The Future of Telehealth is in Our Hands

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 2.06.40 PMBy Mike Baird, CEO of Avizia

It is not news that the healthcare technology market is booming. Industry reports estimate the health IT market will exceed $220 Billion by 2020. Nor is it a shock that numerous studies point to improved patient outcomes, satisfaction and reduced hospitalizations with the use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring. It is a fascinating time to be in the health technology space.

However, with so much opportunity it is easy to lose sight of the critical piece to making the promise of telehealth a reality for all Americans – legislation. Last month U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), John Thune (R-S.D.), and Mark Warner (D-Va.) introduced the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act. This bipartisan legislation would expand telehealth services through Medicare, improve care outcomes, make it easier for patients to connect with their health care providers, and help cut costs for patients and providers. As we look to improve care for all Americans, it is vital that we, the health technology community, do what we can to support this critical legislation.

“As a telehealth technology provider dedicated to connecting any patient to any physician from any place, it is our duty to support the CONNECT for health ACT,” said Luke Leininger, Co-Founder and COO at Avizia. “Our hope is that by attending industry events that support this bill, and by demonstrating the capabilities of our technology we can show members of Congress the tangible promise of telehealth. This legislation is critical to expanding access to telehealth within Medicare, making care delivery more efficient, and improving the overall patient experience.”

In a recent effort to gain ongoing support for this legislation, and continue to raise awareness in Congress, Avizia, along with more than 20 other leading companies from around the globe, participated in the Connect Health Technology Demo on March 23 in the Rayburn Building in Washington D.C. This event is just one of the ways that we are working across party lines to ensure American’s have access to solutions that can detect illnesses earlier, reduce recovery time, and improve patient outcomes – all outside of the four walls of a doctor’s office.

“Connected health is an issue that Congress finds very compelling,” said Brian Scarpelli, senior policy counsel at ACT | The App Association, who organized the recent connected health event. “Over 200 attended the Connected Health Demo, including senior staff from the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees. Attendees were able to interact with more than 20 mobile health innovators, experiencing how sensors, apps, and devices are revolutionizing how patients and physicians share information.”

If passed, the CONNECT for Health Act would:

  • Create a program to help providers meet the goals of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act and the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System through the use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring (RPM)
  • Expand the use of RPM for certain patients with chronic conditions
  • Increase telehealth and RPM services in community health centers and rural health clinics, and
  • Make telehealth and RPM basic benefits in Medicare Advantage

Another benefit of this would be the improvement of healthcare through concierge telemedicine. To further explain, here is a video by Richard Kimball of HExL, Inc.:

As a global telehealth provider, I view the CONNECT for Health Act legislation as critical to expanding access to telehealth within Medicare, making care delivery more efficient, and improving the overall patient experience. With all the promise and advancements on the horizon, it is important that as health technology leaders we support legislation that will make the innovations we create a reality for all Americans. I encourage my fellow CEOs, COOs and innovators to contact representatives in their state and together we can make the promise of connected care a reality for all Americans.

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