Penn Medicine exec foresees growth in telemedicine

Telemedicine consultation

Telemedicine will continue to grow as issues such as reimbursement are ironed out and people become more comfortable with the technology, John Donohue, Penn Medicine associate CIO, predicts.

Benefits include less time and travel required for patients to see a doctor, and for providers, the ability to reach more patients and spend time more effectively, he writes in a recent article for Healthcare IT News.

What's more, he says, improved broadband, along with wearables and monitoring devices, mean more can be done from the patient’s home. The proliferation of smartphones and mobile applications only add to possibilities.

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Reimbursement remains a major constraint on adoption, but one that will be resolved over time as the value of telemedicine becomes clearer, Donohue writes. Healthcare organizations have been working with government agencies at various levels to hash out clinical and legal issues associated with the practice.

Both practitioners and patients also must become comfortable with this new approach for delivering healthcare, he says.

Penn Medicine has invested in telemedicine as a core technology, according to Donohue, standardizing on the care delivery format to make it more efficient. Its system integrates directly into the electronic medical record and billing is automated.