Kentucky Telehealth Network Addresses Potential Changes
At the quarterly Kentucky Telehealth Network (KTH) meeting in Frankfort, participants from around the state discussed a number of issues facing telemedicine and its practitioner’s use in the state for the future.
In the discussion, led by University of Kentucky’s Rob Sprang, Director of KTH, a number of topics were brought to the table. One of them is the concern of the practice of telemedicine over the telephone. This is growing as “direct to consumer” telemedicine increases from a variety of providers. State medical boards have concerns over telephone-based plans. The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure has provided an opinion in April 2014, where they voice concern over this particular practice.
Some of the stipulations set forth by the board’s recommendation included the requirement for patients to be able to select their physician (not to be auto-assigned by the system) and that telemedicine should not be an audio-only solution. Counter arguments were made, that while the phone is not necessarily good for diagnosing, it could be effectively used in follow-up coaching.
Medicaid is continuing to struggle with how to properly regulate telemedicine and continues to work on changes. One area of concern is how to involve community mental health agencies and the impact telemedicine may have on them.
Other regulatory changes that should be made, according to Sprang, is the current regulation that the place of service is where the provider is located, instead of the location of the patient. Also, the fact that referrals are mandated creates an unreasonable burden to patients.
Finally, there was discussion regarding the current H.323 standard. Trinity Video’s Assistant Vice President John Jennings was asked to provide his opinion of this requirement. “The standard sometimes gets in the way of innovation by eliminating some very innovative solutions. However, a standard brings a level of stability and predictability to the platform that makes a lot of sense. We need to figure out how to balance these two requirements to find a solution that promotes innovation without creating an uncontrollable environment,” said Jennings.
Trinity Video Communications is an industry leading audiovisual and video communications company that provides Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) telemedicine solutions to facilitate real-time, face-to-face communication between patient and medical staff anytime, anywhere and from any device – smartphone, laptop, desktop or tablet.
Trinity Video Communications is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky with additional offices in Sterling, Virginia and Cincinnati, Ohio. For more information, call 1-800-261-9008.