Advances in technology and changing healthcare trends are making telemedicine a mainstream industry according to a recent article in the New York Times: The Doctor Will See You Now. Please Log On. The need is rising, costs for equipment and high speed communications are coming down and the ability to work reliably and securely over the internet are key factors.
But reimbursement is the driving force for telemedicine expansion in the United States. Big insurance companies are encouraging large employers to implement interactive video telemedicine programs. With the new healthcare bill the federal government is providing financial incentives to study telemedicine and other innovations.
“The technology has improved to the point where the experience of both the doctor and patient are close to the same as in-person visits, and in some cases better,” says Dr. Kaveh Safavi, head of global health care for Cisco Systems. Cisco Systems represents the higher end of communication with high definition video systems costing hundreds of thousand of dollars but the technology can be as simple as a webcam and a personal computer.
This clip from InPlace Medical Solutions is an example of a telemedicine visit: