Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thank you Mr. President

An inside game in Washington held every year by hundreds of the top lobbyists, consultants and association executives is to get some mention about their area of interest in the President’s State of the Union address. Last night, President Obama spoke of the importance of telemedicine as part of his proposal to deploy broadband, internet access and high-speed wireless coverage. In describing the benefits of such efforts the President stated: “It's about a firefighter who can download the design of a burning building onto a handheld device; a student who can take classes with a digital textbook; or a patient who can have face-to-face video chats with her doctor.”

As ATA past President Thelma McClosky Armstrong said in an email today: “We sure have come a long way.”

But mention in the State of the Union address is only a beginning. We need to make sure this idea is made real with specific policy changes. Also, allowing patients to make face-to-face video chats with a doctor takes a lot more than deploying broadband or other technology. Reimbursement, regulation and other policies will need to be addressed. ATA has identified six specific changes that the Administration can make immediately to improve the delivery of healthcare using telemedicine. They are available on the
ATA website.

Over the past three months, we have been working with the White House and federal agencies to get these six fixes adopted. Our fingers are crossed on the outcome. Between health reform, broadband deployment plans and the President's speeches, the time for widespread use of telemedicine may be here soon.

1 comment:

  1. I am looking for the actual date the ATA presented the six fixes to improve healthcare delivery using telemedine to reference this document.