As technology developed and wired communication became increasingly commonplace, the ideas surrounding telehealth began emerging. The earliest telehealth encounter can be traced to Alexander Graham Bell in 1876, when he used his early telephone as a means of getting help from his assistant Mr. Watson after he spilt acid on his trousers. Another instance of early telehealth, specifically telemedicine was reported in The Lancet in 1879. An anonymous writer described a case where a doctor successfully diagnosed a child over the telephone in the middle of the night.[5] This Lancet issue, also further discussed the potential of Remote Patient Care in order to avoid unnecessary house visits, which were part of routine health care during the 1800s.[5][7] Other instances of telehealth during this period came from the American Civil War, during which telegraphs were used to deliver mortality lists and medical care to soldiers.[7]
Telehealth is part of APTA's Frontiers in Research, Science, and Technology (FiRST) Council. FiRST grew out of identification of high priority areas to advance science and innovation that our profession needs to understand and incorporate into our practice, education, and research. FiRST is intended to serve as a community for interested stakeholders. Ideas generated by the council may be implemented by participants' stakeholder groups (sections, academies, external groups, APTA, etc) at the discretion of each entity's governing body.
Type of telehealth. Medicare primarily only reimburses for live telemedicine, where the physician and patient are interacting in real-time through secure, videochat. This type of telemedicine visit is meant to substitute a face-to-face in-person visit. The only exception is in Hawaii and Alaska, where Medicare reimburses for store-and-forward telemedicine as well.

Teladoc does not guarantee prescriptions. It is up to the doctor to recommend the best treatment. Teladoc doctors do not issue prescriptions for substances controlled by the DEA, non-therapeutic, and/or certain other drugs which may be harmful because of their potential for abuse. Also, non-therapeutic drugs such as Viagra and Cialis are not prescribed by Teladoc doctors.
Chiron Health believes that the right technology is the key to ensuring both patient satisfaction and provider reimbursement. Our easy-to-use, real-time telehealth solution gives providers the piece of mind that they will be able to deliver top-quality care, while increasing revenues and remaining compliant with HIPAA and other laws and regulations. It is perfectly suited for chronic disease management and follow-up visits.

In layman’s language, telemedicine and telehealth are terms that represent the transfer and exchange of medical information between different sites. From the American Telemedicine Association’s point of view; telemedicine, as well as telehealth, are all about transmission of still images, patient’s consultations through video conferencing, patient portals, remote control and monitoring of vital signs, continuing medical education, patient-focused wireless applications and nursing call centers and many other applications.
Several physicians and patients are finding it difficult to adapt to telemedicine, especially older adults. Physicians are very concerned about patient mismanagement. While advances in medicine have made it more efficient to use technology, there are times when system outages occur. There is also the potential for error as technology cannot always capture what the human touch can.
Telepharmacy is the delivery of pharmaceutical care via telecommunications to patients in locations where they may not have direct contact with a pharmacist. It is an instance of the wider phenomenon of telemedicine, as implemented in the field of pharmacy. Telepharmacy services include drug therapy monitoring, patient counseling, prior authorization and refill authorization for prescription drugs, and monitoring of formulary compliance with the aid of teleconferencing or videoconferencing. Remote dispensing of medications by automated packaging and labeling systems can also be thought of as an instance of telepharmacy. Telepharmacy services can be delivered at retail pharmacy sites or through hospitals, nursing homes, or other medical care facilities.
Healthcare systems, physician practices, and skilled nursing facilities are using telemedicine to provide care more efficiently. Technologies that comes integrated with telemedicine software like electronic medical records, AI diagnosis and medical streaming devices, can better assist providers in diagnosis and treatment. The latter allows providers to monitor patients in real-time and adjust treatment plans when necessary. Ultimately, this leads to better patient outcomes.
Real-time communication is probably what jumps to mind when you think of telehealth technology. It happens with the patient is at one location and the provider is at another and they connect using a video-enabled device and a telephone or computer audio. Sometimes the patient might be at a healthcare facility with a provider and they establish communications with a specialist at a remote location, other times the patient might not be at a medical office at all. She might join the encounter from work or the office, for example. Many state laws require insurers to reimburse for these types of video visits. Most don’t have a similar stipulation for telephone calls that don’t involve video.
Telehealth can also increase health promotion efforts. These efforts can now be more personalised to the target population and professionals can extend their help into homes or private and safe environments in which patients of individuals can practice, ask and gain health information.[8][21][24] Health promotion using telehealth has become increasingly popular in underdeveloped countries where there are very poor physical resources available. There has been a particular push toward mHealth applications as many areas, even underdeveloped ones have mobile phone coverage.[25][26]
Telemedicine is a significant and rapidly growing component of health care in the United States.  There are currently about 200 telemedicine networks, with 3,500 service sites in the US. Nearly 1 million Americans are currently using remote cardiac monitors and in 2011, the Veterans Health Administration delivered over 300,000 remote consultations using telemedicine. Over half of all U.S. hospitals now use some form of telemedicine. Around the world, millions of patients use telemedicine to monitor their vital signs, remain healthy and out of hospitals and emergency rooms. Consumers and physicians download health and wellness applications for use on their cell phones. 
Teledermatology – Teledermatology solutions are usually store-and-forward technologies that allow a general healthcare provider to send a patient photo of a rash, a mole, or another skin anomaly, for remote diagnosis. As frontline providers of care, primary care practitioners are often the first medical professionals to spot a potential problem. Teledermatology solutions lets PCPs continue to coordinate a patient’s care, and offer a quick answer on whether further examination is needed from a dermatologist.
Without a doubt, the emergency room is one of the most expensive, overcrowded, and stressful environments in healthcare. With telemedicine, overcrowded emergency rooms can be reduced by having patients see a remote physician using video chat first. The remote physician can determine if that individual should seek care in an emergency department, which increases ED efficiency.

Significantly, at the end of 2016 Congress unanimously approved legislation focused on emerging technology-enabled collaborative learning models. The new law directs HHS to assess these models and their ability to improve patient care and provider education, and to report its findings to Congress, along with recommendations for supporting their spread.

While telemedicine is the older of the two phrases, telehealth is rapidly gaining acceptance, in large part because of the evolution of the healthcare landscape. The rise of consumer-directed healthcare and the shift from fee-based care to quality- and outcomes-based care has put more of an emphasis on health and wellness and care management. And in that atmosphere, telehealth fits the mold.
Dr. Mercado has practiced medicine since 2000, and provided virtual care since 2015. She earned her medical degree at the University of the Philippines in Manila. She completed her Family Medicine Residency at Akron General Medical Center in Ohio, where she was the chief resident during her final year of residency. She has spent the last six working in a primary care setting where she saw patients of all ages. Dr. Mercado believes communication is an integral part of a physician-patient interaction. During her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, watching movies, volunteering, and spending time with her family.
In April 2012, a Manchester-based Video CBT pilot project was launched to provide live video therapy sessions for those with depression, anxiety, and stress related conditions called InstantCBT[56] The site supported at launch a variety of video platforms (including Skype, GChat, Yahoo, MSN as well as bespoke)[57] and was aimed at lowering the waiting times for mental health patients. This is a Commercial, For-Profit business.
Telepsychiatry, another aspect of telemedicine, also utilizes videoconferencing for patients residing in underserved areas to access psychiatric services. It offers wide range of services to the patients and providers, such as consultation between the psychiatrists, educational clinical programs, diagnosis and assessment, medication therapy management, and routine follow-up meetings.[49] Most telepsychiatry is undertaken in real time (synchronous) although in recent years research at UC Davis has developed and validated the process of asynchronous telepsychiatry.[50] Recent reviews of the literature by Hilty et al. in 2013, and by Yellowlees et al. in 2015 confirmed that telepsychiatry is as effective as in-person psychiatric consultations for diagnostic assessment, is at least as good for the treatment of disorders such as depression and post traumatic stress disorder, and may be better than in-person treatment in some groups of patients, notably children, veterans and individuals with agoraphobia.

Each online video chat appointment with a doctor costs patients $40; doctors get $30 of that, with the company taking a $10 cut. Doctors can diagnose illnesses and prescribe medication, but the app and website are not recommended for any patient experiencing a potentially life-threatening emergency medical condition. Doctors also cannot use it to prescribe medications like sedatives and narcotics.


The first radiologic images were sent via telephone between two medical staff at two different health centers in Pennsylvania by 1948. The health centers were 24 miles apart from one another! Then in 1959, physicians at the University of Nebraska transmitted neurological examinations across campus to medical students using two-way interactive television. Five years later, a closed-circuit television link was built that allowed physicians to provide psychiatric consultations 112 miles away at Norfolk State Hospital.
mHealth, also known as mobile health, is a form of telemedicine using wireless devices and cell phone technologies.  It is useful to think of mHealth as a tool--a medium--through which telemedicine can be practiced. mHealth is a particularly powerful development because it delivers clinical care through consumer-grade hardware and allows for greater patient and provider mobility. ATA has an array of Special Interest Groups with one dedicated to the practice and development of mHealth.
But it wasn’t until the early 20th century that the general population started to these technologies, and imagine they could be applied to the field of medicine. In 1925, a cover illustration of the Science and Invention magazine featured an odd invention by Dr. Hugo Gernsback, called the “teledactyl.” The imagined tool would use spindly robot fingers and radio technology to examine a patient from afar, and show the doctor a video feed of the patient. While this invention never got past the concept stage, it predicted the popular telemedicine definition we think of today – a remote video consult between doctor and patient.

After laying out the basics, an organization should decide what type of telemedicine solutions to offer. A telemedicine expert like VSee offers a text and video collaboration app, a Virtual waiting room, and more. The organization should be responding to their current pain points, such as overcrowded waiting rooms or difficulty reaching patients in rural areas.


Likely a favorite among patients aging in place, telemedicine permits providers to monitor their patients in their own homes. Using patient portals, a physician can gather and share information with their patient. In addition, medical devices can send vital signs and more to providers so they can make adjustments to care as needed. VSee offers their clients the following telemedicine solutions:
“If there are areas of clinical need across the healthcare network, telemedicine may allow for better leveraging and expanding access to sub-specialists,” Sokolovich said. “Another opportunity could include better triaging patients through telemedicine-enabled provider-to-provider or provider-to-patient evaluations, which bring together experts who can quickly assess the best care path and eliminate unnecessary hospital admissions or emergency department visits.”
Although this is more difficult to prove, big payers like Blue Cross Blue Shield and Aetna are benefiting from telemedicine too. Patients with substance abuse disorders who are treated using various telemedicine strategies provide cost-savings for payers. The cost per treatment is cheaper overall and offers cost savings across the board. As technology continues to improve, the cost savings will become more visible.
The growth in telemedicine solutions means that telemedicine options are now more diverse, with many more affordable solutions. However, most telemedicine programs do require the purchase, set-up and staff training of new technology and equipment – some of which may be outside the budget of providers in smaller independent practices. Many providers are already stretched thin on new technology budgets and staff training for EHR systems, imposed by the Meaningful Use program. Also, for patients who may not have access to a smartphone or a computer with internet, real-time telemedicine may be out of reach.

But getting doctors to jump on board is easier said than done, and takes time. Many are afraid of liability, as it's possible to miss something during a remote visit. And for years, it wasn't clear whether they would get paid as much as an in-person visit. Reimbursement questions are still getting resolved across different states, but most of the commercial and government plans are on board with the idea of telemedicine -- at least in specific circumstances.
According to a May 2017 article by Alignment Chief Medical Officer Ken Kim, the organization’s efforts paid off. “Because of the program, Alignment’s seniors are seeing reduced 30-day readmission rates … compared to the national Medicare average readmission rate of about 18%. In 2016, Alignment members enrolled in remote [monitoring] across all markets saw hospital readmission rates of 7.2%.”
Online medical care might not be the doctors and nurses of your parents’ time, but it is a huge advancement that will help care for your parents’ future. Geriatric care is greatly impacted by the mobility of older patients and using technology-based doctor appointments is a much-needed solution. So, is this new-fangled approach to healthcare here to stay? It sure looks that way!
Medicaid guidelines require all providers to practice within the scope of their State Practice Act. Some states have enacted legislation that requires providers using telemedicine technology across state lines to have a valid state license in the state where the patient is located. Any such requirements or restrictions placed by the state are binding under current Medicaid rules.
Teladoc's private funding rounds included $9 million in December 2009,[10] $4 million in January 2011,[11] $18.6 million in September 2011,[12] $15 million in September 2013,[13] and $50 million in September 2014.[14] On April 29, 2015, the company submitted preliminary confidential IPO paperwork, and on May 29, 2015 it publicly filed for its IPO.[15][16] On July 1, 2015, the company went public with a New York Stock Exchange-listed IPO at $19 per share, which gave the company a market capitalization of $758 million and an enterprise value of $620 million.[17] The initial response to the IPO was good: shares surged 50% on the opening day to close at $28.50,[3] after opening at $29.90 and trading as high as $31.90.[18]
Likely a favorite among patients aging in place, telemedicine permits providers to monitor their patients in their own homes. Using patient portals, a physician can gather and share information with their patient. In addition, medical devices can send vital signs and more to providers so they can make adjustments to care as needed. VSee offers their clients the following telemedicine solutions:

Dr. Creelman has practiced family medicine since 1984 and provided care with our team since 2006. He received his medical degree from the University of Washington and completed the San Bernardino Medical Center Family Practice Residency Program. As director of clinical operations, he works with the service delivery team to ensure that providers deliver the highest quality medical care and create positive patient experiences. In addition to his career in telemedicine, Dr. Creelman is a volunteer and a member of the board of directors of a local free clinic. He has also served on short-term overseas medical missions. He enjoys jogging and hiking, fine woodworking and crafting gourmet sushi with his family.
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