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The Arizona Telemedicine Program Blog

Seniors are becoming more tech savvy and digitally connected than ever before. Smartphone use has doubled in just the last four years with four in 10 seniors using this type of device. Six out of 10 seniors report using the internet, and about half of all seniors – around 24 million -- have internet access in their homes.

Today's technology does more than just make home life more convenient for seniors. It can also prolong their independence. From mobility assistive devices to ridesharing services to online social groups, here are some ways tech can keep seniors engaged, mobile and confident:

The University of Arizona Center for Rural Health is partnering with the Arizona Department of Health Services and other state agencies to train first responders to recognize opioid overdoses and to administer the drug naloxone to prevent fatalities.

The effort is funded with a four-year, $3.1 million grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). Of the $3.1 million, $2.2 million has been awarded to the UA Center for Rural Health, at the University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.

Recent technological advancements have changed the way we see the world, paving the way for the growth of concepts such as telemedicine in the field of medical technology. Telemedicine is a method of providing clinical healthcare to someone from a distance by the use of telecommunication and information technology.

Expanding consumer demand for telehealth services is driving telehealth reimbursement policy reform. For that reason, telehealth clinicians wanting to provide and bill for services delivered to Medicaid recipients should do their due diligence. That means being cautious not to use nationally published policy guides as the sole source of truth for determining what is covered. Providers billing for services without making sure they are using up-to-date guidelines run the risk of having their claims denied or recouped on retrospective review.

Look in your purse, desk, and pocket, and you’ll be reminded of how our lives run on technology -- both personally and professionally. Nearly every industry has been affected by recent advancements in technology and data analysis, and healthcare in particular is poised to make some incredible improvements in patient care. In the next few years, patients can look forward to greater efficiency, more personalized care, and better data management—all thanks to technological advancements.

As a child and adolescent psychiatrist practicing in person for a number of years, and eventually making the shift to telepsychiatry, I have observed the subtle differences and nuances between the two mediums of care.

In my experience, telepsychiatry can be particularly powerful when working with children and teens. I had one experience with a 15-year-old adolescent who was admitted to the hospital for the fourth time with continued severe abdominal pain that could not be attributed to a medical cause. The hospital staff was puzzled, as the diagnostic tests did not show any signs of ailments and there were no physical afflictions present in the child. Interestingly enough, the teen had already been evaluated by another psychiatrist at the hospital, who was unable to get the teen to “open up.”

Looking back over 2017, we see a lot of reasons to be thankful. We want to share them with you, our friends and colleagues. You’re a big part of why we are thankful this year.

Here are some of the others:

  • In the March 14 edition of the journal Circulation, the American Heart Association published a Scientific Statement affirming the use of telemedicine in pediatric cardiology. “In most cases, the potential advantages of telemedicine in pediatric cardiology are numerous, including improving access to care, improving quality and saving lives,” the heart association stated. “In addition, this appears to be occurring with enhanced patient and practitioner satisfaction and cost-efficient medicine.”
  • In April, the FDA approved telepathology for primary pathology diagnoses. Ronald S. Weinstein, MD, founding director of the Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP), invented the technology 30 years earlier.


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