We Need Your Insights on Telehealth and Telemedicine

60thblog-oct-11What is the National Disability Forum?

The National Disability Forum is an open conversation where members of the public, community leaders, and Social Security employees come together to talk about the disability programs. Social Security uses these meetings to listen to you and your community leaders so we can learn what’s important to you.

Your input is important to Social Security. We use what we learn from you and your community to improve our rules and policies to help people with disabilities. The National Disability Forum does not replace Social Security’s normal rule-making process, but it does help us hear from you before we make any new rules. Learn more about the National Disability Forum here.

Our Next National Disability Forum will Focus on Telehealth and Telemedicine

Telehealth includes a variety of ways to use video and other technology to enhance healthcare and related information delivery.  Telemedicine involves clinical services provided by interactive communication, most commonly a video, between a patient and a practitioner at different locations.

We want to learn more about telehealth and telemedicine to determine if there are ways to use them to advance our disability programs.

What can you do?

You can help us by considering the following questions:

  • How can we use telemedicine or telehealth in the claims procedure to better serve individuals with disabilities?
  • How can telemedicine or telehealth help speed our decision-making process at all levels?
  • How else might we use telemedicine or telehealth to improve the administration of our programs, and what factors should we consider?

You can share your insights on these question by posting right here on our blog or at our IdeaScale online tool, or by registering to attend the forum on October 27. Social Security is here to help secure today and tomorrow, and together we can strengthen our disability programs.

 

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65 thoughts on “We Need Your Insights on Telehealth and Telemedicine

  1. Needing part d, and have to wait til Next July.Seems unfair and in the mean time cannot get coverage , Please, I need suggestions. I would love to be included in the forum.

    • it does seem unfair in light of the new presidential order that all persons have insurance and if you don’t then the irs will levy a tax on you…where does intervention and knowledge enter into the equation…these people need medical insurance or they will be burdened with hospital and doctor bills they cannot pay and probably never will be able to pay…

      rhonda gibson, look to free clinics, look to the makers of your meds for help in paying for the meds…some will help, some will provide free and some will ignore you…i kinda know a little about this…been there and have around $2500 in dr and hospital bills i don’t know how i’ll ever pay…what is it with insurance companies…where do they get the idea they can gouge the people in areas of necessary medical insurances and where is the presidential order for the ones who have to wait for their medical insurance to kick in…we need a total and complete revamping of the insurances especially for the disabled…

      • None of your comments concern matters pertinent to the forum. The fact that people are now learning that Obamacare is crap is not relevant.

        • There are a lot of Part D plans that have a zero premium. Check out BCBS–I pay a zero premium for mine. If you just became eligible for Medicare you can sign up for a part D supplement.The Obama tax is only if you have no insurance at all.

    • Why is parts b,c,and D..so much more expensive? I can only afford part A.i depend on my insurance supplements to recieve most of my general healthcare. I dont know what I’d do without silverscript.

      • I also use AARP’s ” UNITED HEALTH CARE” and I couldn’t be happier with it…unless I could have a little more of my money at the end of the month. It keeps going up. My meager retirement doesn’t increase and when Social Security increases its just enough to pay for an increase in something else.

        • COLA increase please of 10%.
          No more co pays and premiums for anyone making under $30,000.

          We need help now not more talk.

      • There is no reason to Pay AARP an annual fee when you can find the information and the plans for free on Medicare’s website or a similar one that compares plans for you.
        All AARP wants to do is sell you all kinds of insurance. It is like buying something at the grocery store just because you have a coupon for it. If you don’t need it you don’t need to pay for it.

    • If you only have Part A, you can enroll in a Part D plan between October 15 and December 7. You might be assessed a late enrollment penalty. If you don’t have either A or B, and missed your opportunity when you were first eligible, then you have to wait to enroll in Medicare A/B during the annual election period of Jan. 1 to March 31. Effective date would be July 1, and then yes, a month before you could get Part D effective July 1. But late enrollment penalties might apply. Contact your local SHIP. Check Medicare.gov for the telephone number

    • Ms. Gibson, please look at the Medicare website. If you have not have prescription coverage or it was recently dropped, you should be able to sign up for part D at any time no matter when open enrollment is.
      In the mean time to get rx coverage always ask your doctor for samples and free “drug” programs from the manufacturers. If you search “rx help” you should be able to find programs as well. A lot of the big pharmacies have low cost programs for a large number of generic drugs, some with small membership fees and some with no fee.
      The penalty for late sign-up for part D is 1% a month for each month that you do not sign up. That is they will charge you an additional 1% of the charge for each month that you don’t sign up.

  2. Accept the fact that many people have Multiple Chemical Symptoms illness and cannot go out in the world to work because of the chemicals in the air. Medical doctors are finally starting to accept this diagnosis as a real illness.

    • What does “multiple chemical symptoms illness” have to do with this thread?
      Granted there are environmental illnesses and some people are more sensitive than others.
      All the polllution in the air, water etc. is not good for anyone.
      What about the food you eat? Do you eat organic? Do you eat cage free, grass fed eggs? Do you use grass fed butter? Do you eat grass fed beef? Do you eat only wild caught fish vs. farm raised? Do you avoid all medications and supplements? Do you wash your body an hair? Do you drink carbonated beverages? Unless you do all these things, plus, you are exposing yourself to contamination and pollution.
      But again, what does that have to do with this thread?

  3. People in rural areas of American typically lack adequate access to high speed broadband internet. Many telehealth tools require >25Mbps up and down. Most rural areas do not have access to these speeds. So along with the development of telehealth and other communication tools, we need to fund and install infrastructure to give people access to affordable broadband internet.

      • I agree the whole system sucks and is totally unfair in so many ways. Programs, local help, state help etc… bend over backwards for people that don’t speak English or are any other color but white. But, when it comes to a white, hard working, American citizen in need of help that has come upon hard times it is an act of congress and then some to get it.

    • That’s correct. I live in a rural area and have tried several internet providers and get the same answer–“You line in a fringe area and can’t expect to get higher than 1.5 MB”.

  4. Use telehealth to get access to experts in certain diagnosis instead of just using some random doctor who doesn’t understand your illness, especially for rare diseases.

  5. I am a telemedicine provider and have done so for years.
    We do not replace the family physician but are an option when she/he is not available or for second opinions.
    There are some patients who have NO physician due to a recent move and unavailability. We cannot take care of emergencies on phone or video. It is a niche.

  6. I am all for it get a doctor who helps with your problems not tell you its in my head or that i am a druggy cause i need a different medicine changed some people just dont get it when they dont have what you have

    • From my personal experience helping my elderly parents, they were taking excessive amounts of medication it seems that every time they left the doctor’s office they had a new RX to fill. My mom at one point she was taking over 13 medications daily.

      • I agree, that a lot of people are overmedicated.
        Unfortunately, our healthcare system is set up in such a way that the easiest thing for a doctor to do is just prescribe you something to save time. But don’t just blame the system, blame Big Pharma who are inventing diseases so they can profit. Although diabetes is not an invention, it is increasing amongst all age groups and all big pharms, and our healthcare system has to offer is pills, and injections that treat symptoms and does nothing toward treating or preventing the disease. what about nutrition, avoiding sugar and HFCS they throw into everything to sweeten it because it is the cheapest sweetener out there. HFCS is a scourge upon our food system. (high fructose corn syrup). Sugar itself is highly processed–if you think about it it starts our as a stalk of cane and they process it so much it is granular. For a comparison think about something like a table leg becoming sawdust without a router or saw of any kind, but chemical and mechanical manipulation.
        If you have not read the book “Sugar, Fat, Salt” read about the processed food industry. Even cheese is highly processed, not just the kind in an individual wrap. the more fat they put in a product, the more sweetener they can put in without you tasting it. If you don’t read your labels and find all the different names for sugar, (besides fructose, glucose, sucrose there is cane sugar, maple flavoring, rice syrup, HFCS, fruit flavoring etc.) you are poisoning yourself. Do you know they have stripped the fruit out of fruit flavoring?

    • It is going to be the new, Social Security disability scam. Medicare and Medicaid is already being scam. The pill mill doctors can operate in one state and prescribe medication to drug addicts in another state. Local authorities can no longer close shop for these pill mill/pain management clinic. Federal law enforcement would have to get involved.

      Medicare is being fraudulently billed from companies with an address in another country. Medicare is sending payments to countries like China.

      Just open up your wallet and give away free disability money like Medicare does with Telehealth and Telemedication.

      The fraudsters are way ahead of Social Security and waiting for you to open the door.

      • People committing fraud on SSI won’t need to go back to the United States to visit the doctor or summit recent medical records.

        Telehealth and Telemedication is the fraudsters paradise.

  7. Aside from one medication NOT covered, thus NOT covered by the secondary coverage, I find GoodRx.com to be very helpful. I can search for the best price in my area and save over $100 per month. As for doctors and walk-in clinics all hav e been coverd nicedly and timely. I would like to know more about about the “tele” form of doctor usage, especiallyy, as I am aging and access is getting more and more difficult.

  8. I have a couple of different chronic diseases which I take meds for. They do not cure, the Doctor’s said there is no cure. Ok, wow, I got diseases with no cure just control and maintain them for the best living experience i can have. I take many meds, 8 or more, I am on Oxygen 24/7. My problem is not having meds here at my house every month. Some of the meds they send 3 months worth. Others only 30 days. Why? That is a very hard problem. For me. Always making sure I order the meds, I like a system to do this say on the last Monday of the month. That will get all the meds here at my house on time. 2. I don’t want any thing on Mondays and Fridays and before noon. Why is that so hard? I am not 19 any more, I have a hard time with my breathing, I got to carry air with me everywhere and I got to set down, walking is a short time thing when I go out. I don’t get enough money to take care of my self. So I do without. What can you do for that? Like going to the store, to the dr. To get a hire cut go to shop for your tank parts can’t pay a number so what can I do I need some help some days a week a 4 or 5 hour day to help me say two days would do wonders, don’t have to be high dollar just early learner you know.
    Thank you, Mr. Robert C. Clayton

  9. Useful if used wisely and as an adjunct to direct, hands on healthcare. Much can be missed when the patient is view indirectly. Also problems of access in rural communities without adequate technical support systems. Really opposed to this being the only care given without a practitioner being involved.

    • I believe it would be a doctor/nurse practitioner/physicians asisstant who would be on a remote computer/robot who would talk to you like face timing/skype. That way they can also see you and talk to you just as if you were in their office. It won’t just be someone answering questions who has no means to treat you. I e-mail most of my doctors now and there is an option of whether or not you need a reply. So if it is just something about a lab or something you forgot to say at an appointment you can e-mail. Most of the time I have just had to add something I forgot, or ask for something they forgot or miscalculated.

  10. This would be extremely helpful for senior citizens who may have difficulty getting to their doctor or my just need to have a ‘one on one ‘ conversation with their doctor.

  11. The cancer patient, gone thru chemo therapy and radiation do not qualify for disability even though they continue to have side effects of chemo called chemo brain, who cannot remember things, have lost their focus and are over 65 but cannot get a job. If SS can give them disability certificate and they may qualify to get a job to support themselves.

  12. I think it would help a lot for people who are internet savvy and have the right pc/webcams at home. People truly in need might not have these things.
    People in rural areas don’t have internet or computer education. Older people do not know how to use technology. People might not have a DECENT computer that will run the software needed for the medical staff to interact with them.
    I would say it is a great method for people who know how to use technology and are unable to get out of the home. I would love it. It should be a choice but not mandatory, and when people are given the choice their computer readiness and available technology should be evaluated first..

  13. Having only read this particular page on this Telemedicine/Telehealth application, my first reaction and comment is: I suspect the majority have little or no idea of exactly what telemedicine/health covers. Asking opinions of its potential end users regarding a little known process, one which encompasses many facets/levels/activities and is dependent upon which organization is using it, is not a good idea. If the coverage of such methods is presented in particular depth and coverage, then perhaps SOME gain may be achieved. Second of all, with the number of patients who regularly attempt to manipulate their health care provider into making a particular diagnosis, or prescribing a particular medicine, telemedicine/health merely offers the opportunity to activate this to a higher level than a face-to face activity with a provider. Expanding low cost telemedicine/health availability primarily to health providers in the interest of education, determination, diagnosis, and treatment, is of extremely high value, particularly in rural, remote, low population and low income areas. Your mileage may vary, my opinion is probably worth just what it costs you, and will have the same value but I think it’s worth saying.

  14. Way too complex a topic for non-technical and non-medical citizens. I generally support the concept, but think it should it should complement and support clinical medical treatment. High speed internet will be needed for success. Suggest local area clinics with internet service, registered nurses, and capability to obtain and report to doctors normal medical data such as blood oxygen, blood pressure, EKG, EEG, cardio stress tests, basic xrays, etc. Add transportation from the clinics to major hospitals and medical offices for advanced diagnosis and treatment. Might work. SSA should devote more resources to fraud detection, prevention, recovery, and prison sentences for these criminals. SSA disability awards should be carefully screened and some kind of work requirement within the ability of the recipient.

  15. I think that before this can even be considered, making affordable (or free) internet access available to people with disablitlities (particulalrly ) requiring it in group homes and any waiver funded program in which people with disabilities either live or attend a day program, is essential!!!! Having internet access is the equivalent to what having telephone used to be. There is no way that for people without that access can be a full functioning member of the community or get the info needed to make reasonable choices about anything, much less their medical care, without the virtual community integration and community access, and networking the internet provides. So I think that you are really putting the cart before the horse here.

    Before using programs and services (which may be appr0priate and even preferable for some) that require internet access SSI must first figure out how to ensure that thost with disabilities, where ever they live, are entititled to not only free or affordable internet access, but also the hardware (computer, tablet etc) to use it

    My son is in a group home for developmental disabilities. I fought hard for him to have internet access as part of his plan so that he could participate in the community, continue learning on his own, search for jobs, advocate for himself, and make friends, etc. which is how most young people without disabilities now conduct many of their relationships , access services, save money by price shopping, figure out transportation, and just stay connected to the world. every group home I have seen has the highest cable package of TV channels, but no internet!!!!! this makes no sense. For my son, supposedly “living in the community” but really in a congregate care group home that in the way it is run , amounts to just a downsized institution. Going physically to the doctor , is some times the only outside contact he really has.

    By the way, this company (and some others) will not even let the residents chip in and purchase monthly internet service for the house as they would do if they were not disabled and simply living in the community a roomates sharing a house…. so for each of them to puchase a smart phone with unlimited internet access, it would cost them each about $100/month, whereas purchasing highspeed internet in the house which ususually also allows them access to hotspots in the community at no additional charge), would in most groups homes cost each resident no more than $10/month. And provide them with all kinds of other benifits. So my answer is that telemedicine might be a good adjunct to other medical care, particulalrly in the area of mental health services. For people on a fixed income, unless SSI also provides real internet access to all as part of the program, is just another hurdle and inequity in the system.

    • Agreed, the home should provide the service, not the government or the SSI program. Witness, the effectiveness of the free phone programs.

  16. A medical disability needs to be determined by a medical doctor in person with the patient. Even if a qualified nurse goes to visit with the patient. I am not saying anyone would take advantage but the temptation is there. A qualified person should sign off on this. Possibly after that some type of telephone conference could be done but then someone is going to have to furnish the equipment. I think something needs to be done to speed the system up for all disabled people.

  17. I think that telemedicine is a cop out for a doctor visit. It probably costs the same and yet there are no hands on. The doctor can not physically assess their patient which is a very important part of a doctor visit. It may work as an education tool but should not be substituted as a doctor app’t.

    • I believe there are systems/attachments so a doctor could hear a heartbeat and have a person give more insight about the problem. This will not work for every type of ailment, but it could work for some. It would be good for people who can’t get to an office all the time. It would be more ideal to have satellite centers where a person could converse with the doctor via the computer with camera such as assisted living centers, retirement communities etc. or where larger numbers of “house bound” people live.
      Satellites closer to where they live, where a short walk or commute less than a few miles would work.

  18. Have seen where some private /employees insurance companies offering this for insured. Cost is higher $49.00 I know for my husbands company.
    As a former medical professional, I have many serious concerns about this feature. 1st, you have an UNKNOWN PATIENT being treated by ” subjective ” information thereby putting the licence MD. at an incresed risk & I am HIGHLY AGAINST THIS! The system needs COMMON SENSE CHANGES! You have people that are not able to get the medication they need due you cost, OR, limits placed, & reality is WE CAN’T TAKE OTHER MEDS YOU WANT US TO AS ALLERGIC, CANNOT AFFORD WHAT WORKS, & THEN have to see specialist every 3 months, even though they cannot do anything else for us, YET, WE have to pay ANOTHER CO-PAY because of mismanagement in past. There are Dr.so, that STILL try to get away with fraud -(I personally call them out & report it). The idea is OK, BUT NOT REALISTIC, SAFE, HAS ADDITIONAL COST THAT WE CANNOT AFFORD!
    Hands on is a must!, you cannot hear breath sounds, get accurate information (asthma, pneumonia),should individual have infection (strep, ear, utility etc.), YOU CANNOT SEE , IF issues with cardiac output, ( CHF, pedal edema, urine output), & depending on areas ability to not only access the service, but I too concerned about computer understanding, additional cost, and security.
    What about the people who have vision, dexterity issues? Unfortunately, the day of home visits by Dr. gone, yet this “FEATURE” putting the physician at risk for “missing” issue that would be observed OBJECTIVELY and addressed.
    This plan relies on too much “SUBJECTIVE ” information, MD CANNOT THROUGHLY ASSESS THE PATIENT & I FEEL THAT HOME VISITS BE BETTER for the patient and the system! Technology was not something we were raised with, WE WERE RAISED WITH COMMON SENSE!
    HIGHLY AGAINST THIS AS I FEEL THAT THE PATIENT IS NOT THOROUGHLY ASSESSED as NO HANDS ON, BUT, what the patient feels is the URGENT CONCERN addressed, BUT, the subtle beginning Signs & Symptoms of SEVERE LIFE THREATENING ISSUES TOO HIGH RISK to place on DR. / Patient.
    We need Dr’s.that do not have their hands tied by the system on medication, treatments, have the ability to provide the care, medication each patient requires & HOME VISITS!

    • Dragonldy, I agree with everything you have said. Couldn’t have done or said it better myself. I worked as an Coder/Insurance specialist, before coming disabled. There is no way a doctor can assess a patient and get 3 out of 5 needed issues covered over the net. I see mal-pact. wrote all over this ideal.

  19. 19th century thoughts are not needed as the future is in your children’s children who will probably readily endorse the digital age. Speaking of Affordable Care, it was passed by Congress and everyone should read the whole Act before commenting. Its unfortunate that there are people who have not planned for long term illness nor expected to be in situations outlined in prior posts , as well as those who choose to live in rural areas. However. you cannot blame the SS administration for poor outcomes as a result of your benefits. The newer generations to come will eventually figure out the best route. After all is said and done, the future looks bright and there are more and more people reaching 100 years of age due to modern medicine.

  20. At every turn, please keep in mind The Great Ball Of Data. It only exists in theory…but the closer to reality it becomes, the more reliable and more effective becomes any task that relies on stored data. There should be ONE Great Ball of Data, and if at any point a system requires a user to re-enter a name, a number, doctors info, prescriptions, diagnoses…that act creates a SECOND COPY of the data, unconnected to the great ball, and by introducing another opportunity for data to be mis-spelled or entered incorrectly, is the acid that eats away at the integrity of the data. PLEASE, look for opportunities to save people the trouble and risk of re-entering information that’s already online — LINK to the EXISTING DATA whenever possible, and make sure that systems do this BY DEFAULT.

    YES we must be mindful of privacy issues, yes, if medical information is online it’s at risk of being stolen, and yes, if there’s one great ball of data that means the whole thing can be hacked. So, let’s work on security practices (teaching people good password habits is far & away the most effective), and on systemic data-redundancy. But we shouldn’t confuse the two (data privacy vs data integrity) as related issues.

    This is ALL magic. I LOVE magic. We must practice being responsible magicians. Keep up the great work!

  21. Telemedicine & telehealth has its efficiencies, but I think it must also be used rationally and with foresight to avoid its usage and fraud by EITHER a patient OR a prescribing doctor. A telephonic diagnosis is based solely on explanation by the patient and not a physical examination of the patient, which makes the medical evaluation subject to fraud & abuse. I think an elaborate plan should be devised to avoid such misuse & abuse by both parties (doctors & patients). The plan should include the specific types of diagnoses or procedures that would be accepted for telemedicine appraisal. The plan should start with minimal procedure appraisals, and strategy should be periodically re-evaluated for quality of appraisal and quality of procedure result, until the next phase of rollout (additional procedure appraisals, etc.,) would be added to the list of “acceptable telemedicine appraisal types).

  22. I believe that telemedicine consultations are more effective. The information the patient is giving the dr. Is entered into the system immediately which is something i realky liked. Any errors can be corrected as well.very quickly.i have had several of these treatment consultations and they are just as effective as a face to face one thank you.

  23. My psychiatrist and I use a combination of phone calls, via mobile cell phones, texts, emails and face-to-face office visits to communicate with each other. This has been very beneficial, to me as a client, and, I imagine, it makes my doctor’s job easier, due to the fact that she doesn’t have to try to work me into her appointment schedule. I was a regular client, using office-only visits, for several years prior to our current telehealth arrangement. When my husband’s work, in the construction industry, made moving from one side of the state, where we lived at that time, to other side, we had to travel for 3 hours to get to her office and often drove even longer to get back to our home. When he went to work out of state, I asked if telehealth was a possibility and we developed our current arrangement. Which has worked well for us, especially now, because we recently relocated to another state, have moved twice in 4 months, and trying to find a local psychiatrist with openings for new patients means getting on a waiting list, and we might have moved on by the time my name comes up, given my husband’s field of employment. But, I was an established client. I can’t guarantee our arrangement would work for everyone, clients or doctors, and we had a great rapport with one another before we started talking and texting each other.

  24. I not sure I understand this too well and don’t know if the software I’m running will handle it what I don’t know is up to a year ago I was still driving and had no problem getting to my Drs. I don’t drive anymore and am disabled and transportation is about nil, thank goodness my Drs.and hospital are not more than 2 miles except for 2 that are 20 miles where I used to live And I pay $20.00 per hour when I have to see them. I’m sure there will be a lot of changes after elections no matter who wins I pray we can all live through it.

  25. I think insurance companies paying telemedicine virtual house calls great idea because doctor see things might see otherwise. I remember now gone doctor him telling me that patient kept taking meds and following instructions. he confused why patient wouldn’t improve. one house visit saw state of patient’s refrigerator. per doctor everything was replaced like magic patient got well and stayed that way.

    he(the doctor) expressed concern that doctor younger age missing much doctor his age etc took doctor bag to house visit. I believe most hospitals should be required to offer telemedicine. second thought my state has telemedicine video call to all 75 county seats have one distant doctor office so now physician assistant etc nurse one sites doesn’t know patient has now get consultation 150 miles yes patient need transported to major hospital because nurse etc caught dangerous early stage. I also thought in response bio weapon etc exposure that rather create code black hospital situations control diseases limit exposure larger populations center. by default increase shortness of major illness out break. think India were have major completely antibiotic
    restant illnesses. help isolated folks beyond help reduce numbers of folks getting Ill. think this Ebola etc. fly’s from small part of world to small town America. because telemedicine video doctor realize can send staff fully protected to small town keeping patient zero isolated therefore out of control illness keep from spreading because all exposed individuals isolated given world class health care by telemedicine video. massive reduce affect of flying illnesses. unfortunately reality we(Medicare etc) citizen only flight or two away from major illness being small part of world coming to LA, NYC airports etc.

  26. Telemedicine is an alternative to reach a Board-Certified Physician for common, non-urgent conditions (i.e. sore throat, allergies, pink eye, constipation, asthma, bronchitis, ear infections, joint aches/pains, skin inflammations, etc…) when you are not able to reach your physician during a normal work day, during a holiday, in the middle of the night or while traveling…and you need to speak with a professional about your condition instead of running to the emergency room (which is much more costly). Telemedicine is a service that you would not use for chronic conditions but for non-emergency medical issues and is an “alternative”. A person is able to use telemedicine anytime, anywhere including nights, weekends and holidays. Also a great alternative when you are unable to leave your home or work. Keep in mind that all telemedicine visits are reported to your primary care physician that insures continuity of care. You may also obtain a prescription using telemedicine if one is needed but this service is not used for your maintenance medications. Many insurance plans includes telemedicine for a copay that is most often less than a doctor visit with insurance. Another option is there are many stand-alone telemedicine plans for families that are very affordable with $0 cost consults.

    We are beginning to see a lot of other medical services added to telemedicine, such as behavior health visits, counseling, etc… but they do have a higher cost.

    I see many benefits to using telemedicine especially for a young family with children for those non-life threatening situations. Face it, this is a new concept, and most of us don’t like change. I, for one, think telemedicine will be a wave of the future.

  27. I have mixed feelings about telemedicine. On the one hand, it would make appointments easier for me because it is difficult for me to go anywhere. On the other hand, I have been misdiagnosed a number of times by physicians who physically examined me. Some of the medical mistakes cost thousands of dollars out-of-pocket and have ruined my health. I can’t imagine the increase in misdiagnoses if the doctor isn’t even in the same room.

  28. For disabled people who have rare and orphan diseases this service MUST be utilized. Many patients can not get the proper treatment they need without telemedicine and related services because they can’t travel far and many times you can have only a handful of specialist who actually understand and treat the specific disease. Even allowing an appointment over the phone in the presence of your primary care Dr., in the Dr.’s office would save the SSA money in the long run. It all looks good on paper but when you actually try to utilize the service……even medicare CSR reps can’t find info on it. If I have to go to my PCP, he has to refer me to a specialist he thinks can handle my symptom but in actuality that specialist will try to treat me using the same general care he or she uses for all of their patient but it doesn’t work for me b/c I am so different I don’t fit into the box. They can prescribe medicine that works well for 99% of patients but it will cause adverse and devastating affects for me. Now my out of pocket expenses are obscene and i have to go without any accurate treatment and meds all the while getting worse and worse. Do the math for this type of scenario b/c it is a must.

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