Telehealth Discussed at NIC Spring Conference


by Katie Roper | March 24, 2020

Medicare just announced that it will − temporarily − reimburse for telehealth-provided services, opening an opportunity for seniors housing providers to provide residents with access to vital health services without exposing them to pathogens circulating at hospitals and clinics as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

A very timely panel discussion at the NIC Spring Conference on “Telehealth: Boon or Threat to Senior Care?” offered an overview of telehealth options, as well as concrete suggestions for seniors housing companies wanting to get started.

Panel moderator Kelsey Mellard, CEO of Sitka, laid the groundwork by clarifying that the general concept of “Telehealth” includes very different services.  Many people assume that telehealth describes remote monitoring of patient vitals, with smart devices transmitting health data to providers automatically and securely for analysis. The NIC panel, however, focused on another service category getting a lot of attention recently: virtual consultations by medical professionals, whether RNs, primary care doctors, or specialists; via phone, secure messaging, and/or video conferencing. Sitka and Doctor On Demand, whose president and chief commercial officer Robin Glass was also represented on the panel, both fall into this category.

Panelist Michael Kurliand, director of telehealth and process improvement at West Health, a non-profit focused on lowering health care costs for seniors, pointed out that telehealth is not new – it has been around since the 1960s – and that peer-reviewed and anecdotal evidence show up to a 40% reduction in hospital admissions with the deployment of telehealth practices in post-acute care settings.

Click here to learn more about the benefits of telehealth services.