Telemedicine has rapidly grown in popularity in recent years as doctors and patients alike discover the new improvements in care and appointment timing that connecting virtually allows. Doctors expect new legislation which will make the process even easier to adopt in medical communities, increasing the potential to improve many lives.
Medicare approves telemedicine
Politic 365 reported that the American Telemedicine Association recently succeeded in a prospective effort to include the technological process under a list of reimbursement-eligible processes in connection with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The improvements added include remote medical services, testing and non-face-to-face care services for chronic health issues.
These new proposals go into effect at the beginning of next year, when various services, including psychological testing, psychotherapy, wellness checkups and chronic care management, will also become more available for patients to use. There will also be limits on billing services required in the telemedicine process, which will help keep the practice as affordable as possible for patients.
Insurers making process more accessible
Bloomberg Businessweek found that health insurers are also working hard to make sure that telemedicine becomes as universal as possible. To help doctors cut medical costs, companies including WellPoint and Aetna are adding telemedicine to many plans. WellPoint has been said by the news source to give 4 million patients the functionality, while Aetna's current figures stand at 3 million, though that will rise to 8 million next year.
This comes as telemedicine is reaching a wider audience, and gaining new popularity among patients, than ever before. Everything from sinus infections to back pain can be explored and treated using telemedicine, though some doctors noted that not all problems can or should be solved virtually, the news source noted.
Many issues can certifiably be treated in this way, others told Businessweek, which gives them confidence about continuing to use the service. Online care serves many needs, cutting the costs for consumers and insurers alike and giving busy or isolated patients and doctors easier ways to contact each other.
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