Telemedicine has made significant progress in the 20 years since a Mayo Clinic-trained physician first treated an astronaut in space, according to Mayo CEO John Noseworthy, M.D.
However, he writes in a recent op-ed for the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, outdated regulatory barriers are holding advancement of the service back.
Noseworthy lauds the state of Minnesota for two pieces of legislation that ease these barriers: a reimbursement parity law and a law making it easier for doctors to gain licensure in other states. However, at the federal level, a patchwork of regulations hinder the widespread adoption of telemedicine, which the Mayo Clinic has long supported, he says.
To support his point, he discusses a study published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association that shows that while telemedicine visits for rural Medicare patients increased by 28 percent in the past decade, that's still less than 1 percent of all rural Medicare beneficiaries.
Still, Noseworthy touts Mayo Clinic's telestroke diagnosis and treatment program as an example of how telemedicine can save lives, and calls on policy makers and healthcare providers to continue to advocate for the technology.
In January, Avalere Health projected that three policy changes to Medicare could save the federal government $1.8 billion over the next 10 years, with the potential save an additional $7.5 billion by expanding access to Medicaid and privately insured patients.
To learn more:
- read the commentary