Tag Archives: remote healthcare

Accreditation Program for Direct-to-Consumer Telemedicine Services

Recently the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) launched an accreditation program to recognize those healthcare facilities in the U.S. that offer online, direct-to-consumer healthcare consultations while meeting specific standards.

With the concepts of telemedicine and remote healthcare gathering momentum, the launch of such a program is well-timed. ATA’s research has estimated that some 800,000+ online patient consultations will be provided this year and that number is expected to increase as more consumers and healthcare providers discover the convenience and cost-effectiveness of online medical services.

Talking about the program, Jonathan Linkous, CEO of ATA, said, “ATA’s Accreditation Program is designed to ensure transparency and patient safety as online services for healthcare proliferate.” He further explained ATA’s vision behind the program, “We’ve seen an explosion of online healthcare service offerings in recent years, and a growing need to assure consumers are making good choices. ATA’s Accreditation Program for Online Patient Consultations will provide benchmarks for organizations building an online practice. In addition, it will provide reassurance for payers that the virtual services they are reimbursing follow federal and state laws and regulations, assure patient privacy, are transparent in pricing and operations, use qualified, licensed providers, and follow appropriate clinical practices and guidelines.”

ATA has also launched SafeOnlineHealth.org, a resource through which consumers can understand the growing use of digital and telecommunication advancements in healthcare services. Here visitors can also learn about telemedicine, online healthcare, and see the list of accredited providers.

Registration for the Accreditation Program will be open to ATA Institutional Members, Sustaining President’s Circle, and President’s Circle members exclusively from Dec. 15, 2014 through Feb. 28, 2015. The program details are available at http://www.americantelemed.org.

Bob Higginbotham

About Bob Higginbotham

Bob Higginbotham, CTS-I, CTS-D, is the Avidex National Manager of Healthcare AV. Bob has spent his 30 year career in leadership positions in the AV industry including extensive design and build work in healthcare facilities. He owned and operated a successful AV business in Texas with multiple offices in several cities where he managed a staff of over 100 employees. Bob has served as a technical consultant for a major AV manufacturer, led the technical sales team for a national video conferencing provider and provided technology auditing services for several private education facilities. He has a unique working knowledge of audiovisual technology as well as multiple certifications in audio engineering, acoustics, AV design, CQT system commissioning and video transmission systems. Bob holds a BA in communications and has recently served as board chair for a large private school. He brings his years of technical knowledge and leadership experience to Avidex where he leads the national healthcare AV team. Contact Bob at bobh@avidexav.com

Walgreens Gets Into Telemedicine

U.S retail pharmacy giant Walgreens has announced a partnership with telemedicine company MDLive to offer its customers 24-hr access to medical assistance via digital health technology. How will this move affect the U.S healthcare and telehealth industry? A recent Forbes article discusses the impact of this move.

Lowering the cost of offering healthcare services is one of the most obvious drives behind healthcare companies entering into the telehealth market. For instance, MDLive’s “virtual visit” or consultation with a physician is priced at $49, and may cost even less depending on the customer’s health insurance coverage. Moreover, with reimbursement options opening up for remote healthcare providers, major drugstore chains like Walgreen, CVS Health (CVS), and Walmart Stores are stepping into remote healthcare to gain from these benefits.

This, however, is not Walgreens’ first brush with telemedicine. The drugstore giant had forayed into telehealth last year when it launched a “pharmacy chat” feature that connects customers with the company’s pharmacists and staff around-the-clock. From this perspective, its deal with MDLive can be viewed as an extension of its telehealth services with a broader reach.  For now, Walgreens will make this service available to its customers in California and Michigan, with “plans to rollout to additional states and markets over time.”

The article cites Walgreens’ chief medical officer, Dr. Harry Leider, as he explained the company’s vision with regard to telehealth, “We are going to be getting into the telemedicine space where you consult a board certified physician from your computer, your tablet, or your phone,” Leider said in an interview at the 2014 Forbes Healthcare Summit. “We are extending this idea of convenience into the digital space.”

Digital health technology is being supported by factors such as the Affordable Care Act and insurance payment trends that are gradually taking patient care out of the hospital and putting choices into the customers’ hands. The current focus is on improving treatment and continuity of care while reducing the overall medical expenses.

The full impact of telemedicine remains to be seen as more and more companies jump on board. It will be interesting to watch how Walgreen’s adoption will pave the way for telehealth in the retail sector.

Jeff Miller

About Jeff Miller

Jeff has been working in the professional AV integration industry for over twenty years. During that time he has served as Designer, Project Manager and/or Account Executive for hundreds of projects. As an Account Executive at Avidex, he specializes in Medical, Education, and Control Rooms. He can be reached at jmiller@avidex.com