Telemedicine Moves Forward Despite Low Reimbursement

HealthDay News — Health-care organizations are developing and implementing telemedicine programs, although many have yet to receive reimbursement, according to survey findings.

The report, published by Foley & Lardner, included responses from 57 health-care leaders, mainly C-level executives from for-profit and nonprofit care providers.

Among respondents, 90% reported that their organizations have already begun developing or implementing a telemedicine program. Most respondents reported that the development of telemedicine services was very important (52%) or important (32%) to their organizations.

Only 8% of respondents said they had no telemedicine program, 6% were categorized as mature, and the remaining programs were at various stages of development or implementation.

Telemedicine advancements are partly due to the shift in financial and payment incentives under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), whereas 50% of respondents ranked improving quality of care as the main rationale for implementing telemedicine.

Health-care leaders do not expect an immediate economic return on investment; the primary obstacle to adoption is reimbursement, with 41% of respondents reporting that they are not reimbursed at all for telemedicine services.

“For executives under pressure to find cost-effective methods of engagement with their patients, telemedicine offers ways to streamline operations and create multiple touch points with patients, making it one of the most reliable methods for transitioning to a post-ACA, forward-looking reimbursement model,” according to the report.

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