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HIT and Virtual Medical Visits?

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Compensation for e-mail – A New Payment Model for Doctors?

By Staff Writers

It’s been a long wait, but we have recently learned that – ever so slowly – some health plans are beginning to pay doctors for ‘virtual visits’ with patients.

Vendors like McKesson-owned RelayHealth, Epic Systems and Web portal vendor Medfusion have offered the technology for some time, but payer acceptance has been slow. However, a consensus is building that such visits may be a good idea, despite lingering questions over billing and the ability of physicians to legally offer e-care from out of their home state. These visits might save substantial amounts of money while keeping patients healthy–including a Kaiser study concluding that it saves $70 to $120 on each virtual visit.

  1. And so, are hospitals to follow this physician trend?
  2. How about CMS and the various state Medicaid systems?
  3. What about private insurance companies, HMOs and MCOs, etc?

Please opine!

The Moderators 

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6 Responses

  1. Virtual Medical Visits and Questions Regarding Future 802.11n Wireless Deployments

    While most experts do not expect wholesale virtual medical visits (VMVs), or even a ratified IEEE 802.11n standard anytime soon, several vendors have already starting shipping “Pre-N” products, leading more healthcare organizations to question how the upcoming standard will play into their Wi-Fi plans.

    The promise of increased coverage, security and performance of 802.11n has created a firestorm of questions and uncertainty within the HIT community.

    For example, here are five key questions that every HIT administrator should consider:

    • What modes of 802.11n should be used?
    • Is our wired LAN or health network ready for 802.11n?
    • What will users, nurses or doctors require for 802.11n?
    • What HIT security changes will need to be made?
    • What changes to wireless management are required?

    Ultimately, HIT administrators need to get a head start on understanding 802.11n and how the next Wi-Fi standard will impact not only their wireless network, but their wired infrastructure as well.

    And so, although 802.11n is not likely to become a Wi-Fi standard until 2009, 802.11n planning must start now to overcome operational and technology issues that may portend new architectures and deployment guidelines for a successful rollout of VMVs, or similar, in your healthcare organization.

    Any thoughts are appreciated?


  2. HIT Study with Current Update

    I am not sure about the future of the 802.11n wireless
    transmission standards, but I do know that doctors are well known technophobes. And, it seems that so are patients; sadly.

    And, despite the increasing availability of free electronic personal health recording systems, like those from MSFT, RevolutionHealth and soon-to-be Google, etc; patients have been slow to adopt them as well.

    In fact, a late 2006 study by the Markle Foundation found that more than 200 e-PHR systems are now available, and new products are continually being announced.

    Nevertheless, the studies also show that availability is not translating into use, with only about five percent of all patients using PHRs a full year later.

    So, why this slow e-PHR adoption by patients?

    Perhaps both parties should review:



  3. Have We Reached the HIT Tipping Point?

    Microsoft launched its Consumer health service called Health Vault-to signify Security on October 04 2007.

    Following the launch with massive marketing – the blogosphere and media were filled with analysis and comments on Personal Health Records [PHRs].

    Up until then, there were only a couple of articles in the blogosphere dedicated to Personal Health Record topics. Now not only there are plethora of articles, but also polls which show that people are really interested in Personal Health Record products.

    Read more here: http://personalhealth.wordpress.com/2007/12/01/microsoft-health-vault-raising-questions/

    Is this the sea change we have been waiting for?



  4. Compensation for Virtual Medical Visits

    Slowly, it’s beginning to look like health insurers are accepting the virtual medicine trend. For example, I understand that Aetna and Cigna just agreed to reimburse doctors for online visits. Might other insurers soon follow?

    Typically, insurers are paying about the same for online visits as they do for on-ground consultations. While some of these “virtual visits” are done via Web and e-mail, with broadband Internet access becoming almost universal, doctors can easily conduct video visits using an inexpensive PC camera. Doctors are slow HIT acceptors.

    Meanwhile, other telemedicine options are emerging, as well. For example, devices that can remotely check blood pressure and other vital signs, as well as blood sugar levels are growing cheaper and more common.

    What a brave new world!


  5. Health Information Technology

    Good book.



  6. Telehealth

    Excellus Blue Cross’ survey of 2,000 consumers showed that convenience was the biggest reason patients used telehealth at 48%, followed by cost of visit (34%), available outside of normal hours (31%), traveling (23%), not able to leave work (19%) and other (3%).

    Source: Excellus Blue Cross


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