Legislator calls for use of telehealth tools to expand

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State Representative Klint Kesto (R) of Michigan's 39th district made a public call for greater use of telehealth tools in a letter to the editor published today in the Kalamazoo Gazette.

Kesto, who wrote the letter along with registered nurse Sheryl Stone of Decatur, R.I., claims that although healthcare exchanges under the Affordable Care Act dominate the headlines today, technology is just as deserving of attention from constituents and lawmakers.

"One important aspect that is often lost in the political discourse is how best we can utilize technology more effectively to help curb rising healthcare costs while expanding access to care through new innovative delivery systems," Kesto said. "Incorporating more technology into healthcare is something that most people would expect has already happened. Our nation's health care may seem modernized and equipped with the latest technology, but the reality is that we are not yet maximizing the use of even commonplace technologies we use in other areas of our lives to improve treatment and patient outcomes."

Calling the laws governing healthcare "antiquated," Kesto highlighted the many hoops providers must jump through to practice telehealth in their states, and how the rules don't reflect the benefits of telehealth and its innovations.

"As a result, it places barriers between patients and the high-quality care that could be delivered across state lines," Kesto said. "Lawmakers should immediately encourage the use of technology to delivery health care services."

Kesto added that he thinks Congress should begin by focusing on Medicare--by letting providers treat patients across state lines with telehealth.

A report published last monty by Research and Markets highlights the global interest in telemedicine, particularly in the fields of teleradiology, telepathology and teledermatology, with cost seen as the major barrier to many programs.

According to a panel of experts speaking at an Alliance for Health Reform event in late July in Washington, D.C., telehealth will be a vital cog in the rollout of the ACA and is creating a more "level playing field" in the healthcare industry.

To learn more:
- read Kesto's letter
- read this Research and Markets announcement

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