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Telehealth Takes Center Stage

January 31, 2013
at 9:43 am PST

As my colleagues just wrapped up participating in the 2-day World Congress Telehealth Executive Summit and are preparing for the 6th Annual Community for Connected Health Summit at HIMSS13, I've been thinking even more about telehealth technology and how far it has come since my first exposure to it almost almost thirteen years ago.

The technology has made amazing strides, and with healthcare costs on the rise, it’s no surprise government agencies and other organizations are looking to the technology to curb health costs while increasing the efficiency and quality of care.

Telehealth technologies, such as Cisco’s HealthPresence (and version 2.5, just announced this month), can increase access to specialized care and allow medical specialists to conduct virtual consultations. By leveraging technologies and solutions like Unified Workspace and cloud, telehealth has real potential to transform the delivery of healthcare.

Realizing the power of connected healthcare, House Representative Mike Thompson introduced a telehealth bill in late December. If passed, Telehealth Promotion Act of 2012 could extend telehealth benefits to more than 75 million Americans by removing two existing barriers--licensure and reimbursements.

...and the support for telehealth keeps going.

The Federal Communications Commission recently announced that it will allocate $400 million a year to expand existing telehealth pilot program. The funds will help increase connectivity between urban medical centers and rural clinics to better coordinate care and lower costs among other benefits.

With more organizations realizing the potential of telehealth technologies, it's clear we may soon see it take center stage. Where do you see telehealth having the greatest impact on government and the public sector?

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