Turning to telemedicine: How providers differ in their remote care options

Telemedicine is growing in popularity among patients who like the convenience and for providers who can reach rural patients and make more efficient use of their time. Video visits also offer a way for providers to improve access to care, according to an article at Hospitals & Health Networks.

Among the ways health organizations are harnessing the power of video visits:

  • Stanford Health Care is committed to offering service anytime, anywhere, with its integrated "bricks to clicks" care continuum. It has developed an app and a soon-to-be-released Web portal, and also offers video visits.
  • San Francisco-based Dignity Health's Telemedicine Network helps provide resources to its smaller facilities and address the dearth of specialists in rural areas.
  • In Kaiser Permanente's mid-Atlantic region, which covers Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland, it runs a pilot in which patients can see a doctor through their computers or smartphones from home or go to a nearby Kaiser clinical decision unit for a video visit assisted by a nurse or medical assistant. During these visits, the doctor has the patient records on a second screen.

Patients are both embracing telemedicine and also remaining cautious of the technology. Sixty-four percent of patients recently surveyed by Harris Poll on behalf of telehealth company American Well say they are willing to consider a video chat with their doctor instead of an in-person visit, while a survey from TechnologyAdvice Research found patients wary of telemedicine and less likely to trust a virtual diagnosis.

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) recently introduced the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act of 2015, a bill that would provide payment parity for an expanded list of telehealth services available to Medicare beneficiaries.

To learn more:
- read the article