Tag Archives: telemedicine

Remote patient monitoring cuts hospital admissions, ER visits, report finds

Doctor conferring with patient and on-screen specialist for article, Remote patient monitoring cuts hospital admissions, ER visits, report findsDive Brief:

  • One-fourth of healthcare organizations say remote patient monitoring reduces emergency room visits and hospital readmissions, while 38% say the technology results in fewer inpatient admissions, according to a new KLAS Research report.
  • The industry-backed American Telemedicine Association and the research group looked at how RPM is impacting providers and payers, talking with 25 organizations that used RPM products from seven different vendors.
  • The key use cases for remote patient monitoring were heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, though interest in using RPM for other conditions like diabetes and hypertension is starting to pick up. RPM is also seeing some limited use in mental health, surgical recovery, dementia and cancer.

Dive Insight:

Remote patient monitoring is a growing sector in the digital health space, with an aging population and the opportunity to better manage chronic conditions. There is a potential windfall for companies with the right idea and clinical evidence to back it up, and investors are lining up to get a piece of the action. Disease monitoring was among the top-funded value propositions in last quarter, with $781 million across 38 deals, according to Rock Health.

RPM also holds potential to improve health outcomes. In a 2017 study, breast reconstruction patients with access to a mobile app that allowed them to submit photos and report information to their doctors had fewer post-surgery follow-up appointments than patients without the app. Patients using the app also rated their follow-up care higher on convenience.

Payers are recognizing its benefits and incentivizing its use, too. In its physician fee schedule final rule  for 2018, CMS unbundled a code for RPM, allowing physicians to seek reimbursement for collecting and interpreting health data generated remotely by patients, digitally stored and sent to providers, with a minimum of 30 minutes.

The move marked a “huge win” for RPM and a “big step forward for Medicare’s ability to deal with chronic conditions,” Gary Capistrant, the ATA’s chief policy officer, told Healthcare Dive earlier this year. He noted that several years ago when Medicare covered a code for chronic care but didn’t cover remote monitoring, the result was a tepid uptake.

Use of RPM is growing across all use cases, but is particularly robust for hypertension, mental health and cancer, where there is a lot of room for growth, according to KLAS.

According to the report:

  • 13% of organizations report RPM improves medication compliance;
  • 8% say it lowered A1c levels, an indication of how the body is maintaining blood glucose levels;
  • 13% say it improved patient health;
  • 25% report greater patient satisfaction; and
  • 17% cite quantified cost reductions.


Smartphone Apps Reduce Depression

September 22, 2017

New Australian-led research has confirmed that smartphone apps are an effective treatment option for depression, paving the way for safe and accessible interventions for the millions of people around the world diagnosed with this condition.

screen shot of smartphone app for treating drepression for article, Smartphone apps reduce depressionDepression is the most prevalent mental disorder and a leading cause of global disability, with mental health services worldwide struggling to meet the demand for treatment.

In an effort to tackle this rising challenge, researchers from Australia’s National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM), Harvard Medical School, The University of Manchester, and the Black Dog Institute in Australia examined the efficacy of smartphone-based treatments for depression.

The researchers systematically reviewed 18 randomised controlled trials which examined a total of 22 different smartphone-delivered mental health interventions.

The studies involved more than 3400 male and female participants between the ages of 18-59 with a range of mental health symptoms and conditions including major depression, mild to moderate depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and insomnia.

The first of its kind research, published today in World Psychiatry found that overall smartphone apps significantly reduced people’s depressive symptoms, suggesting these new digital therapies can be useful for managing the condition.

Lead author of the paper, NICM postdoctoral research fellow Joseph Firth says this was an important finding which presented a new opportunity for providing accessible and affordable care for patients who might not otherwise have access to treatment.

“The majority of people in developed countries own smartphones, including younger people who are increasingly affected by depression,” said Mr Firth.

“Combined with the rapid technological advances in this area, these devices may ultimately be capable of providing instantly accessible and highly effective treatments for depression, reducing the societal and economic burden of this condition worldwide.”
Continue reading Smartphone Apps Reduce Depression

New Study Highlights The Importance Of Telemedicine

A recent study from Canada Health Infoway adds to the mounting evidence that telemedicine, specifically virtual visits and consults via video conferencing actually offer value to both the patient and the provider.

Infoway, a Canadian federal non-profit whose mission it is to advance mobile hillustration of telemedicine for article about Canadian study shows value of telemedicine visits to patients, cliniciansealth, worked with researchers from the University of British Columbia to conduct surveys and interviews with clinicians and patients participating in virtual visits.

Lead author of the study Kimberlyn McGrail stated:

“The patient survey results clearly show that virtual visits can be a way to offer patient-centered care. Whether we realize that potential depends critically on how these services are integrated into existing care delivery.”

They found that virtual visits increased access to care for patients with most saving travel time and avoiding work absence. Many may have reservation about online security, but 91 percent of participants of the study said that they were confident their information was secure. And 57 % stated that they avoided a physical trip to the doctor altogether.

iMedicalApps has covered other recent studies that support these findings, like one that showed e-consults improved access to infectious disease care and high satisfaction ratings in pediatric care.

While the study comes from Canada where access to care in remote parts of the country is a problem, access to care even in urban areas around the world is a problem and a good reason for more investment in telemedicine.


Telemedicine – A Primer

By |

illustration of telemedicineIt’s among the hottest topics in work comp these days.

Telemedicine will be one of – if not the – most disruptive force in workers’ compensation medical care. Companies such as CHC Telehealth, Go2Care, and AmericanWell are moving rapidly, adopting different business models in an effort to gain first mover advantage.

Looking for a broader perspective, I recently had the chance to interview Jonathan Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association. Here’s what he had to say…

MCM – What service types/specialties are embracing telemedicine most rapidly?  Why those?

JL – It covers the gamut from primary care to urgent care, but there are some popular specialties – mental health, behavioral health, neurology – stroke care, ICU/CCU. Dermatology is one of the earlier adopters and radiology via remote reading of images has become a standard in the industry

The greatest increase in the number of services has been via consultations with online providers, Intensive Care monitoring either continuously or in evening hours (30% of ICU beds are hooked up to remote monitoring) and remote monitoring of chronic care.

Slower adopters include surgery, although that is changing with some robotics and oversight/proctoring from specialists from a distance.

[Telemedicine is now being used for] Initial or follow-up visits with providers. Online consults are growing quite significantly with 1.2 million services delivered to 750,000 members in 2016. Possible stroke victims are being assessed by neurologists remotely today.

In terms of the largest number of people served, the top specialty is radiology where 7 – 10 million pictures are read remotely followed by cardiology with remote monitoring.

Continue reading Telemedicine – A Primer

How Technology Is Changing Workers’ Compensation

By Denise Johnson | February 22, 2017

tech trends in workers' compensationNew technologies are improving workers’ compensation programs in everything from communications and training to health care delivery and claims, according to experts.

Tom Ryan, market research leader for Marsh’s Workers Compensation Center of Excellence, speaking during a recent Marsh broadcast, identified several areas of workers’ compensation that can benefit from technology:

•   In communications with employees. Information critical to prevent injuries and claim updates can be provided to employees via smartphone mobile applications.
•   In sharing workforce training via an employer’s intranet or through smartphone applications.
•   In delivering care to injured workers through telemedicine and via mobile apps that can direct injured workers to preferred medical providers.
•   In managing claims by providing customizable email alerts, such as notifications when prescriptions are ready.

Wearable technology is also having an impact. Wearables can monitor employee movements and alert co-workers of danger, as well as monitor fatigue, body temperature and repetitive motion. The information can be used in training, fraud prevention and wellness programs, Ryan said.
wearble technology, injury prevention, incident reporting, workforce training, smartphone, apps, telemedicine
Construction industry wearables include high tech vests and helmets that have lights or vibrate to alert employees of potentially dangerous changes in surroundings.
The use of telemedicine has resulted in higher network penetration, lower claims severity and lower claims costs at Bank of America.


Incorporating Telemedicine into Workers’ Compensation Care

By Safety National 12/02/2016

telemedcine logo graphicTelemedicine is a hot topic with lots of discussion around its potential to favorably impact workers’ compensation by improving medical care access, but to what extent is it actually feasible today? This session at the 2016 National Workers’ Compensation & Disability Conference featured viewpoints from an employer, vendor and carrier.

Speakers included: Ann Schnure, VP Risk Management – Claims, Macy’s, Jill Allen, President & CEO, Consumer Health Connections and Paul Morizzo, Provider Networks Manager, Missouri Employers Mutual

Telemedicine is the next generation of managing injured workers’ medical care and claims. In fact, the telehealth industry is predicted to grow to $34 billion by 2020. Industry experts also estimate that, by 2018, 80% of employers will be offering a telehealth benefit to employees.

The industry has been slow to embrace telehealth, possibly due to worries that employees will not want to do it, the installation of equipment will be costly, or the preconceived notion that today’s telemedicine product are only for triage.

Employer’s Viewpoint

Macy’s uncovered that injured employees sent to occupational clinics were returning to work without attending follow-up visits. Employee excuses ranged from no time, limited transportation and that they were recovered, so did not feel the need. Macy’s wanted to fix these problems. They reviewed several telehealth options that either did not work for their employee population or to where they couldn’t justify the ROI. Continue reading Incorporating Telemedicine into Workers’ Compensation Care

Telemedicine Companies See Mental Health As Next Frontier

Bruce Japsen, Contributor

telepsychiatryTelemedicine companies that have been landing a flurry of new contracts with employers and insurers to provide less expensive and more convenient medical consultations with physicians are now adding mental health services for their customers.

MDLive, Teladoc and American Well are among the telehealth firms getting into the business of offering access to psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists via smartphone, tablet and computer as the nation grapples with a rising rate of suicides, opioid addiction and other mental health issues.

The companies see a huge growth opportunity, with more Americans suffering mental health conditions than common medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Meanwhile, less than 50% of Americans who are prescribed medications to treat mental health conditions take them as directed, if at all, according to industry reports and Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Teladoc is among the telemedicine companies pushing into mental health services, offering consultations with therapies, psychiatrists and psychologists via computer, smartphone and tablet. (Teladoc photo)

American Well in July is rolling out a new “telepsychiatry” service it expects to have in seven states by August and the rest of the country by the end of the year.

“Every year, nearly one in four adults will deal with a mental health disorder, yet less than half of these individuals will actually receive treatment,” said Zereana Jess-Huff, vice president of behavioral health at American Well.
Continue reading Telemedicine Companies See Mental Health As Next Frontier

59% of Large Employers Expected to Offer Telemedicine in 2015

By Safety National










At the 2015 Workers’Compensation Educational Conference in
Orlando, a panel discussed telemedicine and its potential application in the workers’ compensation space.

The panel consisted of: Bill Lewis, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Concentra Medical Centers, Steve Shaya, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Health Net Connect, Sri Mummaneni, M.D., Chief Health Officer, Opus Telehealth

Telemedicine is being utilized more and more in healthcare models throughout the United States:

  • 59% of large employers are expected to offer telemedicine in 2015
  • Many national health plans offer telemedicine to employers
  • The VA and Department of Defense have adopted telemedicine.
  • 43 Medicaid programs currently reimburse some forms of telemedicine services

In spite of this, workers’ compensation has been a slow adopter of telemedicine.

Are we addressing patient needs?

  • 37% of rural patients do not have easy access to medical care, which is something telemedicine helps to resolve.
  • Telemedicine would also allow a primary physician to immediately consult with an specialist during the appointment. This would significantly speed up treatment delivery to the patient.
  • Consumers are gaining awareness with telehealth and mHealth options and have interest in using them for individual health and as a means for their health providers to have up-to-the-minute updates on their health status.
  • Chronic disease management is increasingly reliant on telehealth tools to engage the patient and provider.

How can we enhance relationship with key stakeholders?


Review of Merck Home Symptom Guide App

A simple & understandable patient resource

Merck Home Symptom Guide appClinical Scenario
A mother is concerned that her 10 month old son might have a fever and is wondering what is the best way to take his temperature and what symptoms would require a doctors visit.

Evidence and literature used to support the app
Part of the Merck series of books, this app has similar strong references to the Merck Manual and the editors and authors are clearly listed in the app.

$4.99 on iTunes ($7.99 if bought as a bundle with the Family drug guide app); $4.99 on Google Play store

Very easy to navigate
Excellent search function
Evidence based and backed by a reputable institution



Easy to use, concise and to the point and backed by strong references. I feel the price might be a little high, especially as there are free resources on the internet but on the other hand all the information in the app is pretty reliable so that might justify the price. Overall a very good patient information app.
Overall Score

[ORIGINAL STORY & VIDEO REVIEW (requires registration)]

Is Sweden Ready for Digital and Virtual Care?

healthcare worker manipulating a virtual screenSweden’s healthcare system is regar- ded as one of the best in the world, with it ranking highly in relation to health outcomes and quality of care1. We are however living in a changing society with new needs and rising healthcare costs driven by an ageing population and increasing incidence of chronic disease.

In order to effectively meet these emerging challenges, healthcare must become more efficient and patient-centered. The shift beyond digital to virtual care has the potential not just to modernise the healthcare system and “do better with less” in terms of public resources and tax money, but to also improve quality and access to health services for a population with increa- sing expectations for seamless care.

Digitalisation of care is the new black

While the last few decades have seen other industries such as banking and retail becoming more efficient and consumer-centric through the use of technology, the healthcare sector is just beginning to realise the benefits of the digitalisation.

Through a survey we conducted in spring 2015, 1,034 Swedes provided us with their perspectives on digital and innovative care solutions. Their answers reveal that there is an open- ness of Swedes to use new digital and virtual care, as well as a willingness to receive care with the help of modern technologies:

1. OECD Reviews of Health Care Quality Sweden 2013

4 PwC • 2015

  • Over 40% of respondents are open to virtual care and DIY (do-it-yourself) solutions over traditional care options.
  • 33% are open to having a live visit with a physician via a smart-phone application.
  • 20% would be willing to receive care via videocalls.
  • 74% said yes to being monitored virtually via a wireless heart moni- tor if the situation called for it.
  • 43% believe that virtual care can lead to faster access to care.
  • Only 6 % were most concerned about privacy in relation to virtual care; in contrast, 41% voiced the qu- ality of care as their biggest concern.

    © 2015 PricewaterhouseCoopers