Strange Bedfellows Indeed

October 3, 2012 by InTouch Health

When we recently spoke with the ATA’s CEO Jon Linkous, he said there are plenty of unlikely allies helping to champion telemedicine. On the surface, some of these alliances are head-scratchers. But if you reflect for a moment, you’ll see that telemedicine companies share a common cause with these groups:

NOBEL/Women – No, this isn’t a group of prize winners like Madame Curie. The acronym stands for the National Organization of Black Elected Leaders/Women. They come from the ranks of both state and federal government, and they’re passionate about improving the quality of health care in urban communities. Many people assume that telemedicine mainly benefits rural patients, but many inner-city folks are equally underserved. Many NOBEL women are already sold on the benefits of telemedicine, and they know how to get things done in the halls of power.

Trial lawyers – They’re not the most beloved group inAmerica, but they’re quickly helping to establish telemedicine as a standard of care. In Linkous’ view, attorneys’ efforts may ultimately be more fruitful than trying to get laws passed. Several large hospitals have already had to make large out-of-court settlements because attorneys argued that by not offering telemedicine, the facilities didn’t provide the needed level of care to stroke patients.

Hospitals that do national branding – Linkous notes that highly regarded health systems like The Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic Care Network are promoting their telemedicine programs in national branding campaigns. When prestigious organizations start practicing and promoting telemedicine nationwide, the rest of the healthcare field takes notice.

If you’re a telemedicine crusader, it’s easy to feel like the Lone Ranger sometimes, but take heart.  You have a host of powerful new allies.  Reach out to them, and be grateful for their help.