gpTRAC Regional Telehealth Conference April 6-7, 2015

gpTRAC Regional Telehealth Conference April 6-7, 2015

Save the date! The 2015 Regional Telehealth Conference will be held April 6-7 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

gpTRAC is excited to again offer an opportunity for the region’s healthcare community to come together to network and learn more about making a difference through telehealth services. This 1.5 day forum offers the opportunity to learn from both regional and national experts as they share their stories and experiences in developing and implementing telehealth to meet the needs of their area.  Click on the FORUM tab above to access additional event details.

We look forward to seeing you in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Please call us at 888-239-7092 if you have any questions.


2015 Regional Telehealth Conference


Is there a place for Telehealth within ACOs?

The answer is yes.  Absolutely.  Telehealth,  as a mode of healthcare delivery, provides a means to more efficiently and effectively achieve ACO goals.  Read on to find out how.

First, what are ACOs and what are ACO goals?

ACO stands for Accountable Care Organization.  ACOs are groups of healthcare providers including doctors and hospitals that voluntarily join forces to provide coordinated care to Medicare patients.  The philosophy of ACOs is that coordinated care leads to better outcomes, because patients get the care they need without unnecessary duplication of services.  This is especially true for the chronically ill.

Successful ACOs lead to higher quality care and reduced health care spending within the Medicare program.

Telehealth,  as a mode of delivery provides a means for an ACO to more efficiency and effectively achieve their goals.  Here’s how:

  1. Telehealth technology has demonstrated costs savings.  By utilizing telehealth technology, an ACO can deliver care at a lower cost in many cases than traditional in-person office visits.
  2. Telehealth provides the possibility of greater access to care for those patients who are homebound for any of a variety of reasons or live in locations where travel to sites of care is time-consuming and difficult.  Including these patients expands the ACOs patient base.
  3. Telehealth promotes more timely access to care which can result in fewer emergency room visits and hospitalizations.  Preventative care is essential in reaching ACO goals.

Summary:  Telehealth promotes the goals of ACOs by lowering the costs of care while maintaining and improving the quality of care.  Through providing the means for greater access to care telehealth can increase the numbers of individuals who can participate in an ACO.  Read more on the benefits of telehealth for ACOs in the gpTRAC Resource Center here.

Argument: Patients don’t want to use telemedicine services

Advocates for telemedicine policy that includes mid-level providers will likely face opposition.  Three likely arguments will be: (1) patients aren’t interested in telemedicine, (2) telemedicine should not be allowed replace in-person visits and (3) if telemedicine policy does change, there is no need to include mid-level providers.  Below is a sample evidence-based response to the first argument.

Argument:  Patients don’t want to use telemedicine services

Response: Telemedicine patients have reported good acceptance rates and satisfaction with the technologies and treatment via telemedicine has been proven to be efficacious (Whitten, 2007).  Additionally, a recent Price Waterhouse Cooper Study found that 50% of people surveyed stated that they “would seek healthcare through online consultations” and that “email consultations were the most preferred method”, followed by “Webcam/video consultations (Thompson et al, 2011).”

Thompson, M., Isgur, B., & Foong, S. (2011) Focusing on Healthcare Value, Price WaterHouse Cooper, Retrieved from

Whitten, P. & Buis, L. (2007) Private Payer Reimbursement for Telemedicine Services in the United States, Telemedicine and e-Health, Vol. 13, DOI: 10.1089/tmj.2006.0028

Telemedicine versus Telehealth

Last week we got into detail about the word ‘Telemedicine’.  This week, we are taking it a step further and talking about the difference between ‘Telehealth’ and ‘Telemedicine’.  Telehealth and Telemedicine may appear to be very similar, but there are some important differences. Telehealth is the more general term and means the electronic transfer of medical information for the purpose of patient care. This includes clinical, educational and administrative uses and applications. Telemedicine is specifically the use of these technologies to deliver patient care services.

Watch this short video with gpTRAC expert Zoi Hils for a more detailed explanation of when to use which!

For more videos that answer to the most commonly asked Telemedicine questions visit gpTRAC on YouTube here.