Veterans’ Access to Telemedicine Across State Lines Clears Major Hurdle

Upcoming Events

As the nation prepares to honor veterans and thank them for their services to the United States this Friday, it is important to laud the VA’s efforts to expand its use of telemedicine services.

Last Thursday the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs passed a bill to remove restrictions on the ability of VA providers to practice telemedicine across state lines. The passing of Veterans E-Health and Telemedicine Support Act of 2017 (H.R. 2123) will allow veterans to receive telemedicine treatment from any location, including their home or a community center, rather than mandate they travel to a VA facility to receive treatment in person. The bill is vital to the VA’s “Anywhere to Anywhere VA Health Care” program that was announced back in August.

Phil Roe, MD (R-Tenn.), chairman House Veterans’ Affairs Committee stated that “H.R. 2123 would give the VA Secretary the legislative authority to allow VA providers to practice telemedicine across state lines. Specifically, it would authorize a VA licensed healthcare provider to practice telemedicine in any state, regardless of whether or not the patient or provider is located on federal government property.”

Why is this bill so important?

Today, the medical industry is regulated on a state by state basis. Greg Sobodkin of Health Data Management points out that, under current law, VA physicians can only waive state licensing requirements and provide telemedicine treatment across state lines if both the veteran and the doctor are located in a federally owned facility. The VETS Act will remove these barriers and allow VA health professionals to practice telemedicine across state lines, provided that they are qualified and practice within the scope of their authorized federal duties.

This may be the tipping point the medical industry and nation needs to begin loosening the restrictions for providing medical services across state lines. There is an acute shortage of qualified doctors in many regions of the country. Medical costs are soaring. Telemedicine can bring the benefit of having the right doctor at the right place and at the right time. It will result in better care at a lower cost.

This is great news for veterans and the telemedicine industry in general.

The VA is one of the largest healthcare networks in the world and has been an early pioneer in telemedicine as well as one of the world’s largest users of the technology. Now, it is taking the lead on the regulatory front to tear down the barriers that have hindered the adoption and growth of new telemedicine applications that benefit us all.

In 2016, VA providers saw 702,000 patients via telemedicine in 2.17 million episodes of care – and nearly half of those who received telemedicine care lived in rural areas. Telemedicine has been responsible for a 31 percent decrease in VA hospital admissions and a 59 percent decrease in VA bed days of care. Around 90 percent of veterans who received care through telemedicine reported satisfaction with the online platform.

And then there is the very human side to all of this.

Michael Shores, director of regulation policy and management in the VA secretary’s office, wrote that the rule could “eliminate veteran suicide and provide access to mental healthcare … the VA’s number one clinical priority, and this proposed rule-making would improve VA’s ability to reach its most vulnerable beneficiaries.”

Strong Industry Support

So far, the bill has received overwhelming support from states, provider organizations and health IT groups, including: the American Telemedicine Association, American Medical Informatics Association, Federal Trade Commission, Health IT Now, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), Teladoc, Oracle, the American Psychological Association, the Brain Injury Association of America, the National Association of Social Workers and the University of Pittsburgh Center for Military Medicine Research.

Yorktel understands the VA’s commitment to providing the best care for our veterans.

We have been working with the VA on their Tele-ICU initiative for the past four years. We provide the telemedicine video conferencing systems, infrastructure and support that allows them to instantly bring the right medical specialist into the ICU room when they are needed. These systems are in over 500 ICU rooms and they are saving lives.

Yes, we are proud, and extend our most heartfelt gratitude to the men and women who serve in our nation’s armed forces.

Workplace performance standards are very different today from what they were ten, even five years ago. It is increasingly accepted that an employee’s performance now depends on real-time collaboration, connecting everyone from wherever they are through whatever device they choose. Enterprises that successfully employ the Next Generation Workplace management strategy have embraced this reality by incorporating the consumerisation of technology into their ecosystem to create a highly collaborative, agile user experience.
Continue reading Yorktel’s Inclusion in The Growing Business Handbook 2016

ProductionHUB-Differences-between-video-advertising-and-video-marketing

In a recent column I authored in Production Hub, I examined the unquestionable effectiveness of video marketing, and how it differs from video advertising.

A key ingredient behind the rapid growth of content marketing is the increasing, almost universal consumption of video across multiple channels. Over the past year, we’ve seen video play a growing role in inbound marketing strategies, aided by social media companies adding new video capabilities to their platforms. Twitter, for example, launched video autoplay to its feeds, Facebook gave advertisers the option to buy video ads, and live streaming video through Periscope became an overnight sensation.

Continue reading Stop the Confusion: The Differences Between Video Advertising & Video Marketing

In the hyper competitive world of banking, customer service is a key differentiator. With so many options and choices, consumer loyalty can be fickle.

It’s no surprise, accordingly, that many of the world’s largest banks are investing heavily in technologies that provide their customers with convenience and efficiency. One trend taking hold is adoption of video communications – for both internal and external interaction.

Continue reading Video Communication Isn’t Just For Big Banks

Marketers and consumers of HD video are being inundated with waves of messaging telling them to trade in their outdated HD video streaming equipment for the latest in 4K Ultra HD (UHD) technology. This newer technology boasts four times the resolution of current HD along with eye-popping clarity and unmatched color richness. A recent article appearing on CNNMoney, for example, talks about French broadcaster TDF transmitting programming in UHD for its leading video music channel, a decision it made after its successful live 4K broadcast of the French Open tennis tournament in France. An article in the July/August 2014 issue of Streaming Media magazine, “Educators, Adopt 4K Video Now and Get Ahead of the Curve,” makes the case to educators to be pioneers in video capture by investing in 4K now and getting a head start on this trending video standard.

Continue reading Is 4K Video Ready for Prime Time?

Yorktel-Pitfalls-Blog What may be considered the “traditional” workforce has changed immensely and rapidly over the past few years with more and more employees working remotely.   Coupled with the increasing demand to deliver services through the cloud and with so many Service Providers trying to differentiate their offerings beyond traditional Internet, cable, and voice, it’s no wonder that oftentimes they jump to market too quickly, and fall into some common traps.  While being quick-to-market is important, it’s even more important to know the offering is being done right.

Continue reading Common Pitfalls….when Considering Managed Services

Yorktel_3keys_BlogWith today’s busy marketplace of Service Providers adding Video Solutions to their portfolio of offerings, being first to market does count – maybe more now than ever before.  Once your solution offering is roadmapped, though, how do you get to market quickly when the internal process itself can take months?  Just having a launch process built and tested can require a three-week lead time, and getting through the marketing reviews can take weeks, given the flow of content documents and reviews with marketing.

Continue reading Secrets in Getting Ahead of Internal Process for Launch

When people think about interacting with the government – whether it be the federal government or their local government – they often think of long lines, bureaucracy, long drives and missed work. However, the government is looking to shake that perception by making customer experience a priority and turning to technology to better serve its constituents.

We recently had the opportunity to dive deeper into this topic when we sat down with Greg Douglas of Yorktel for an episode of the Public Sector View Radio. Greg is the Executive Vice President of Sales at Yorktel and a veteran of the telecommunications industry, with over 20 years of experience helping government agencies meet their collaboration and communications needs.

Continue reading Public Sector View Radio: Improving customer experience in the federal government with technology

By Samantha Osowski

New technologies are constantly altering the way companies communicate, making it overwhelming for IT decision-makers to stay up-to-date. Yorktel is committed to serve as a resource, providing thought leadership to help companies harness the power of technology. Visit us at these upcoming events to learn more, and check out our full event schedule here.

Continue reading Visit Yorktel At An Upcoming Event

By Bin Guan, Chief Technology Officer for Yorktel (@YorktelCorp)

As I recently wrote about in the Cisco Tribune, although video conferencing has been available for over three decades, recently introduced technology has dramatically altered the industry landscape.

Video and audio quality are much better, while the actual systems are getting much smaller and less obtrusive. Pricing has come down significantly and the standard user interface is easier than ever to use, elevating the consumer experience to unprecedented heights.

More and more, people are using video conferencing as part of their every day routines. Unfortunately, video conferencing is still not as easy as a telephone call. Continue reading Looking at Video Conferencing

Author: Vishal Brown, VP Professional Services

Technical difficulties might not be a big deal when you’re just using Skype to chat with distant cousins overseas. But when you rely on technology to support communication and collaboration across a large enterprise, your video conferencing tools better be suited for the task. Tools like Skype may suffice for personal use and even SMBs, but enterprise organizations need more substantial services with the quality, security and interoperability to handle video conferencing smoothly around the globe.

Skype also presents serious security concerns, suffering attacks by malware and individual accounts targeted by hackers. A breach like this not only jeopardizes the confidential information shared in closed business meetings – it could also pose a threat to the overall credibility of your organization. Continue reading Options Beyond Skype For Enterprise Video Conferencing

Author: Vishal Brown, VP Professional Services

Video conferencing and visual communications should be as easy and reliable as dialing a phone – but with the intricacies and obstacles of video, that’s not always the case.

First, there’s the challenge of building and deploying enough capacity to support the technology at an enterprise level. Then, there’s the test of keeping the infrastructure up-to-date, which requires an IT staff with the right skills to support video conferencing on a global scale.

On top of it all, there’s always the question of interoperability: Will the video conferencing platform “play nice” with other systems, mobile devices and telepresence rooms? Continue reading Taking the Hassle Out of Video Conferencing

Author: Vishal Brown, VP Professional Services

Imagine being able to take your video enabled mobile device(iPad, Samsung Galaxy pad etc) and start a video conversation from:

  • Your home(home WiFi network) then…
  • Commute to the office (4G network) then…
  • Walk over to your desk (Office Wifi)

 

You are able to transition from one network to another while maintaining your same device IP address and seamlessly finish the video call in your office.

One of the big announcements by John Chambers during CiscoLive, the LISP protocol will enable the next step in Unified Communications. True enterprise device mobility via LISP will allow users to roam freely without needing to reestablish or negotiate new network connections when moving from one network to another. Yorktel’s Cloud Service offerings will benefit most from this technology.

This continues the evolution of real time communications by blurring even more the domain of consumer /enterprise devices and further promotes the current BYOD trends.

LISP: Locator/ID Separation Protocol

Author: Vishal Brown, VP Professional Services

At a recent Manufacturer’s briefing I attended, the topic of videoconferencing in a mobile world was discussed. The thought was presented that you could now “…start a video conversation from your home (WiFi network), commute to the office (4G network), and walk to your desk (Office Wifi) all while maintaining the same video call. You are able to transition from one network to another while maintaining your same device IP address”. Let’s make it even more complicated, just for the fun of it. Suppose after getting off the bus you popped into Starbucks (Wifi access there, too!!) in your office building before heading up to your office. Sound familiar? Continue reading Video Mobility and the new “Generation C”