Reimbursement, Broadband, are Hurdles in Telemedicine, Experts Say

Telemedicine has always been around, we just haven’t been using it, according to a discussion that highlighted the third CEO roundtable at NYC’s annual Telecom Exchange at Cipriani Wall Street on Wednesday, June 21.

When asked how many people in the audience had done a virtual visit or call with their physician, only three raised their hands.

“It has to do with reimbursement. (Telemedicine) wasn’t reimbursed for a very long time,”said Nancy Green, global practice lead, healthcare & life sciences at Verizon. “Certain states didn’t reimburse you. Texas finally just passed it. You don’t need to see a doctor first before you can do a telemedicine visit. And then the payers weren’t paying for it. Reimbursement is happening, it’s getting there, it’s not fixed, but it’s getting there.”

Everyone has a personal story about an experience they’ve endured waiting endless hours for something that shouldn’t take nearly as long. Drew Mullin, SVP of business development & strategy at Lightower, is no different as he shared how a scan result should have only taken an hour.

“My daughter was catching (for softball), and a girl came up to the plate, she had a really long swing, and she wound up catching my daughter on her hand. We immediately go to the emergency room, she gets her hand scanned, and we’re there for about eight hours,” Mullin said, whose wife is a pediatrician and father-in-law, an orthopedic surgeon. “Finally they came back and said, ‘OK, you’re good to go,’ and we asked what took so long. The person who needed to read the scan wasn’t here, they were on break, and then they got involved with other stuff.”

Another hurdle with telemedicine is accessibility. A lot of areas don’t have data centers with broadband connectivity as Cliff Kane, Co-CEO at Cleareon, explained noting that there are thousands of buildings even in New York City that don’t have fiber.

Brian Proffit, VP of business development & smart cities infrastructure at Adtell and Felipe Alvarez, chief executive officer at Axiom Fiber Networks were the other members of the panel. It was moderated by Larry Walsh, CEO at The 2112 Group.

Amanda Bruno

Amanda Bruno

Amanda Bruno is a sports and technology writer. She previously covered the Boston Bruins for The Republican in Springfield, Mass., and is the former Sunday Editor of the Staten Island Advance. She attended Startup Institute in New York City for UX Design certification.