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16 Nov 2016

What telemedicine, Blockbuster and Netflix have in common

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We saw it with video, we saw it with banking, and now we’re seeing it with digital health.

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Originally posted By Jeff Oldham – November 14, 2016

Reposted by Physician Licensing Service – November 16, 2016

Having all of your information available on one digital platform is the new norm, and it’s no wonder healthcare is moving in the same direction. Now that Americans are transitioning from co-payments to bigger deductibles due to the rise of high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), digital health is peaking interest when it comes to cutting costs. Employers are helping their employees manage these high deductibles by offering telemedicine benefits, and I predict it’ll be the next Blockbuster to Netflix movement.

According to Benefitfocus’ 2016 State of Employee Benefits report, 52% of large employers now offer at least one high-deductible health plan, and 41% of employees select an HDHP over a traditional plan when given the option. In an age where healthcare costs are skyrocketing, high-deductible health plans offer immediate costs savings, especially when coupled with a Health Savings Account (HSA). This option is especially attractive for generally healthy individuals who tend to spend less on healthcare, but still pay a high premium for more traditional plans. But with a higher deductible comes a caveat—people must pay out of pocket until it’s covered, which makes them take a closer look at how much doctor’s visits actually cost.

Enter telemedicine. A typical charge for a telemedicine visit is $40, compared to $125 for an office visit, and the best part is, it’s covered tax-free under an HSA. This is a substantial savings for people who haven’t yet met their deductible when they need a regular checkup or an emergency that doesn’t require an in-office visit. A recent survey from Mercer found 59% of large U.S. firms now cover a telemedicine program compared to just 30% in 2015. The usage numbers are only predicted to grow, and now that more insurers are embracing digital health services, we’re bound to see even more companies adopt telemedicine offerings.

Most fascinating about telemedicine is most people automatically assume it’s a millennial benefit, but the fact is, it’s incredibly useful for every generation. I’ve seen telemedicine act as a Medicare supplement for seniors who do not wish or are unable to leave their homes. Telehealth advocates and providers see senior telemedicine use as the next major market, especially for the 1 in 5 people older than 65 who live outside of a metropolitan area away from doctor’s offices. It’s opening a whole new door in healthcare where they can take wellness measures from the comfort of their own space.

The benefits of telemedicine go beyond cash-saving perks. By offering a telemedicine option, employers are sending the message that they care about workplace wellbeing. On the back of the recent “unsick day” trend, where employers give employees the day off to take preventative healthcare measures, it’s clear employers are realizing employees undergo a significant amount of stress when missing work. Since telemedicine is virtual, it’s more flexible—many providers even offer 24-hour access. It gives people the opportunity to check up on their health without the added time it takes to get to and from the doctor’s office, lessening the stress of using a sick day.

With telemedicine a generally new trend, how can employers convince employees to opt-in? To get employees to take advantage of this benefit, employers who offer telemedicine should consider educational tactics to communicate the availability and perks of using it, including video or health care transparency tools to show the potential savings. Think of it this way. Benefits are a language that most people don’t speak, and if they do, it’s only once a year for a few weeks during open enrollment. By offering year-round educational tools, employees are always in the know and can even bring home the “how-to” of telemedicine to their spouse or family members. This will encourage higher utilization and give people the full scope of what they can do with digital health.

Today, people expect more than just traditional healthcare, and furthermore, they expect it to be affordable. With telemedicine, employers can give their employees financial relief in the new HDHP landscape so they can worry less about hefty bills and more about taking care of themselves. Telemedicine exists in the same vein as Netflix and ATM banking.

Remember when we all went to Blockbuster to rent a video? Now we download entertainment digitally from Netflix. The analogy also holds true for the shift to more use of telehealth.

People are looking for a cost-effective, easily accessible platform to meet all their needs. Even though telemedicine is revered in its simplicity, it’s an incredibly comprehensive health care perk that’s likely to grow as more people uncover its benefits.

Jeff Oldham, is vice president of consumer strategy for Benefitfocus. He has worked in the benefits industry for 19 years, focusing on technology, medical and ancillary benefits management, along with wellness and disease management. He has been at Benefitfocus for over six years and leads the Benefitstore voluntary benefit consulting team.

09 Nov 2016

Practicing medicine across state lines: 5 things to know about the medical license debate

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Should medical licenses become more like drivers’ licenses? There are some who think so, according to a report in The Bulletin.

usa

States currently have different medical licensing standards and it’s a time-consuming process to obtain a medical license in multiple states. Yet with the inter-connectivity growing in the United States, and mobility more prevalent, there are some physicians advocating for more standardized requirements allowing physicians to treat patients across the United States.

 

Here are five key thoughts on trends in medical licenses:

 

1. Each state is able to collect its own licensing fees and create individual qualifications, which is a main stumbling block for standardized licenses. States could either standardize or agree to differences with some base qualifications.

 

2. There are 25 states that currently allow nurses from any other state to practice there as long as they have signed onto the reciprocal licensing compact. A similar process could allow physicians to operate across state lines, especially as telemedicine demand grows.

 

3. Some physicians are creating a multistate compact that doesn’t go as far as the nurses’ agreement but would provide an expedited application process to achieve a license in other states. Eleven states have signed the compact and more are expected to join next year. Healthcare professionals including physical therapists and occupational therapists are moving in a similar direction.

 

4. Currently, states have varied discipline for physicians and are worried they won’t be able to discipline physicians from other states or fully investigate those violating the state’s standards.

 

5. The physicians’ portability model still requires full license in every state and could impede the telemedicine growth in rural areas with physician shortages.

Written by Laura Dyrda | December 14, 2015 | © Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2016.

Reposted by Physician Licensing Service – November 9, 2016. Big ‘thank you’ to ASC Communications for putting together such useful information for physicians.

 

04 Nov 2016

International Medical Graduates Must Know This Information

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Medical Licensing Experts have put together a quick guide of minimum requirements for International Medical Graduates.

Physician Licensing Service Doctor & Boy

 

While each medical board has a measure of independence and control over specific licensing requirements, there is a minimum satisfactory guideline that must be met for all international graduates. I have outlined the guidelines below:

 

1.)    You must have an MD equivalency degree, such as an MBBS to apply for examinations and residency in the US. A good way to determine if your school is recognized by most medical boards is to use either the California Approved Medical School list or the Texas Approved Medical School list. California is the ruler by which most medical board measure equivalency, but some states use the Texas guidelines.

If your school is not on either list, there may be other options available to you,  based on your background and other requirements, but you will need to seek the specialized knowledge of a licensing firm.

 

2.)    If your school is on the lists, you then need to apply through the ECFMG (Educational Council for Foreign Medical Graduates) to pass all three steps of the USMLE (US Medical Licensing Examination) test and receive your ECFMG certification.
 

3.)    You must also successfully complete at least two years of post-graduate training (some states require three and Georgia only requires one year of training if you meet all of the other requirements) in an ACGME (Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education) recognized program.  You can complete part three of your USMLE exams while you attend residency. You will need to apply for residency through the NRMP (National Residency Match Program). You must be ECFMG certified and complete USMLE Step  and Step 2 CK and CS prior to registering for the residency match.

 

4.)    Please note that you probably qualify for a fellowship program in the US if you have already completed your post graduate training in another country, however most fellowship programs are not  ACGME accredited, and will not satisfy the necessary requirements to license in all states.

Please inquire directly to the program in question to determine if  your fellowship is ACGME accredited before assuming that you will be able to acquire a license in the United States after training. The fellowship coordinator with know whether his/her program meets the ACGME requirements.

 

5.)    Some states will also require board certification in addition to all of the steps listed above, and a few will also require some form of additional testing (such as a juris prudence or statutes & limitations exam) before your license is issued.

 

The steps toward becoming a licensed physician in the US can be lengthy and even overwhelming, but once you are licensed to work in the state of your choice, opportunities abound and remunerations are robust for hard-working, ethical practitioners.

26 Oct 2016

Reading, Pennsylvania Hospital to Debut $354M Expanded ER, Trauma Center

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Reading Hospital, which has the busiest emergency department in Pennsylvania, will open its expanded $354 million emergency room and trauma center.The new Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical & Patient Care opens Monday./Contributed photo

The new Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical & Patient Care opens Monday./Contributed photo

 

Original By Wendy Solomon, October 14, 2016 at 10:38 AM

 

Reposted by Physician Licensing Service

 

 

The new Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical & Patient Care is a five-story, 476,000-square-foot building adjacent to the hospital in West Reading. The hospital treats 134,000 patients a year in its ER, far more than the 92,000 it was built to handle more than 40 years ago.

 

 

“We have been bursting at the seams on a number of occasions,” said Clint Matthews, president and CEO of Reading Health System.

 

 

The community is invited to tour the Reading HealthPlex from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and stay for refreshments, entertainment and participate in free health and safety activities.

 

The new ER will have 16 emergency rooms and five trauma bays that can expand to nine if necessary.

 

“By expanding with these additional 16 beds, that will help us relieve that pressure,” Matthews said.

 

Despite the overload, Reading Hospital has been able to make a 25 percent improvement in the time it takes for a patient to be admitted in the ER to 90 minutes, Matthews said.

 

Matthews said the hospital’s status is expected to be upgraded from a level 2 trauma center to a level 1 because of the expansion and improvements.

 

The new Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical & Patient Care features:

 

  • 24 larger perioperative and operating rooms.

 

  • Five trauma bays that can expand to nine.

 

  • Eight procedure rooms and a hybrid room that contains imaging equipment for open and noninvasive procedures that can be used simultaneously on the same patient.

 

  • 150 private patient rooms, which will open in January.

 

  • An 88,000-square-foot rooftop healing garden, the largest of its kind in Pennsylvania and the third largest on a health care building in the U.S.

 

  • Telemedicine-enabled operating rooms that enable physicians in other locations to see and talk to surgeons in the operating room via cameras embedded in lights and microphones.
  • Three da Vinci robots for surgery.

 

The HealthPlex greatly expands and modernizes the hospital’s operating suites, which were 350 square feet when built in the late 1960s. The smallest of the 24 new operating rooms is 650 square feet.

 

“Previously the ORs were designed for a surgeon to use a scalpel, scissors and retractor,” Matthews said.

 

“Now they have laparoscope equipment, imaging equipment, da Vinci robots, anesthesia equipment and all sorts of pieces of equipment that come into the room. The room becomes very, very crowded with equipment and providers.”

 

The HealthPlex’s design and layout is much more efficient, which also helps improve the room turnover time, he said.

 

“We have progressed to the point where we do not only a lot of robotic and laparoscopic surgery and more acute types of cases with very high technological capabilities. Now we have a setting that is comparable to the latest and the greatest any of the world’s renowned hospitals,” Matthews said

 

The three-year construction project is largely finished, with the total cost expected to come in under the projected $354 million, Matthews said.

 

21 Oct 2016

CHOP exploring telemedicine deal for Native Americans

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18 Oct 2016

State Med Boards Slammed After New Year – Experts Recommend Applying Now

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The contract rush is real around the turn of every new calendar year for physicians looking to relocate or extend their telemed reach into new markets. 

20-year-anniversary-v2Because of the high demand for physicians in the United States, many experts in the medical licensing field have suggested that doctors get ahead of the new year’s rush by applying now for needed medical licenses. Medical boards prioritize licensure by the order of submission and getting in early before the January 1 rush ensures you will be licensed first.

Physician Licensing Service has spent the last 20 years mastering each state medical board in United States. The expertise gained in our 20 years of serving physicians have made us a valuable asset to 1,000’s of medical practices in North America.

Take advantage of our Preferred Pricing Structure for practicing physicians by emailing Tony Hendricks at th@physicianlicensing.com or by calling at 801-449-9196.

 

You can also order new medical licensing services through a secure, 128bit encrypted, website by going to HERE.

17 Oct 2016

PLS Celebrates 20 years of Licensing Physicians

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PHYSICIAN LICENSING SERVICE is the oldest and most established medical licensing service in North America now in it’s 20th year of serving physicians

Posted 10/17/2016 by Admin

We are pleased to announce a milestone in the medical licensing service industry with Physician Licensing Service in it’s 20th year of licensing physicians in North America. This is an unprecedented achievement as no other licensing service has matched Physician Licensing’s accomplishments and tenure in the industry. We are grateful to the individual doctors and medical groups that have utilized our service over the years and given us an opportunity to serve them to the best of our ability. Thank you PLS staff and customers alike as we celebrate this huge victory and look forward to serving you for the next 20 years to come!

Please contact us for promotional pricing celebrating our 20 years of service by calling or emailing our Business Development Director, Tony Hendricks at th@physicanlicensing.com or 801-449-9196. Ask about our License Track system for renewals and our Corporate Preferred pricing structure for all medical groups, hospitals and medical staffing services.

 

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05 Oct 2016

New gadgets could give telemedicine a boost!

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New Gadgets That Could Give Telemedicine a Boost

Home diagnostic devices such as the Tyto and MedWand let patients do tests at home, send the information to a doctor

The Tyto lets doctors peer inside a patient’s ear—over the internet.

 

Telemedicine offers patients the chance to meet with a doctor, 24/7, without leaving home. But many physicians are wary of participating because they can’t peer into patients’ ears, look down their throats or listen to their lungs remotely.

 

A new genre of home diagnostic devices aims to address those concerns by giving patients some of the same tools that doctors use during in-office exams. Think part Star Trek Tricorder, part Harry Potter Extendable Ear.

 

The closest to market is Tyto, a hand-held gizmo about the size of a softball. One attachment works like a stethoscope to capture and record a patient’s heartbeat and breath sounds. Other attachments allow a built-in camera to get a good look at patient’s tonsils and into the ear canal. The camera can also take high-resolution photos of skin lesions, rashes and moles. All the images, sounds and readouts can be shared with a doctor over the internet in real time or stored in a software program for later use.

 

“We are replicating the face-to-face primary care visit, just doing it remotely,” says Dedi Gilad, who founded the Israel-based company Tyto Care Ltd. after making frequent trips to the pediatrician when his daughter was in kindergarten in 2012.

 

Set for launch

 

Tyto is awaiting clearance from the Food and Drug Administration. The company expects to introduce the device in the U.S. and Israel later this year, offering it first through health systems and insurers. Roy Schoenberg, chief executive officer of American Well, which creates the telemedicine platforms offered by many large health systems, says any provider using its systems will be able to connect with Tyto. The device will be available directly to consumers sometime next year, for about $299, Tyto Care says.

 

MedWand, another remote diagnostic tool, looks like a fat electric toothbrush and performs many of the same functions as Tyto, but also checks blood pressure, blood glucose and blood oxygen levels and lets doctors conduct eye exams remotely. Its creator, M. Samir Qamar, is the CEO of MedLion, a network of direct primary-care practices in 25 states. Those practices charge patients a flat monthly fee and deliver much of their care via telemedicine, but Dr. Qamar says he found it was stuck in the “video-chat stage.” MedWand, which will sell for $250, will allow doctors to provide more and better care remotely, he says.

 

Like the Tyto, MedWand will also be available first through telemedicine companies and health-care systems. “It’s just a paperweight unless there’s a bona fide, high-quality medical service provider on the other end,” Dr. Qamar says.

 

Still another device, called the Scanadu Scout, can measure temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and blood oxygen level when held to the user’s forehead. The manufacturer, Scanadu of Sunnyvale, Calif., is testing it with about 7,000 consumers world-wide, but has yet to receive FDA clearance.

 

The missing link

 

Consumers have been able to buy stethoscopes, otoscopes and other medical devices for decades, but using them correctly and getting the information to doctors can be difficult.

 

Telemedicine proponents say the new wave of home diagnostic devices could well provide the “missing link” in telemedicine, reassuring both doctors and patients that a virtual visit can still be thorough. While some 70% of large U.S. employers offer telemedicine visits as a benefit this year, only about 3% of eligible employees have taken advantage of them so far, according to a new survey by the National Business Group on Health.

 

“Devices like Tyto are going to dramatically increase the value of telehealth and the type of service that can be delivered over these channels,” American Well’s Dr. Schoenberg says.

 

Demonstrating that they provide accurate information will be critical to acceptance, some doctors say. “When you’re looking at a rash or listening to the lungs, the quality of the images and sounds is very important,” says Wanda Filer, a family physician in York, Pa., and board chairwoman of the American Academy of Family Physicians. More family physicians are using telemedicine, which the academy supports, she says, “as long as it’s in the context of a continuing doctor-patient relationship.”

 

To be sure, clinicians still can’t draw blood or swab a throat for strep remotely—but other home tests are coming.

 

Scanadu is also developing disposable urine-analysis tests, much like home pregnancy tests, to let consumers test for urinary-tract infections, excess protein and other medical problems. A smartphone app analyzes color changes on the test paddles and can report the results on the spot.

 

“We are getting a lot of attention from telemedicine companies,” says Alexander Cristoff, the company’s vice president of marketing.

26 Sep 2016

Alaska Now Modernized with Satellite Enabled Telemedicine

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Remote Alaska Port Clinic Goes Modern With Satellite Enabled Telemedicine

Posted: By and Sep 22, 2016

Beginning Thursday, Sept. 22, the Anchorage hospital will virtually beam critical care doctors 800 miles away to the emergency room of the clinic to assist staffers there during medical emergencies, thanks to a satellite link instead of the usual fiber optics. – Rachel D’Oro

 

 

Doctors in Anchorage will now be able to join a teleconference in the emergency room on Unalaska Island, 800 miles away.

 

The only clinic in one of the nation’s busiest commercial fishing ports is so remote that even conventional telemedicine for emergencies has been impossible for its limited staff—until this week.

 

Starting Thursday, a new partnership with an Anchorage hospital will virtually beam critical care doctors 800 miles away to the emergency room on Unalaska Island, home to Dutch Harbor.

 

But instead of transmissions with fiber-optics, which are nowhere near the isolated Alaska island, the team putting together the system is relying on satellite technology in what is believed to be a first in the country for telemedicine.

 

The clinic, Iliuliuk Family and Health Services, brings to nine the number of providers served by the electronic intensive care unit at Anchorage’s Providence Alaska Medical Center.

 

“We are kind of mix-mashing everything together to try to make this work,” Sharon Compton, services manager of the hospital’s eICU office, said after a recent demonstration of the Dutch Harbor link.

 

The new system will provide real-time camera links between emergency doctors and clinic staffers during medical emergencies, such as injuries among the Bering Sea crabbing fleet made famous by the Discovery Channel show “Deadliest Catch.”

 

The idea is to help stabilize patients before transporting them out of town and to help with triage during major events like a ship sinking.

 

From afar, doctors will be able to view X-rays and patient charts and talk directly with patients on camera instead of consulting with medics by phone and email.

 

There are some unknowns about how the system will work, with likely slowdowns in satellite reception because of the region’s notoriously bad weather.

 

During the recent demonstration, pre-launch kinks prevented the rolling-cart-mounted camera in Dutch Harbor from being pivoted remotely. But the camera otherwise performed impressively, sending back crystal-clear video of clinic staffers as they chatted with a critical care doctor.

 

The new service was lauded by Seattle-based crabbing boat owner by Lance Farr, who has been badly hurt twice in his decades of working in the Bering Sea.

 

Several years ago, he almost severed a finger in a dockside engine accident. He was stabilized at the clinic before being flown to Anchorage for further treatment. In 1996, Farr broke his foot at Dutch Harbor after dropping an engine on it. He spent the night at the clinic under the care of nurses before being flown out the next day.

 

In hindsight, having his care visually monitored by emergency room specialists would have provided a morale boost, as well as invaluable expertise, Farr said.

 

“It would be a good thing, I would think, to have a real physician being able to advise the people out there,” he said.

 

The city of Unalaska has just 4,600 year-round residents, but the population swells to 16,000 or more during the region’s two main fishing seasons, when boat crews and processing workers flood the town with dozens of languages and cultures. That means more potential for patients, including people who don’t speak English.

 

The clinic averages more than 300 after-hours emergency room visits a year, with about a third of those patients flown elsewhere, often to Anchorage, for more complete treatment.

 

Fishing-industry emergencies at sea can mean significant delays to appropriate medical treatments when the injured must first be carried by rescue helicopter to Dutch Harbor. Injuries can range from deep cuts and broken bones to back injuries and amputations.

 

“These guys are pretty tough out here, and they will, you know, continue to fish until they can’t get out of bed anymore,” said James Novotny, nurse practitioner at the clinic.

 

The drastically shifting population can put a strain on clinic staffing in this rural setting. So can the inability to afford emergency specialists or much in the way of diagnostic equipment.

 

Then there’s the challenge of living in such a far-flung spot, which makes finding and keeping medical staff difficult, according to clinic medical director, Ann Nora Ehret, an osteopathic doctor who has wanted to tap into telemedicine since joining the staff in 2013. Only recently did the clinic hire a second doctor after the position was vacant for nearly a year.

 

Adding the long-distance help will be invaluable, Ehret said.

 

“I think it could be a game changer for recruiting, retention and for the care of the patients,” she said. “We are getting the support we need in an austere environment.”

 

Original article:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/a22984/remote-alaska-port-clinic-goes-modern-with-telemedicine/

20 Sep 2016

Arkansas Medical Board Approves Telemed

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Arkansas Medical Board approves telemed regulations establishing doctor-patient relationship

 

Arkansans will now be able to use telemed the way every other state (except Texas) does. The state’s Board of Medicine approved regulations that allow a doctor and patient to establish a relationship via telemedicine.

 

The medical board’s approved regulations outline a “proper physician-patient relationship” to include “a face-to-face examination using real time audio and visual telemed technology that provides information at least equal to such information as would have been obtained by an in-person examination.”

 

As the American Telemedicine Association reports, the board also assumes the licensing regulatory responsibilities for other allied health professionals, including occupational therapists, respiratory therapists, physician assistants and radiologists assistants, but it isn’t known now whether the medical board will pursue additional regulation for the use of telehealth for these professionals.

 

For the last few months, telemedicine efforts have been stalled in Arkansas (which ranks last in the nation in telemedicine practice standards according to the American Telemedicine Association). In July, a rule that would have made remote visits more permissible was stalled when a key legislative panel declined to sing off. The contention was over language around store and forward technology, which had been approved by the state’s Medical Board but then changed after the public comment period had ended, which lawyers said required a new public comment period.

 

A month later, the medical board moved forward on one rule to promote telemedicine by allowing the use of audiovisual technology to establish a doctor-patient relationship. But the medical board still rejected another that would change the requirements that allow non-video companies like Teladoc to see patients in the state.

 

The board will meet October 6 to discuss another set of regulations that establish telemedicine standards of care.

 

Original Content Credit:

Writer:  Heather Mack

Date:  September 16, 2016

Link:  http://www.mobihealthnews.com/content/arkansas-medical-board-approves-telemedicine-regulations-establishing-doctor-patient

 

About Physician Licensing Service

Now in our 20th year of business, Physician Licensing Service has been changing the face of healthcare licensure.  We have developed a proven system to remove the barriers common to state medical licenses and get doctors practicing in record time.  Our business model focuses on simplifying the process for all involved parties. This includes the state medical boards themselves, because PLS takes great care to keep abreast of their updates in this ever changing field, and work within those guidelines. For a doctor seeking a medical license, PLS will take on the entire process, including eligibility research, paperwork, verifications, and follow up.