Like many other enabling-technologies in healthcare, telemedicine has vast unrealized potential.

If we make location completely irrelevant and can deliver care virtually, we can address the supply and demand imbalance plaguing healthcare. The benefits to patients would be enormous: lower costs and improved access in ways that are unimaginable in the analog era.

Of all the ways to limit health care costs, perhaps none is as popular as cutting payments to doctors. In recent years payment cuts have resulted in a sharp downturn in revenue for many hospitals and private practices. What this has meant for most physicians is that in order to maintain their income, they’ve had to see more patients. When you reduce the volume of air per breath, the only way to maintain ventilation is to breathe faster.

The number and length of hospitalizations, as well as hospital charges, all significantly declined when rural and underserved heart failure patients were remotely monitored, according to research published online this month inTelemedicine and e-Health.

Disputes between healthcare organizations and IT vendors are becoming more common with increased use of technology, such as electronic health records. As the government attempts to recoup money spent on failed health insurance exchanges, disputes with vendors are also becoming commonplace in other sectors. When healthcare organizations implement software and it does not perform as promised, they are often only able to recoup the purchase price of the product.

Doctor with PatientThe Altarum Institute, a nonprofit health systems research and consulting firm, recently published findings from their semi-annual survey of consumers about their beliefs

Healthcare has always been a deeply regulated industry, so in many ways healthcare organizations are already used to dealing with government scrutiny. However, we’ve recently seen a number of new audit programs hit the healthcare world that didn’t exist even a few years ago. Here’s a look at a few of them you should be prepared for.

ICD-10 testing isn’t going away — for the most part, it’s not even being delayed. That’s why many payers, including Medicaid, are taking advantage of the additional time before implementation to conduct more end-to-end testing. What does this mean for providers, payers, and clearinghouses? And how can these groups work together to create richer, more productive, and ultimately more valuable ICD-10 testing initiatives?

As a clinician, I find the usability of clinical information systems challenging at best, horribly inefficient and fraught with risks at worst. Unfortunately, we as a health IT community have learned to tolerate these challenges. As a result, clinicians find themselves playing detective rather than clinician, as they hunt for information and navigate through a sea of applications, tabs and folders. We are functioning in an environment where we are data rich and information poor. 

Ambulatory medical facilities preparing to implement an electronic health record can take advantage of HIMSS' EHR Readiness Assessment Toolkit. The toolkit provides resources for facilities to analyze the benefits and challenges of implementing an EHR as well as tips on how to properly prepare for the transition. The resources cover topics including change management strategies, financing EHRs, transitioning to ICD-10 and conducting practice assessments.

Health insurers want you to see the doctor, just not in an office or hospital. To cut medical costs and diagnose minor ailments, WellPoint Inc. (WLP) and Aetna Inc. (AET), among other health insurers, are letting millions of patients get seen online first. In a major expansion of telemedicine, WellPoint this month started offering 4 million patients the ability to have e-visits with doctors, while Aetna says it will boost online access to 8 million people next year from 3 million now.