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Telehealth Topics

Telehealth Topics

What is Telehealth?

We here at the Northwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center (NRTRC) believe that Telehealth is or should be a basic in delivering care to all populations. We hope that the information you find here will help you along as you learn more about Telehealth.

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) defines telemedicine as: “The delivery of any healthcare service or transmission of wellness information using telecommunications technology.” Closely associated with telemedicine is the term “Telehealth,” which is often used to encompass a broader definition of remote healthcare that does not always involve clinical services. Videoconferencing, transmission of still images, e-health including patient portals, remote monitoring of vital signs, continuing medical education and nursing call centers are all considered part of telemedicine and Telehealth.

Telemedicine is not a separate medical specialty. Products and services related to telemedicine are often part of a larger investment by health care institutions in either information technology or the delivery of clinical care. Even in the reimbursement fee structure, there is usually no distinction made between services provided on site and those provided through telemedicine and often no separate coding required for billing of remote services.

The National Telehealth Resource Center Coalition is aware that even with descriptions like those above, the Telehealth/Telemedicine discussion can become clouded. To that end, we have determined that the best option is to use the term Telehealth for discussions revolving around use of technology to provide health care. This link will bring you to the TRC Coalition’s position paper on the term “Telehealth.” If we can be of any assistance please feel free to contact us.

Newsletters

Newsletters
NRTRC publishes a bi-monthly newsletter containing information and articles of interest regarding Telehealth. Articles about Telehealth in general, events and activities in the Northwest and news from NRTRC’s ‘home office’ are included to keep you informed.

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Newsletters

Short Educational Videos

Short Educational Videos
We have been asked for brief videos that discuss various aspects of Telehealth and its uses. NRTRC has started recording a series of videos called “Short Takes,” where we ask our colleagues from around the region to share their thoughts. We will be adding to the list below as time permits, but if there’s a subject you’d like to see covered...

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Short Educational Videos

Telehealth Training Programs

Telehealth Training Programs
There are a lot of educational opportunities out there for you to learn about Telehealth. We have listed a few Telehealth Programs below that offer education and training.

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Telehealth Training Programs

The Benefits of Telehealth

The Benefits of Telehealth
What benefits does Telehealth provide and who enjoys them? There are a lot of advantages to using Telehealth. The following list discusses a few:

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The Benefits of Telehealth

White Papers

White Papers
Our selection of white papers has been developed to help you understand different aspects of Telehealth. The papers are researched and prepared to be quick reads to provide basic information on the topics represented.

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White Papers

The Business of Telehealth

The Business of Telehealth
There’s a lot involved with building a Telehealth program. Besides determining which services and support you’ll offer to your patients and connected providers, you’ll need to be aware of the business aspect of Telehealth as well.

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The Business of Telehealth

Telehealth Applications

Telehealth Applications
Clinical Services – Patient consults can be provided in two modes: Live Real Time- provides live patient to provider encounters. Store and Forward – allows specialists to review patient findings at convenient times without depending on the presence of the patient. Patient and Clinical Education Services- Educational Services can be provided through a Telehealth Network. Networks...

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Telehealth Applications

Clinical Specialties

Clinical Specialties
It’s getting harder and harder to list Telehealth specialties. There are few medical specialties that cannot be delivered over Telehealth connections. In the early days, dermatology and behavioral health were the major uses of Telehealth. Today, however, there are so many specialties that it’s almost mind-boggling to think about them. For more information about the specialties that are available via Telemedicine, contact your local provider or NRTRC.

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Clinical Specialties

Reimbursement

Reimbursement
Reimbursement is one of the most challenging aspects of Telehealth. Who will reimburse for Telehealth services and what amount will be reimbursed are questions we encounter routinely. While some of our states now have laws requiring private payers to pay for the same services and at the same rate as Medicaid (called parity legislation), several others do not have these laws...

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Reimbursement

Protocols and Procedures

Protocols and Procedures
While protocols and procedures for Telehealth services must be developed by providers to meet their special needs and policies, we offer several model protocols developed by various colleague organizations. These can be used as models for developing your own protocols.

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Protocols and Procedures

Technology

Technology
Telehealth technology falls into several categories.

First, there’s the critical communication technology. This is the technology used to connect the endpoints of the Telehealth encounter. There are several options. The classic H.323 connections are probably the best-known technologies, connecting videoconferencing equipment via secure, encrypted, often dedicated connections.

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Technology
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