ATA: Telemedicine is proven already

By Brian Dolan

Jon Linkous, CEO, American Telemedicine AssociationTelemedicine is no longer “turning the corner," American Telemedicine Association (ATA) CEO Jon Linkous wrote in a recent blog post.

"For years we talked about reaching the point when telemedicine services became self-sustaining outside of temporary grants, going from promise to reality," wrote Linkous. "We have long passed the point of telemedicine being a new application. After eighteen years the corner is turned and I promise to put that phrase away." Linkous added that he is tired of having to "prove the case," and that a variety of telemedicine is now reimbursed by Medicare.

In July, Linkous published an open letter to the FDA criticizing them for their inaction towards rural healthcare. He spoke to MobiHealthNews in 2009 about the emerging wireless health industry, and last year wrote a column on whether or not mHealth is revolutionary. (Hint: He doesn't think so.)

Linkous provides multiple statistics to support his claim that telemedicine arrived long ago, including: At least half of the 5,000 U.S. hospitals are using teleradiology or other forms of remote imaging; The Ontario Telehealth Network manages over 100,000 live physician-patient video consults a year for a variety of specialty and primary care services; The MedTrix Group provides 10-12 thousand video-based pediatric consults per month for the largest HMO plan in the Israel; The VA is using remote health monitoring for 55,000 veterans; Revenue generated from telemedicine has resulted in profits for independent service providers and is a self-sustaining business within some healthcare delivery systems; A recent survey of Washington, DC hospitals found that every hospital in the metropolitan area was using one or more telemedicine applications as part of their normal delivery of health care for area residents.

Be sure to read the full blog post here.