ATA CEO: Telemedicine is a business tool

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American Telemedicine Association CEO Jonathan Linkous said that the stage is set for making telemedicine "a profit center" during a session at this year's ATA International Meeting & Trade Show, held in Austin, Texas. Linkous, according to Healthcare Finance News, put emphasis on the role of telemedicine as a business tool as he spoke to conference attendees.

"This is an incredible time for healthcare, and we need to look at it from within a specific framework in terms of the dollars and cents of it," Linkous said. "We want attendees to gain a better understanding of the return on investment associated with telemedicine as well as efficient ways of operating a program."

As the fee-for-service model expands, the mix of managed care, accountable care organizations, medical homes and more will call for proper use of telemedicine to cut costs and increase efficiency, Healthcare Finance News pointed out, and Linkous talked about opportunity there.

To Linkous, one of the most crucial roles for telemedicine will be in reducing hospital readmissions.

"The hospital knows that it is in their best interest to make sure a discharged patient will be cared for so that he or she does not go back in the hospital within 30 days," Linkous said. "The hospital will do what it can in terms of remote monitoring--but the private physician has a role in that, too. And if the private physician is aligned with that hospital, there ought to be a role in terms of sharing information, doing remote monitoring. Telemedicine is being used in that way."

Telemedicine, he added, should be integrated into the practice of care, rather than be thought of as a specialty itself.

Examples of how telemedicine is changing care delivery models can be found in the use of videoconferencing to allow family members to plan hospice care and the successful use of telehealth to boost adherence to hypertension treatment, among many other eye-opening trials in 2012 and 2013.

To learn more:
- read the Healthcare Finance News article

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