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Colleagues,

There appears to be an increasing volume of mainstream press coverage of telemedicine.  Please see excerpts below from a recent New York Times article featuring MedTech-IQ member Vanessa McLaughlin, and friends Dr Bernard Harris, Dr Oscar Boltinghouse and Glenn Hammack ...

... The interactive telemedicine business has been growing by almost 10 percent annually, to more than $500 million in revenue in North America this year, according to Datamonitor,
the market research firm. It is part of the $3.9 billion telemedicine category that includes monitoring devices in homes and hundreds of health care applications for smartphones...


... Although telemedicine has been around for years, it is gaining traction as never before. Medicare, Medicaid and other government health programs have been reimbursing doctors and hospitals that provide care remotely to rural and underserved areas. Now a growing number of big insurance companies, like the UnitedHealth Group and several Blue Cross plans, are starting to market interactive video to large employers. The new federal health care law provides $1 billion a year to study telemedicine and other innovations...


... Starting in June, the UnitedHealth Group plans to reimburse doctors at Centura Health, a Colorado hospital system, for using Cisco advanced video to serve UnitedHealth’s members at several clinics. And the insurer plans a national rollout of telemedicine programs, including video-equipped booths in retail clinics in pharmacies and big-box stores, as well as
in clinics at large companies ... “The tide is turning on reimbursement,” says Dr. James Woodburn, vice president and medical director for telehealth at UnitedHealth ...


... With the expansion of reimbursement, Americans are on the brink of “a gold rush of new investment in telemedicine,” says Dr. Bernard A. Harris Jr., managing partner at Vesalius Ventures, a venture capital firm based in Houston. He has worked on telemedicine projects since he helped build medical systems for NASA during his days as an astronaut in the 1990s...


... NuPhysicia’s business grew out of work that its founders did for the state of Texas. Mr. Glenn Hammack, NuPhysicia’s president, is a former assistant vice president of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, where he led development of the state’s pioneering telemedicine program in state prisons from the mid-1990s to 2007. Dr. Davis is a cardiologist.  Working with Dr. Oscar Boultinghouse, Dr. Davis and other university doctors conducted more than 600,000 video visits with inmates. Significant improvement was seen in inmates’ health, including measures of blood pressure and cholesterol, according to a 2004 report on the system in the Journal of the American Medical Association...


... In March, California officials released a report they had ordered from NuPhysicia with a plan for making over their state’s prison health care. The makeover would build on the Texas example by expanding existing telemedicine and electronic medical record systems and putting the University of California in charge...


... NuPhysicia says that this cost is more than four times the rate in Texas and Georgia, and almost triple that of New Jersey, where telemedicine is used for mental health care and some medical specialties...


... United Health Group, Wellpoint and large self insured employers have begun offering "online care" using an inexpensive, webcam based supported system provided by American Well  in Boston ...


... Doctors who use the higher-tech video conferencing technology say that Webcam images are less clear, and that Webcams cannot accommodate electronic scopes or provide the zoom-in features available in video conferencing. “If they are not using commercial-grade video conferencing gear, the quality will be much lower,” says Vanessa L. McLaughlin, a telemedicine consultant in Vancouver, Wash.

 

Read on at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/30/business/30telemed.html?pagewante...

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