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Telemedicine is set for steady rise after pandemic: Experts



Telemedicine, which in a recent study was cited as having the greatest impact on workers' compensation during the COVID-19 pandemic, appears to be prepared to continue to grow even when states reopen, experts say.

San Diego-based computer technology company Mitchell International Inc. found in a recent survey of 100 professionals that 35% of labor compensation claims organizations that have implemented new technology during the COVID-19 pandemic say that telemedicine is the technology that has had the greatest impact on business. At the beginning of 2020, this figure was 32%.

"Telemedicine continues to be a really strong trend in work skills," said Rebecca Morgan, Kansas City, Missouri-based vice president of product management for Mitchell's Casualty Solutions Group, who led the study.

"There was a demand for much more telecommunications health services during home orders," she said. “But it came back at the end of it when we started reopening. Still, some of it has certainly stuck, and we expect it to continue to grow.

Getting into the picture are many government proposals to clear bureaucracy for providers of telemedicine and work compensation.

For example, Texas on Monday introduced HB 3098 to allow the corporate sector to conduct medical reviews using telemedicine. And lawmakers in Montana, Colorado, Arkansas and New Jersey have enacted legislation to better govern remote care.

Most states have made temporary changes since the pandemic began, and experts say they hope the rules ̵

1; tackling such aspects of care as payments and referrals – will become permanent.

For example, California's COVID-19 response to allowing virtual independent medical examinations, or IME, in the workforce has been a "game changer" that could lead to more changes in the future, says Mary Reaston, CEO, President and Chief Science Officer for Emerge Diagnostics Inc., a Carlsbad company in California that provides remote diagnostics of soft tissue muscle damage.

"IMEs are lagging behind now because doctors did not see people," she said, adding that she hopes "objective telemedicine is the wave of the future."

"States are getting there," said Ann Schnure, Cincinnati-based vice president of telemedicine for Concentra Inc., a provider of occupational health to injured workers.

Another driving force for change is that "much of the fear of a telemedicine visit has disappeared" for patients, she said.

"We are experiencing steady growth and adoption – not as it was (in the beginning of the pandemic) when people did it out of panic, she said. But" all this is here to stay ", she added.

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