At a time when more people need health care, the shortage of physicians across the country is growing. That dynamic is making telemedicine, or telehealth—the use of electronic telecommunications technology to diagnose or treat a patient in need of care, service or monitoring—even more important.

According to a Stateline report today, less than half of U.S. doctors (48.1 percent) have made the switch to electronic records. Nine states were significantly above the national average – except for Massachusetts, these states were clustered in the upper Midwest and the West. The seven states, and the District of...

Data is the “oxygen for our program” said a Super-Utilizer Summit leader in the October report Super-Utilizer Summit: Common Themes from Innovative Complex Care Management Programs. Data can help policy makers identify and target super-utilizers. However, the correct type of data is important to accurately measure and target patient populations.

Claims data is one source to paint a broad picture of patient populations...

It’s not difficult to find success from medical innovation over the past 50 years.

The federal government invests $31 billion and the private sector—including the biopharmaceutical industry, academic medical centers and patient advocacy organizations—invests nearly $65 billion a year, said Richard Bagger.

Story appears in the 2013 July/August issue of Capitol Ideas.

By Indiana Rep. Ed Clere, House Public Health Committee Chair

As consumers, we have become accustomed to having easy access to information and reviews about the things we buy and the places we visit. Whether we’re shopping for an appliance or a car or looking for a restaurant or a hotel room, we learn from and make purchasing decisions based on the experiences of others. Imagine if we were able to do the same with health care.

Telemedicine consultations improve quality of care according to a study published in Critical Care Medicine titled Impact of Critical Care Telemedicine Consultations on Children in Rural Emergency Departments.

The Council of State Governments’ National Center for Interstate Compacts is working with several stakeholder groups on issues ranging from electric transmission lines, distance learning, and licensing of EMS and other medical services personnel. Find out more about compacts relating to these issues, all of which are in various stages of development.

Leveraging technology to improve access to telehealth has the potential to significantly improve access to health care in rural areas and, in turn, reduce costs for patients, states and the federal government. An effective telehealth system that allows rural patients to connect more efficiently with specialists has the potential to streamline the process and result in better patient outcomes, all while reducing the financial burden on patients, states and the federal government. A telehealth interstate compact offers one approach to achieving these goals, and in turn improving access to health care through telehealth.

At the recently concluded National Leadership Conference held in La Quinta, California, the CSG Executive Committee approved eight policy resolutions on a wide range of topics, including export promotion, preventing Medicaid fraud, exploring a telehealth interstate compact, state sales taxation on e-commerce, and the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule.
 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT, that The Council of State Governments establish a Telehealth Care Interstate Compact Working Group to explore the creation of a new interstate compact agreement designed to improve access to health care in rural areas by facilitating the interstate licensing of doctors and reforming the existing reimbursement system.  The working group will research the feasibility of such an arrangement and make specific recommendations to the CSG National Health Policy Task Force within one year.

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