Telehealth and Nurse Practitioners

This was an inspiring and exciting TED talk about the growth of telehealth in Mississippi, and the greatest part of it is that it’s spearheaded by a nurse practitioner.  What made it most interesting was how UMMC is tailoring telehealth to all different aspects of healthcare. A lot of these I’ve already heard about: chronic disease management, triage, access to specialists .. but all of these won’t be sustainable without reimbursement. The southern states like Mississippi seem to be leading the country in encouraging the endless possibilities of telehealth through their state legislation.  Makes me wonder how I’m working in Silicon Valley, fertile ground for technology innovation, and yet the only true telehealth I see is when my patients tell me they can text a PCP at Kaiser, and that they can do online triage at One Medical. By the way, these are both not truly reimbursed in California.

I went to The Bay Area Primary Care Leadership and Innovation Summit at Stanford last week, and although many people suggested incorporating technology and primary care together, the one big barrier we couldn’t surmount convincingly was reimbursement.  If you’re interested in what your state’s status is on telehealth-related laws, regulations, and Medicaid programs, this a fantastic resource:  California’s legislation is very sparse in this area.

I truly think that Telehealth is going to play a huge part of our future healthcare system, and I’m excited to see that it’s already gaining some traction somewhere. Nurse practitioners can play a very vital and innovative role in telehealth, as proven by Kristi Henderson. Watch the TED talk for some inspiration!

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