Telehealth Opportunity Or Telehealth 'Parity'?


Telehealth provides a great opportunity to reduce costs and improve quality in U.S. health care. It uses information technology to eliminate distance within the system. A subset of telehealth is telemedicine, which allows physicians to consult patients over the phone, by text, or video.

Take a couple of obvious examples: Telepsychiatry, whereby a patient undergoing talk therapy has a session with his psychiatrist over the phone instead of having to go to the doctor’s office; or e-prescribing,

whereby a patient can describe symptoms over the phone or send a photo (of, for example, a rash) and the doctor can prescribe immediately (if appropriate).

In this photo taken Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013 Dr. Alan Shatzel, medical director of the Mercy Telehealth Network, is displayed on the monitor RP-VITA robot at Mercy San Juan Hospital in Carmichael, Calif. The robots enable physicians to have a different bedside presence as they "beam" themselves into hospitals to diagnose