NPs must engage with providers, payers to advance telemedicine

Nurse practitioners must be a key part of the equation when it comes to the growth of telemedicine, including having them engage with payers and hospitals on how to use the technology to best serve patients, according to David Hebert, CEO, American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

Hebert, in a post for Becker’s Health IT and CIO Review, says recent evidence of the positive outcomes telemedicine can provide and growing interest in the service “suggests nurse practitioners and other providers will only enhance their ability to improve patient outcomes through telehealth.”

NPs are using the technology, for example, to connect with patients via medical devices to track disease management, as well as to extend the continuum of care, Hebert notes.

He also points to issues surrounding the service, such as costs, reimbursement and access across state lines, saying that they only “reinforce” the need for nurse practitioners to be engaged with others in the industry on how to integrate the technology into care.

That is why, he concludes, AANP is “championing legislation and regulations that leverage technology and telehealth to strengthen patient access to healthcare.” That includes putting support behind multi-state licenses that would address telehealth, he says.

As of April, six states have enacted legislation to adopt a licensure compact to allow nurses to practice telemedicine across states: Wyoming, Virginia, South Dakota, Idaho, Florida and Tennessee. Seven more have bills pending.

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