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ATA CEO: 7 Market Trends Shaping the Future of Telemedicine
Date:1/5/2012

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Jonathan Linkous, Chief Executive Officer of the American Telemedicine Association, has shared seven market trends that will shape telemedicine and telehealth in the immediate future.  These trends represent major changes from the existing norm, creating new challenges and opportunities for the industry. 

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1. A Shift away from reimbursement models

Reimbursement has been the Holy Grail for telemedicine in America but the rapid growth of managed care, Accountable Care Organizations and medical homes are changing the way we pay for telemedicine services.  One quarter of all Americans—73 million patients—are now covered under a managed care health insurance program.  With this shift, the focus of decision-making is gradually turning to local and regional healthcare decision makers.

2. Telemedicine as a standard of care

Medical images, like x-rays and CT scans, have been viewed in digital form for forty years.  "Teleradiology" is now so common that many hospitals don't recognize the name – outsourcing part or all of a radiology program is just the way things are now done in healthcare.   Providing 24/7 services by a radiologist, using telehealth technologies, may be the first form of telemedicine that becomes a true standard of care; as such it would be included in state, federal and Joint Commission requirements and be a basis for court decisions on medical liability and hospital accountability.  It would not surprise me to see a legal case decided on this basis.

3. Emergence of remote clinical enterprises

Outsourcing the interpretation of medical images is now used by most hospitals in the United States.  A relatively new and related market is
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SOURCE American Telemedicine Association
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