Healthcare publication editors frequently ask for my predictions about inpatient telemedicine in the coming year. You may have seen one of those guest posts published last month in Electronic Health Reporter. I’ve recapped the predictions below, but to sum them up in one line: It’s going to be another good year for telemedicine―perhaps the best yet. Momentum has been building for the increased acceptance of telemedicine in the hospital setting.
This same time last year I wrote about the growing acceptance of telemedicine, but in looking back at 2017, I believe “acceptance” is no longer the right word. It’s more accurate to say that hospitals, providers and patients are embracing telemedicine with gusto. It’s a solution for many of today’s most pressing challenges.
Parity for telemedicine reimbursement is a long way off in the United States. The variations in rules by region and state can make your head spin. The good news is that telemedicine and the hospitals that implement it are coming out financial winners, even in today’s shifting payment market.
With the increasing physician shortage, particularly in specialty areas such as critical care, cardiology and nephrology, telemedicine is delivering valuable support to the clinical care programs at many U.S. hospitals. And now, with the growth of long-term acute care hospitals (LTACHs), telemedicine offers an effective model for bringing periodic specialized physician care to LTACH patients, while solving night coverage challenges.