Report: Gov't should remove telemedicine barriers

A new paper issued by a think tank promoting HIT use suggests that for telemedicine to come into wider U.S. use, the government will have to lend a hand. The paper, by the Center for Health Transformation, argues that telephone-based medical consults alone can make a big difference in promoting affordable healthcare access. The research contained within the paper focused consults provided by TelaDoc Medical Services, which has an estimated 1.2 million members.

Having studied what worked in that population, researchers concluded that the key features of successful telemedical consulting included rapid access to a primary care doctor by phone, cross-coverage via phone to handle acute illness, portable EMRs for patients and doctors and a standardized data structure. While the paper didn't specify what the government needs to do to foster these conditions, it emphasized that officials, as well as corporate policymakers, should bear these principles in mind in their health purchasing and reform efforts.

To learn more about the report:
- read this Healthcare IT News piece
- read the CHT paper (.pdf)

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