Telemedicine in Arizona

Some see it as a major part of the future of health care both in our state and across the country. Supporters believe telemedicine is a convenient and effective way to treat everything from a cold or the flu to skin disorders and even behavioral health issues. Arizona is among the national leaders in telemedicine receiving an overall grade of  “B” in a recent report by the American Telemedicine Association.

telemedicine

That report also mentions an Arizona senate bill, SB 1398, as an “opportunity” to continue to grow telemedicine in our state. The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) is actively engaged in tracking this proposed bill, which would require require insurance companies to cover urology telemedicine. The bill would also create a framework for hospitals and providers to negotiate coverage for healthcare services not already specified by law. If you are interested in learning more about this bill, you can contact AzHHA’s Vice President of Government Relations Greg Ensell.

Telemedicine’s growing popularity in our state was highlighted in a recent story featured in DailyMiner.com.

Doctors can be easily accessed using a telephone or video through a laptop computer, tablet or other mobile device, whichever is most convenient.

Telemedicine can take care of nonemergency situations such as common colds, allergies, headaches, nausea and sore throats. People can avoid making a trip to the emergency room or urgent care center and talk with a doctor as soon as symptoms arise. 

There are restrictions about what type of symptoms can be evaluated through telemedicine. It’s not recommended for emergency care or chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, and it doesn’t replace a primary care physician.

However, it does provide critical access for patients to receive health care quickly and efficiently.

According to a report in the Arizona Sonora News Service, “Studies have shown that telemedicine provides improved quality of care, and that “there is no difference in the ability of the provider to obtain clinical information, make an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan that produce the same desired clinical outcomes as compared to in-person care when used appropriately,” according to the American Telemedicine Association.”

Share your thoughts on telemedicine and whether you believe the people in your community will benefit as this style of health care continues to grow. We would also love to hear what you think about SB 1398 and how its future in the state legislature will affect Arizonans. Generating meaningful conversations around innovative health practices, such as telemedicine, is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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