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Telehealth News

How mHealth Tools Advance Nationwide Telemedicine Adoption

By Vera Gruessner

- As nationwide telemedicine adoption grows in scope and becomes more complex throughout the healthcare industry, medical organizations are holding forums to better inform providers on how to best utilize and expand telehealth services. For example, the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) is holding the 2015 ATA Fall Forum in Washington, D.C. this September. Dr. Reed Tuckson, President of the American Telemedicine Association, and Managing Director of Tuckson Health Connections, LLC, told mHealthIntelligence.com some more information about the upcoming Fall Forum.

Mobile Health Apps

“We are very excited to convene people who are experts in the field of telehealth and policy experts in addition to the people who are making telehealth products,” he explained. “We assemble them twice a year – once in an annual meeting and once in our Fall Forum. The Fall Forum is really an opportunity to have people come together to Washington, D.C. and do a deep dive into what’s going on with the policy issues as well as giving folks an idea of what’s happening with new innovations and developments in the field.”

“Then we go from there to policy challenges and trying to use this opportunity to educate congressional leaders and their staffs as well as policy professionals. It’s really exciting,” Tuckson exclaimed. “It’s an opportunity for people to get a hands-on feel for where the field is today, what’s going on in the field, and the implications of this as we go forward.”

As the telehealth field continues to advance and nationwide telemedicine adoption grows, mobile health tools including apps could affect the implementation of telehealth technology and care coordination throughout the healthcare industry.

When asked how mobile applications will impact nationwide telemedicine adoption and care coordination among hospitals and clinics, Tuckson replied, “The excitement that has been associated with the advances in Broadband technology, the reach of the wildest capabilities, and the exciting developments in smartphones and tablets all have made a fundamental revolution in how people live their lives and how consumers engage in a variety of areas of their life.”

“I think most of us would be overjoyed by the opportunity that this now brings for health to become much more central into the daily life of the consumer. Health is being brought much more central into the milieu of the many other different apps and patient-centric individual tools that this revolution is bringing,” he continued.

“Above all, we are finding that the opportunities to encourage and support people to make personally-appropriate health behavior choices and medical care decisions is really energized by the new tools that we lump under mHealth. The wildest monitoring tools that enable a person in association with their physicians and other health professionals to monitor and track what’s happening to them is also part of that revolution,” he relayed.

“There has to be great excitement as we now start to bring health into the center of people’s lives – right there along with the intermix of so many other things that we do on our smartphones and tablets,” he mentioned. “With that innovation comes challenges. We now know that a variety of services and information sources are available with some more reliable than others and some not reliable at all. The amount of information that is generated from engaging with these tools could threaten to overwhelm any individual physician or medical group.”

“There’s going to be some important opportunities to work with consumers to help them better understand how to make choices about the apps and the devices that they use. Also, there will be some important opportunities for very smart entrepreneurs to figure out how to organize the data in a way that could be more conveniently shared with the physician so that there is continuity of care between the more patient-centered consumer applications and the traditional medical care.”

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