March 2, 2012
Our team at OPEN MINDS has been tracking the developments in telehealth – both ehealth and remote monitoring – over the past five years. We’ve presented on these developments at our executive institute (see The Latest In Regulation & Legislation – Meaningful Use, HIPAA Compliance & Telehealth Rules all members and Developing & Operating An e-Health Service Line all members) and reported on the developments in our management newsletter (see Demand Creates Innovation: New Developments In Remote Monitoring & Telehealth and Consumer Demand & Cost Savings: Why Remote Monitoring Is Becoming A Regular Part Of The Health Care Landscape ). But I’ve always presented telehealth in the U.S. as “before the tipping point” (see Telehealth As Next Paradigm Shift in Service System all members).
But over the past month, a couple developments have made me think that the telehealth tipping point is near. Both developments involve large health care markets – the Department of Defense (DoD) and the State of California – which can drive national policy and practice. The DoD has moved to eliminate the requirement for civilian health care professionals to be licensed in each state where their military patients are being treated (see Military Removes State Licensure As Behavioral Telehealth Requirement all members). This is the first step in moving toward national reciprocal licensure that is critical to get maximum efficiencies from telehealth technologies.
In California, recent legislative changes have opened Medi-Cal to expanded telehealth services (see New California Legislation Opens Medi-Cal To Expanded Telehealth-Based Services ) and removed several barriers for the advancement of telehealth (or as it is referred to in California, telemedicine) – including eliminating a requirement that patients must make at least one in-person office visit, and eliminating the requirement that only patients with documented barriers for office visits could be treated using telehealth.
These fundamental changes by major payers signals a change in policy – and paves the way to move from early adopters to widespread use of telehealth technology. The question for executive teams – are you using these new technologies in ways that give your organization competitive advantage? Or will that advantage go to your competitors?
For more on this topic, I hope you’ll join me at the presentation “The New World Of Service Delivery: How To Make Telehealth Part Of Your Future” by my colleague, Aida Porras, at our 2012 OPEN MINDS Technology & Informatics Institute. When the telehealth tipping point happens, we are looking at a “perfect storm” – The Perfect Tech Storm all members.
Monica E. Oss
Chief Executive Officer, OPEN MINDS
For another free resource, see: The “Have It Your Way” Revolution in Health & Human Services all members
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