New healthcare industry survey: Telemedicine on the rise, EMR integration a concern

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Telemedicine is a growing priority for healthcare organizations, according to results of the REACH Health 2016 U.S. Telemedicine Industry Benchmark Survey.

Approximately two out of three respondents said telemedicine was “the top priority or one of the highest priorities for their healthcare organization,” an increase of 10 percent compared to 2015.

“Telemedicine decision-making is rapidly moving from individual departments and specialties to an enterprise initiative,” Steve McGraw, president and CEO of REACH Health, said in a prepared statement. “Both hospitals and health systems reported significant increases in the average number of telemedicine service lines which are active or being implemented in concert.”

Respondents were also asked indicate some of the challenges facing telemedicine today. Reimbursement and limitations of electronic medical records made up six of the top seven answers.

“Telemedicine reimbursement poses the primary obstacle to success, but EMR-related challenges are persistent and widely noted in the survey,” McGraw said in the same statement. “There is clearly a high demand in the industry for EMR integration, specifically the two-way flow of individual data elements between telemedicine platforms and EMR systems.”

A total of 390 healthcare executives, physicians, nurses, and other professionals from the healthcare industry participated in the survey.