Many states are wisely removing barriers to telemedicine. You can see in the American Telemedicine Association's ranking of states' friendliness to telemedicine technologies that places like Virginia and New Mexico are making it easier for reimbursement and care to happen using telehealth.
Of course, some states (and some organizations) are battling these changes. For instance, the Texas state medical board recently challenged the use of telemedicine in the state (it appears the challenge may have been overturned.) All of which seems a little misguided when you hear stories of just how impactful telemedicine programs can be. Stories and data abound about their impact, excellent care, and cost savings.
Among the many (just as one example), we recently came across a great study of a pediatric telemedicine impact and savings. The University of California Davis Children's Hospital did research on the costs of implementing and maintaining a telemedicine program and compared them to 8 rural emergency medicine departments over the course of 6 years.
The researchers found that the telemedicine program improved quality, safety and patient satisfaction. In terms of costs, they found a $1.96 return on investment (ROI) for each dollar spent on telemedicine.
So it's not tough for us to see that telemedicine is worth it, especially when it's implemented in thoughtful ways. And we laud all of those pioneers who are "making the path by walking" as the data emerges to support their work.
Photo used under Creative Commons rights from lowercolumbiacollege on Flickr