Medicine has entered a new age and the world is beginning to take notice — even the political world. In a recent campaign stop in Iowa, former secretary of state and current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton highlighted the importance of telemedicine in health care, saying:
“Decades ago, I led a commission on rural health in Arkansas that worked on increasing access in remote parts of the state. Today, our health care system has changed dramatically, but it’s still too difficult for families in rural America to find quality, affordable health care…Telemedicine can help — and we should streamline licensing and explore how to make that reimbursable under Medicare.”
Her statement comes as the first mention of telemedicine by a 2016 presidential candidate, at a time when congress is reviewing the TELE-MED Act of 2015. This legislation is intended to allow telemedicine providers to treat Medicare patients across state lines, without the need for separate state licensure. This would allow for increased accessibility in underserved areas and greater expansion of provider reach, especially in rural America.
It’s not just Hillary that thinks that telemedicine can help with the healthcare problem in rural areas. A recent analysis of Health Care Workforce Distribution and Shortage Issues in Rural America lists telemedicine as an important means to increasing healthcare access in rural areas. It notes that telemedicine allows for more prompt, specialized, ease of care.
This isn’t just a moment in the spotlight for the field of telemedicine — it’s the age of new beginnings! As we enter the 2016 election year, telemedicine has become an important talking point. It has made its mark in the healthcare field and it is definitely here to stay.