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Telemedicine and Telehealth Advances As Seen Through the Lens of the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) by Peter Yellowlees, MD

Telemedicine / Telehealth

As telemedicine / telehealth* continues to advance and be seen as a more cost-effective way of providing quality healthcare, the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) has shifted its main priority away from telehealth as an innovative approach to healthcare delivery, to focus on the widespread, real world implementation of telehealth as being evidence-based and able to improve access to, and the value of, care. With over 4 million patients treated using telehealth in the US in 2015, we are well past the tipping point in terms of utilization. Telehealth is fast becoming a preferred means of receiving care, often delivered in a hybrid manner in association with traditional in-person approaches, and in some cases, has been demonstrated to be a more effective form of healthcare delivery than in-person methods. As such, ATA is developing a new Strategic Plan with the intent to improve healthcare nationally and internationally through the widespread implementation of telehealth, across all spectrums and disciplines.

 Telebehavioral Health

Telebehavioral health is the new frontier in behavioral health and studies have shown that patients have high satisfaction with this approach and that many patients are more willing meet with psychiatrists and other clinicians to discuss sensitive topics using videoconferencing, sometimes more so than they are in a traditional clinical setting where the stigma of psychiatric treatment is still significant. In the USA in 2015 alone, the ATA has estimated that over 1 million individual patients received their care using telebehavioral health. In its initiatives to improve healthcare, the ATA intends to improve the understanding of patients and providers on how the use telebehavioral health, and how it not only improves the patient experience, but can offer better continuity of care, especially in primary care systems, and can increase access to psychiatrists, who are in short supply, and the range of behavioral health services available in communities around the world.

To review the exhilarating program at the American Telemedicine Conference starting April 23-25, go to this page. Telehealth 2.0 is the world’s largest telehealth innovation & networking event, focused on how telehealth is transforming healthcare and creating competitive and cost advantages for those leveraging best practices. The event provides a hands-on perspective to showcase the role telehealth plays in advancing medicine, healthcare and wellness. At the intersection of advancement and technological innovation, Telehealth 2.0 allows healthcare professionals and industry leaders to learn, network, and exchange ideas.

You’ll hear from leading healthcare providers, hospitals, physicians, associations, regulators, fast-growing startups, technology companies and industry thought leaders exploring where and how telehealth is being best leveraged to transform and to re-invent healthcare.

To see more about Dr. Maheu’s presentations, see this page

* The terms “telemedicine” and “telehealth” are used interchangeably in this article.

Peter Yellowlees, MD

Dr. Yellowlees is the President-elect of the American Telemedicine Association. 

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