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.
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.