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Telemedicine and Telehealth


Current State of Application

Deployed to many rural hospitals and clinics, the ease of use has enabled clinicians to readily embrace telemedicine and telehealth technology.

Minimum Technology Requirements

At present T1 (1.54Mbps) provides ample bandwidth for clinics and some of the smaller rural hospitals.  As we move forward with High Definition Videoconferencing and transferring large radiology images, the minimum will increase to 5Mbps.

Business Aspects

There are grant programs available from the USDA and HHS that can help establish Telemedicine sites.  Once the system is in place, Medicare, Medicaid and many private insurers will reimburse for Telemedicine encounters.  The rural healthcare site can receive from Medicare a facility fee for each Telemedicine encounter that they pay for. For the patients there is a cost avoidance in travel expenses and lost wages.  Additionally the broadband communications costs for the rural clinic are reduced by support from the Universal Service Fund.  Using Teleradiology a rural hospital can keep its Emergency Room open and not have to have a Radiologist on staff 24/7.

Obstacles or Barriers to Further Deployment

Even with Universal Service Fund support, broadband communications is still expensive for many rural clinics and hospitals.  To achieve the future goal of Home Health and Mobile Health, the Commonwealth needs further deployment of broadband, not just to the industrial/business locations but also to residential  communities.  Wireless broadband also needs to grow if we are to become a mobile society.

Other Pertinent Information

One of Governor Kaine and the General Assembly’s goals is to improve Mental Health Care throughout the Commonwealth.  There is a statewide shortage of Mental Health professionals.  As demonstrated by the University of Virginia working with a number of Community Service Boards (CSB’s), Telemedicine can be a useful tool to help provide this care to underserved areas of the Commonwealth.