In this week’s roundup, we take a closer look at why the USDA plans to fund 18 distance learning and telemedicine projects in 16 states, how telemedicine regulations are proving to be unnecessary, and the reason behind why people are now turning to telehealth for a good nights sleep. To find out more about these stories keep reading below.
USDA Funds Telemedicine Projects to Help Combat the Opioid Crisis
The USDA recently announced a significant investment in telemedicine. With pilot projects set to launch in more than a dozen states, the USDA will see how communications technology can expand access to healthcare, particularly in the area of substance abuse and misuse for rural residents.
USDA chief, Tom Vilsack, said at the conference announcing the grants that “[h]ospitals, schools and training centers across the country are successfully using telecommunications to deliver quality educational and medical services. Telemedicine, for example, can help treat patients who are struggling with opioid and other substance use disorders that disproportionately affect rural areas by allowing rural hospitals to connect with resources in other health care facilities across the country to better diagnose and treat individuals.”
Want to find out which organizations and states were awarded grants? You can find out here.
Texas Debates the Expansion of Telemedicine
Later this year, the Texas legislature will convene to discuss all the usual topics of governance, but they also have a topic of special interest for healthcare providers and hospitals both in the state and around the country. This year, the legislators will examine existing healthcare statutes and regulations and see if they can accommodate telemedicine as part of the healthcare options that are available to all Texans.
Telemedicine, which broadly speaking is the practice of medicine for routine care, such as strep throat, urinary tract infections, and the flu, via phone call or video call with physicians has quickly become a favorite option for patients and administrators because of its convenience and ability to reduce costs.
Want to read more? You can find the article here.
Turning to Telehealth for a Good Night’s Sleep
What’s the latest trend in telehealth? Using Health IT to catch-up on your sleep. With millions of adults in the United States suffering from sleep issues – with some of them being chronic sleep hygiene issues, like insomnia or sleep apnea – that can affect overall health, safety, and well-being.
While the standard treatment protocol for sleep issues involve an overnight stay for observation in a sleep lab, this might be about to change. Remote monitoring platforms that can report back to sleep specialists and primary care physicians will enable patients to participate in a sleep study from the comfort of their own bedroom. This will give medical teams the opportunity to observe a patient’s sleep in a more natural environment, leading to more accurate diagnoses and better patient outcomes. You can learn more about remote platforms here.