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American Telemedicine Association Outlook for Telemedicine: Takeaways from ATA 2014

Last month, Jintronix attended the American Telemedicine Association’s (ATA) 2014 Conference in Baltimore. The event brought together over 1,000 different players across all layers of the healthcare spectrum from small technology startups like Jintronix to entrenched technology providers like Philips and Cisco and  integrated healthcare providers like Kaiser Permanente. Main focus: Much of the discussion at the conference focused on two main topics: inter-state legislatures/compacts and a legislature required for healthcare providers to provide care outside of the state where they were originally licensed for reimbursement. While the genesis of Telehealth dates back to the early 60’s, public and private insurance providers have been slow to accept this technology as a valid means of providing care. But, with the promise of reducing healthcare costs, improving patient outcomes and increasing the convenience/availability of care, reform is sure to come. Telemedicine technology Expo hall: Being a technology developer myself, it’s always interesting tosee what is the latest and greatest in the field. The majority of established players (Cisco, Rubbermaid, JedMed and Polycom) produced some kind of video conferencing technology. Whether it be a high definition camera, powered cart, or combination of the two, there was a clear concentration and demand from healthcare providers for allowing clinician-to-clinician or clinician-to-patient communication (real-time information). Along the  perimeter of the expo hall, there were some technologies that allowed for capturing of patient metrics for clinicians to use at a later point (store and forward) but these did not have prominent placement within the hall. Telehealth solutions Panels: It was clear that producers are still very much in the early stages of telemedicine. While there is a need for this type of technology, efficacy research remains limited. With the high fixed costs associated to many of these technologies and the requirement for healthcare providers to change their routine to better implement this technology, it is apparent that both technology providers and healthcare providers will need to work together to generate the research required for this medium of healthcare delivery to gain mainstream adoption. Takeaways: Overall, Jintronix is extremely excited for the prospects of  telemedicine and at the novelty of our approach. With research already starting to  show improvements in efficacy of treatments and many interested players extremely excited with the future of this field, it is clear that telemedicine will become a reality. It may take ~3 years for the government to catch up, but the demand from all stakeholders is real and will certainly drive this space over the next decade. Daniel Schacter

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