication on 29th August 2014 containing the guidelines for telemedicine services in China through the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the Peoples Republic of China (NHFPC). The document contained opinions about promoting telemedicine services offered by institutions. The views put more emphasis on the operations of institutions to institutions in the telemedicine arrangements. However, they shed some light on what China regulators expected from the international telemedicine arrangements. The information was helpful for U.S telemedicine stakeholders who were planning to explore the China market.

Earlier this year, on January 15, 2015, the China government through the NHFPC released another document detailing the elaborate plan to establish a synchronized telemedicine services nationwide. The publication is a 200-page blueprint that envisions how patients in China and medicine institutions will benefit from the flawless telemedicine services to be offered all over China. The document has been dubbed the Technical guideline for telemedicine information system Construction.

The report indicates that the existing telemedicine programs in China are established and operated haphazardly. They lack a clear system that integrates services from high-end medical institutions and those found in remote areas. It recommendations standardization of the telemedicine services across the country. It also proposes that patients all over the country will also have access to quality health care from the medical institutions and health practitioners.

That is because the professionals will be required to offer their services even to people in remote areas. It also assures the medicine practitioners that they will retain the right to intellectual property despite operating in a uniform telemedicine arrangement. Other issues discussed in the document include how the government is considering integrating these medical services into its insurance policies and how the government will establish a governing body that will oversee the standard of services offered. The document can serve as a yardstick to help U.S providers assess the suitability of their products and services for the target market.

In essence, based on this last document, China has joined other countries in embracing the concept of telemedicine programs and integrating it into its healthcare system.

Thanks to technology, telemedicine is an expanding field that provides immediate answers to thousands of people in their time of need. Beginning in 1996, the Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) opened with eight clinics, and now covers 160 clinics that provide medical and healthcare services to rural communities. The program, in its 20th year, continues to exceed expectations and show steady growth.

The director and co-founder of The Arizona Telemedicine Program, Ronald S. Weinstein, MD credits the success of the program to state legislators and lawmakers, agency officials, physicians, hospital, and insurance executives for their continuous support, time, and altruism. The Arizona Telemedicine Council (ATC) would not have been possible without their impact, which in turn means the ATP would not see expansion to communities that need it.

In an earlier interview, Weinstein, a former head of pathology at the University of Arizona, credits the ATC for their community input and members that keep the program functioning outside the walls of the University. He stresses that the ATC is an invaluable asset in reference to the ATP. He also gives accolades to the Council for maintaining an all-encompassing viewpoint of the current status of new healthcare procedures and keeping abreast of the latest in changes that occur in the health care field, as they come available. With members both in the public and private sectors of medicine, they keep the ATC informed of the latest developments regarding the government and community needs.

Former state Representative, Bob Burns, is co-founder of the Arizona Telemedicine Program is now also a member of the Arizona Corporation Commission and works alongside Dr. Weinstein. Burns, in attendance at the country’s first telemedicine program in Augusta, Georgia, which is where he initially thought about the idea of starting a similar program at the University of Arizona.

Upon his return to UA, Burns met with James Dalen, MD, the dean of the UA College of Medicine. Dalen was in agreement that a similar program could be put in place at the UA, with Dr. Weinstein serving as director of the telemedicine program.

At the time, they did not know what a positive impact the program would have in the communities and for the rural communities in the area. Burns service record with the program is impressive; he has been in attendance at 69 out of 71 quarterly meetings of the council to date. According to Weinstein, “he has an amazing record of civic leadership.” The program would not be the success it is today however without the collaborative effort put forth by all who actively support, fund, and volunteer their talents and services to the project.

Healthcare is an essential part of any community. Without access to adequate healthcare, society is at a disadvantage. Telemedicine not only makes access easier, but it also provides so much more within the community as a whole. The advances in medicine happen at a rapid pace, and without those who stay up to date on the latest in technology and medical procedures and medications, the Arizona Telemedicine Program would not be able to serve the rural areas.

Funding for the ATC and ATP is also a crucial part in the effort to provide healthcare to individuals that otherwise would have no means to see a doctor or receive valuable medical advice and assistance when they need it.

In addition, as a direct result of the Councils input, several other offshoots from the program’s original concept have been possible. One of these is the continuing education component to the ATP. This component is responsible for keeping rural medical professionals aware of the newest developments in medicine and teaching them how to best utilize them in their practices, without them having to drive to Tucson or Phoenix.

With the newly announced expansion to 160 rural communities, it only proves that the University of Arizona’s telemedicine program is not only providing assistance to those seeking healthcare, but also the medical professionals that provide care in areas outside major cities. With the brainchild of Burns, and Weinstein’s continued commitment to quality healthcare, the Arizona Telemedicine Program will see continuous growth and will be an asset not only to the state of Arizona, but also as a platform for other states to become active in their communities. Telemedicine rides the wave of new technology each and every day. The Arizona Telemedicine Council and Arizona Telemedicine Program will serve as models for others to achieve the same level of commitment and knowledge.

When a possible stroke patient arrives at Lee Memorial Hospitals acute care centers, time is the most critical component of the live-saving measures the staff will undertake. Stroke is responsible for one out of every nineteen deaths in America. The consequences related to time management for a possible stroke victim could not be more important. Fortunately, today’s physicians, radiology technicians, nurses and hospital staff have the marvel of telemedicine to help speed their diagnoses and implement life-saving procedures faster than ever before.

Every minute is critical when a patient arrives presenting stroke symptoms. They can now undergo a CT scan which provides vital information about their condition, while the emergency room physician contacts the Neurologist on call. Telemedicine makes it possible for the Neurologist to be briefed by the physician about the patient’s condition while never needing to leave his or her office or home. Through teleconferencing, the neurologist is now capable of defining the problem, ascertaining accurate information with real-time questions and answers, and even leading the team virtually.

Through a tele-health cart strategically placed in the room, the neurologist can gain vital information. The technology provides a view of the room and two-way conversation that allows him or her to accurately direct the team for whatever unique situations may present in any specific case. This eliminates the time that is wasted when a neurologist is called, then drives to the hospital from a remote place. That time often has serious consequences for the patient.

This new technology is saving lives. Eliminating unnecessary wasted time during the critical moments when a stroke patient arrives at the emergency department and providing accurate information at light speed wherever the on-call neurologist may be at any given time provides Lee Memorial Hospitals patients with the timely care they deserve. The tele-health cart brings all these health-care specialists, nurses and technicians together in just moments after a patient arrives, providing the best opportunity ever for a full recovery.

The results are in. 75% of patients who had not used telemedicine services previously stated that they would be interested in giving it a shot. Software Advice survey determined this in a recent study. This could have major ramifications for the healthcare industry.

The Survey

The survey interviewed 519 patients over two days. 138 of the participants had utilized telemedicine and 381 hadn’t used telemedicine.

39% of the participants said that they were either “extremely interested” or “very interested” in using telemedicine. Of the participants who hadn’t used these services, 75% were willing to try it.

Of the participants who tried telemedicine services, 71% said that they would “strongly prefer” or “somewhat prefer” telemedicine services to treat minor illnesses.

According to the participants of the study, telemedicine has several benefits. These benefits include not needing to travel to a doctor’s office and the fact that the quality of the care is equal to or better than going to a doctor’s office.

While the feedback given was mostly positive, there was some criticism. Only 6% of participants claimed that they didn’t see any benefits to telemedicine.

Additionally, there were a few concerns that some participants had about using telemedicine services as well. Here are some of those concerns:

  • Lack of personal interacction
  • Issues with using the technology
  • Concerns about security breaches.

More than 50% of participants were not sure whether or not telemedicine services were covered by their insurance.

What Does This Mean?

So what do these results indicate? They indicate that there is support for the use of telemedicine technology. Participants beliieve that telemedicine is a great way to treat minor health issues.. Most participants were willing to give it a try.

Telemedicine has already shown to be effective in cutting costs and treating patients. The Texas Department of Corrections have used telemedicine services to treat their inmates. It has proven greatly effective in cutting their costs and lowering the amount of AIDS-related deaths. This is just one instance of how telehealth services can provide benefits to patients.

In the United States, prison healthcare has become increasingly expensive. In 2011 alone, $7.7 billion dollars out of the $38.6 total that was spent on U.S. prisoners was dedicated to healthcare. In Texas, over $581 million was spent on inmate health care. This is in part because the amount of inmates over 55 years old has increased over the last few years.

The Texas Department of Corrections has been searching for a way to cut some of these costs, and with the advent of telemedicine, they think they’ve found it. Telemedicine is a high-tech medical consultation that has helped the Texas Penal System cut health care costs. It helps medical experts, often located over 100 miles away, connect with prisoners.

Telemedicine allows the medical expert to see and speak with an inmate via a remotely streaming webcam. They can see each other through a television screen, but they aren’t able to touch. The doctor will have access to electronic medical records and can ask the inmate questions regarding their health – much like an average medical visit.

The Texas Department of Correctional Justice subcontracts their prison healthcare to Texas Tech University and the University of Texas Medical Branch. The cost-saving technology, telemedicine, as well as their partnership has reduced medical costs dramatically. Between 1994 and 2008, telemedicine has saved Texas $780 million dollars.

Since telemedicine was implemented, AIDs related deaths were reduced by 84%, the blood sugar levels of diabetic prisoners decreased by 18% and inmate’s blood pressure control improved. The combination of telemedicine, electronic medical records, adherence to disease management guidelines and preferred drug lists has proven its ability to cut spending costs and improve access to healthcare.

It isn’t without its set of critics though. Some believe it’s a dangerous way to save money within a system that has raised concerns for its poor medical care. The Texas Civil Rights Project has filed many lawsuits against Texas’ Department of Corrections. They cite medical negligence and the project’s legal director expresses concern for the possibility of shortchanging a vulnerable population.

As we roll into 2015, not only are individuals contending with the rising costs of healthcare, but large retailers are as well. In an effort to guide consumers towards healthier lifestyles and contain healthcare costs, retail giants Target and Walmart are looking to grow telemedicine mobile technology.

These retailers are looking to provide both their consumers and employees with a deeper level of services, which includes a basic level of chronic disease management. According to Ben Wanaker, the Walmart Care Clinic business leader, while the Care Clinic is consumer-focused retail clinic, it is also the employees’ on-site clinic. All Walmart employees have healthcare needs and have high-deductible healthcare plans. Like everyone else, Walmart is also struggling with the rising costs of healthcare.

Both Target and Walmart are currently exploring the technological tools at their disposal, such as telemedicine, to enhance their efforts toward contending with high healthcare costs. Although Wanamaker did say that they were working on a strategy for digital telehealth, he did not provide further details.

It is expected that retail health clinics will continue to evolve, with the help of telemedicine, in order to provide more affordable healthcare options for employees and consumers everywhere. For some, such as Target, this evolution is coming by way of creating new partnerships with affordable healthcare options.

Target has recently partnered with Kaiser Permanente, as well as a partnership with Mscrips, to provide more affordable telemedicine, prescription and healthcare options. As Target moves into the digital healthcare age, their goals include building a platform where telemedicine can be virtually interconnected with other aspects of healthcare to create more affordable healthcare options for consumers and employees.

Unfortunately, despite the enormous potential of telemedicine and tele-healthcare, there are still some privacy issues to be worked out. It is apparent that the retail sector is seeing and working toward the opportunity that new digital healthcare options are offering, and it is definitely a starting point for curbing the rising costs of healthcare.