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Growing Telehealth Reach Impacts More Than Healthcare

By Ryan Mcaskill

As more healthcare facilities are embracing telehealth solutions, its impact goes beyond the hospital.

The growth of the telehealth industry is clear to see. Across the country a number of states are debating legislation that would expand reimbursement for telehealth services and numerous forecasts have also been released that point to the growth and potential of the telehealth services market.

While it is clear that doctors and patient will be directly impacted by the increase in telehealth services - greater access to physicians and specialists, ability to take appointments remotely - there are other, more indirect impacts of an expanding telehealth market.  

One major impact will be the jobs market, and that will not be limited to hospitals. Florida is one of the states that is currently debating a new bill that would expand Medicaid reimbursement for telehealth and if it is to pass, a number of healthcare providers will be boosting their telehealth offering. This means an increase in internal IT personnel at hospitals and healthcare facilities. Vendors will also need to increase staff to meet demands.

A recent article from the Sun Sentinel spoke with several executives at Florida healthcare IT companies, all of which see the coming opportunity.

"It's a growing and burgeoning industry, but the regulation hasn't yet caught up with the innovation in the marketplace,” David Marsidi, the CEO of Ezdoctor.com, said in an interview. “Once there are some rules making it clear to doctors what's allowed and not allowed, it's going to be very good for the industry."

Marsidi added that his company has already expanded since opening in 2013 to justify new office space twice. If the projected boom happens, he is going to be in the market for new sales and marketing professionals.

Another area that will be impacted is on the IT side. With more patients using telehealth services, companies need to make sure they have the hardware to support it. According to an article from the Clarion-Ledger, the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) is in the process of converting a 16,000-square-foot facility into a new technology hub to support its growing telehealth program.

With the help of Baton Rouge data company Venyu Solutions, UMMC will create a technology center that will be able to support telehealth service and remote monitoring throughout the state and house an Innovation Living Lab and workforce development training center.

"Mississippi is a national leader in telehealth, and today's announcement marks an important step toward even more innovation and development," Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant said in an interview. "We are not only growing the medical corridor in the Jackson metro area, we are ensuring we have the infrastructure in place to develop new health-care solutions that can improve the lives of Mississippians."

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