My CMS News and Ideas on Telemedicine in Florida

October 20, 2015

What Exactly is Telehealth?

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbondsullivan @ 12:59 pm

20 October 2015

Pinning down a definition of Telehealth versus Telemedicine can be quite difficult – even though it seems pretty apparent what we are talking about. But it isn’t. Here are some of the definitions attempted in Florida in the last year. These are important because they will tend to describe the boundaries within which doctors practice:

American Telemedicine Association – What is Telemedicine?

…telemedicine is the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s clinical health status.

Florida Senate – SB 1646 – 2014 Legislative Session

“Telemedicine” means the practice of medicine through the use of advanced communications technology by a telemedicine provider at a distant site…

CS/SB 478: Telehealth  and CS/HB 545: Telehealth  – 2015 Legislative Session

(a) “Telehealth” means the use of synchronous or asynchronous telecommunications technology by a telehealth provider to provide health care services, including, but not limited to, patient assessment, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, and monitoring; the transfer of medical data; patient and professional health-related education; public health services; and health care administration…

Florida Board of Medicine – 64B8-9.0141

“Telemedicine” means the practice of medicine by a licensed Florida physician or physician assistant where patient care, treatment, or services are provided through the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications.

Each of these definitions puts a somewhat different spin on the use of telecommunication technologies by doctors. Each definition adds something of value, but each is limited by its own perspective. A different approach to defining telehealth might be sought in the use cases for telehealth. It is the application of the technologies of telehealth that describes what telehealth is, not necessarily the technologies….

October 15, 2015

Entering a New Telehealth Season in 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbondsullivan @ 7:20 pm

The Telehealth scene in Florida is starting to heat up as 2015 draws to a close. In the Florida Legislature, two bills, CS/HB 545 & CS/SB 478, had passed their committee hearings, and were heading toward consolidation when the legislative session ended.  According to Senator Arthenia Joyner, who sponsored telehealth bills in 2014 and 2015, a new telehealth bill will be on the floor in the 2016 session of the Florida Legislature.

In September, Florida TaxWatch held its second Cornerstone Telehealth Conference in Orlando to shine a light on policy issues in telehealth and to recap the legislative efforts to craft a telehealth bill in 2015.  TaxWatch has been active for several years tracking the movement of telehealth bills through the Legislature. As good summary of the 2015 legislative session in Florida can be found here:

At the beginning of October, the FCC came to Florida, holding meetings in Miami and Jacksonville. The goal was to promote broadband for telehealth. The meeting in Miami was held for vendors and the one in Jacksonville was for providers. I attended this one and it yielded some eye-opening use cases for the benefits of telehealth. I will report on this conference in later blogs. Of course, the first question is “Why is the FCC addressing Telehealth?” More later…

In December the Southeastern Telehealth Resource Center will be holding the Second Annual Telehealth Summit in Winter Park.  This meeting brings anyone interested in Telehealth together for a day and a half. Topics on the agenda include policy, outcomes, payment models and legal issues in telehealth, a poster session for telehealth researchers and a technical telehealth hands-on demonstration lab after the conference. More later…

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