Telemedicine policies expand access, dictate reimbursement

2017-07-10 | , AACU and Urology Times

Based on a partnership with Urology Times, articles from the American Association of Clinical Urologists (AACU) provide updates on legislative processes and issues affecting urologists. We welcome your comments and suggestions. Contact the AACU government affairs office at 847-517-1050 or for more information.

July 2017 - While uncertainty surrounds the Affordable Care Act and its designated replacement, the American Health Care Act, lawmakers in Washington and around the country are pushing ahead with proposals to regulate and reimburse services provided via telemedicine.

Providing care using electronic means is described by the AUA Telemedicine Workgroup as "an electronic revolution" that "is changing the very essence of how physicians practice medicine." The workgroup members attest that telemedicine is an innovation comparable to the printing press in its capacity to transform culture and medicine. Governments are scrambling to catch up with these developments, imposing laws and regulations that protect patients and promote equitable payment. Telemedicine may embody unique benefits—or risks—depending on the specifics of the laws that pass.

Patients are ready. A 2011 study reported that two-thirds of urology patients are already willing to engage in telemedicine.

Physicians are ready. Research from HIMSS Analytics finds adoption of telemedicine services across all practice types surged to 71% in 2017, up from approximately 54% in 2014.