Telemedicine beneficial for patients with musculoskeletal disease

Even if a patient has a condition that might seem like it would not lend itself to treatment and management through telemedicine, such as musculoskeletal disease, the technology can make a difference, according to Daniel L. Albert, M.D.

One of the most important things when using telemedicine to help patients with hard-to-manage conditions is to make sure the person helping them has the right kind of education, Albert, a professor of medicine and pediatrics at Geisel Medical School in Hanover, New Hampshire, tells Medscape in an interview.

"If you have a knowledgeable presenter and a willing patient, most of the time it goes very well," Albert says. "Under optimal conditions, in about 80 percent of the patients we see, we could do at least some of their care by telemedicine."

Patients have mostly embraced tele-rheumatology, Albert tells Medscape. But there are some who only want a more hands-on approach. The best system is one that is a hybrid of telemedicine, using a videoconferencing tool and in-person visits, he says.

Currently many patients go to their local doctor or care facility and connect with Albert through telemedicine from there, he said. But he sees patients using the tech from their homes as the future. He is working to get visiting nurses equipped with tools to go to patients' homes and use telemedicine from there.

Telemedicine use to treat and manage all matter of health issues is starting to see positive growth throughout the U.S. Recently, rural communities got a monetary boost from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to use the tech to improve healthcare and educational services.

In addition, executives in the healthcare industry are increasingly implementing telemedicine programs, despite setbacks caused by regulations and reimbursement policies, according to a survey last month from Foley & Lardner LLP.

To learn more:
- read the interview