www.advanceweb.com | 2018 | FOCUS ON EDUCATION 35 form in a conventional brick-and-mortar exam. There is also an extensive array of peripheral devices now available such as the high quality remote stethoscopes favored by cardiologists. Telehealth is being used everywhere: from the ambulance, where patients may be quickly tri- aged with help of a link to the ED, to the oper- ating room, where expert specialist surgeons remotely located can assist the on-location surgeon, offering guidance via high resolution cameras and displays FEEDBACK FROM PROVIDERS While many healthcare providers are still reluctant to adopt telehealth, those that do practice telehealth have commented, “It is the next best thing to being in two places at once.” Yet, one big barrier to telehealth adoption is that providers considering telehealth are apprehensive at the prospect of doing video visits, owing to a lack of training and experi- ence. Misconceptions about telehealth abound among the un-indoctrinated. The truth is that while using telehealth does take some training and education, those that take the plunge with the proper support soon develop both comfort and efficiency with the practice. In the past few years, there has been a pro- liferation of telehealth educational training opportunities, ranging from informal webi- nars to certification type comprehensive pro- grams. Changes in curriculum at medical schools and in nursing training programs are also catching on. Specific aspects of the curriculum to sup- port the transition are being formulated with burgeoning utilization of telehealth. Education and training for providers are evolv- ing at this very moment, with general topic areas common to most practices including legal and ethical guidelines, equipment and technical training, cyber security practices, video communication skills, logistics, proto- cols and best practices. These are all ‘hot’ top- ics for these new venues. CAREER OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND IN TELEHEALTH Today, there are even doctoral degrees with specialties in areas such as telemedicine administration. With increasing demands and expanding uses, telehealth specialists at all lev- els -- from administration to direct care -- will be in demand, especially at the institutions of higher learning where they are planning and implement curriculum to fill the need. Concurrent to the growth of telehealth, there has been an increasing dependence upon well trained nurse practitioners (NPs). NPs have become so indispensable that many states have now adopted laws that allow NP’s to practice independently, while other states have similar legislation in process. Analogous to physicians, NP’s have the opportunity to learn the skills needed to implement telehealth. Even in states where NP’s must still practice under the supervi- sion of a physician, they are in a good position to take the lead in acquiring the training and augmenting the addition of telehealth services in the practice. But it doesn’t stop there: many other direct carecareerprofessionsalsoarediscoveringthe utility of telehealth. A myriad of profession- als like home care nurses, correctional health care workers, occupational therapists, speech therapists, psychologists, marriage counselors, certified addiction counselors and life coaches are exploring the opportunities that telehealth presents. They are finding creative new ways to better their treatment outcomes. Strategies as simple as automatically sent reminder-mes- sages for weight loss or brief compliance check- ins for patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes or opiate addiction. Although the technology is rapidly evolv- ing and adoption is on its way, equally import- ant changes in telemedicine are happening behind the scenes. Healthcare administra- tors are starting to appreciate the full potential of telehealth to revolutionize the delivery of healthcare. LOOKING AHEAD: TELEHEALTH OF THE FUTURE While some telehealth business models have resulted in disappointing ROI, newer business models are providing the foundation for robust and higher quality telehealth care. Models that reduce the cost of care and improve patient satisfaction have been shown to work well with value-based reimbursement. Administrators will need training and education in telehealth business models and organizational change techniques specific to telemedicine. Some companies now specialize in teaching and consulting with administra- tors on how to design and implement more sophisticated business models. By implement- ing inexpensive and proactive telehealth com- pliance checks-ins, these models enhance and promote the provider-patient relationship and reduce expensive re-hospitalizations. Third party payers, ACO’s, hospital systems, ALF’s, SNF’s, surgical centers, walk-in clinics, acute care facilities, clinics, ED’s, correctional facility contractors are all climbing the learn- ing curve. Better methods of implementation are leading to significant gains in access, qual- ity of care and outcomes for patients. Chronic care alone is expected to become a 50-billion dollar business for telehealth. Telehealth is revolutionizing how direct care is provided. Looking ahead, the rapid esca- lation in the growth of telehealth offers excit- ing opportunities for patients, caregivers and organizations. n James B. LeVasseur, PhD has been a pioneer in telehealth for over a decade. Founder of a tele- health-based medico/forensic consulting firm and cofounder of First Choice Telehealth, Dr. LeVasseur takes a down to earth and practical approach to applying telehealth, offering cus- tomized solutions individualized to fit health- care organizations and provider needs. FOCUS ON EDUCATION  |  TELE-MEDICINE Live and Online CE courses including: • Hand Therapy • IASTM • KinesioTaping® • Manual Therapy • Modalities • Neural Mobilization • NeuroIFRAH® • Pediatric Hand Therapy • Splinting/Orthotic Fabrication • and more • 2019 Hosting Opportunities available www.RehabEd.com • info@RehabEd.com (845) 368-2458 Continuing Education for Healthcare Practitioners