Telemedicine: How providers, payers are progressing amid continued hurdles [Special Report]

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By Dan Bowman

For all of the strides that have been made regarding coverage, both public and private, and available technology, telemedicine continues to be a fringe option for healthcare consumers. Many questions and concerns still linger regarding cost, effectiveness, safety and reimbursement, among other issues.

"On a maturity scale from 1-10, telemedicine is at a three," John Jesser, vice president of provider engagement strategy for Anthem's LiveHealth Online service, tells FierceHealthIT. "Those of us in the health business talk about it, know about it, feel like it's much more ubiquitous. But really, out there among the average American consumer, I'd say that seven out of 10 people probably still don't know that this is even possible."

Still, he says, that doesn't mean that the future isn't bright.

"The good news is that the arrows are all moving in the right direction for growth," Jesser says. "Five years from now, it won't even be called telemedicine, it'll just be healthcare. Doctors' offices will be Web-enabled, mobile-enabled. That progress is going to continue to happen."

In this special report, Jesser and Judd Hollander, associate dean for strategic health initiatives at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, discuss with FierceHealthIT how each of their organizations is working to improve care access for patients via telemedicine. They talk about the hurdles they currently face, and share their thoughts on the state of the industry at large.