Geriatric telehealth applications poised for growth in 2016

Anticipated changes in reimbursement methods could provide a major boost to telehealth in long-term care in 2016, according to healthcare officials.

Speaking at the American Bar Association's Washington Health Law Summit on Monday, officials said telehealth applications will experience rapid growth once quality-based reimbursement provisions of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act take effect early next year, according to Bloomberg BNA. Telehealth applications, including those for geriatrics, could save costs and improve patient outcomes, one official noted.

Telehealth could provide alternative options for seniors living in care facilities by saving them a trip to a medical facility or physician for consultations and checkups, said Natasa Sokolovich, JD, MSHCPM, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. A telehealth option means less disruption for the patient, and also cut back on transportation costs for the facilities. she said.

Officials also noted that Accountable Care Organizations' increasing popularity also could spur telehealth growth, as ACOs search for ways to reduce healthcare costs.