Navigating the American Telemedicine Association

In today’s day and age, more and more industries are becoming digitized. Archives have become electronic portals; newspapers are moving online; even the healthcare industry is undergoing a digital revolution.

Telemedicine is at the forefront of this revolution. Some people might have misconceptions about telemedicine, but the American Telemedicine Associate (ATA) defines it as “the use of medical information exchanged from one site another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s clinical health status.”

The ATA is a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C. Established in 1933, it aims to improve healthcare around the world using telemedicine. According to its website, the ATA is “the leading international resource and advocate promoting the use of advanced remote medical technologies.”

ATA’s website, www.americantelemed.org, has a lot of helpful information about telemedicine aimed primarily at healthcare institutions, government and military health officials, and researchers and academics. The website includes basic information about telemedicine—e.g., an FAQ section that answers concerns such as “Is telemedicine safe?” There is also a section of case studies on the benefits of telemedicine conducted by various organizations.

The website has a lot of resources specifically aimed at helping healthcare institutions, such as practice guidelines for implement telemedicine, a buyer’s guide for purchasing the best services for a particular context, information on liability insurance, and even accreditation courses.

ATA openly lists their members—individual, institutional, and corporate—under the “Member” section, and even has an Employment Center for healthcare professionals seeking jobs.

One of the most important aspects of ATA’s overarching mission to implement telemedicine is to convince policymakers and government officials to support telemedicine. As such, there is another section on the website that lists policy activities that deal with the healthcare industry as a whole.

ATA understands that healthcare policy is complicated and often confusing—all the more so because each state has different legislation. The State Policy Resource Center, locate under the “Policy” tab on the ATA website, compiles reports that identify and compare state policies with regard to telemedicine. States are assigned a letter grade, ranging from A to F, “based on telemedicine reimbursement and physician practice standards,” according to the ATA website. This resource makes it easy for anyone to see how a certain state is performing or how certain states compare to one another.

It’s important for people to be aware of all of these resources on the ATA websit because telemedicine is a rapidly growing aspect of the medical industry. As previously stated, telemedicine is defined as any kind of digital exchange of medical information with the intent of improving a patient’s clinical health status. This is more than just patient consultations via video conferencing or telephone calls. This is remote monitoring of vital signs, nursing call centers, patient portals, transmission of still images, and more.

According to research conducted by the ATA, telemedicine can save both patients and providers money when compared with traditional care. It can also give patients higher access to their medical records through patient portals, as well as increased access to healthcare professionals by way of patient consultations via video conferencing.

According to the ATA, there are currently about 200 telemedicine networks and over half of all U.S. hospitals now use some form of telemedicine. Many hospitals and doctors’ offices are transferring their archives and operations systems to a digital format. Telemedicine is already an extremely important aspect of the healthcare industry, and it will only continue to grow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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