Abstract: The U.S. has recently undergone a significant shift in healthcare delivery for the 21st century, utilizing technology to deliver more efficient and effective care. Because the Affordable Care Ac
(ACA) and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) emphasizes healthcare to be preventative, to detect and care for patients before diseases or illness arise, technological innovation and standardization is critical in today’s healthcare world. If healthcare organizations can capitalize on innovation and standardization, the government will reimburse a substantial monetary reward for successful implementation of telemedicine.
Areas that healthcare organizations have taken in this preventative shift include lean management, more efficient primary care coordination and of particular interest, preventative care technology deemed under the umbrella term, “telemedicine.” Telemedicine isn’t singularly defined; some healthcare organizations interpret telemedicine as “the delivery of specialty care at a distance via telecommunications using applications that provide direct patient care.” The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also define “telemedicine” as the “provision of clinical services to patients by practitioners from a distance via electronic communications.” In essence, telemedicine can be thought of as applications that can aid patient care outside of a traditional healthcare setting, even treating patients in their homes.
Obstacles that can complicate successful implementation of telemedicine are the legal ramifications. Legal complications can include fraud and abuse, patient confidentiality, and compliance with state requirements. Violation of patient care can result in heavy fines, and in telemedicine, a recent case involving the Texas Medical Board and a Telemedicine company could heat up within the coming months. Because of these obstacles, healthcare organizations face an arduous journey to getting reimbursed for implementing telemedicine.