"Telehealth services are rapidly becoming a very important part of healthcare delivery under the new paradigm, but we unfortunately don't have a regulatory environment or policy environment that accommodates the new technology," he told The Washington Post. "It hasn't been changed in about 15 years."
It's clear that change is in the air and, for hospital marketers, that means thinking ahead to how to best communicate and promote expanded telehealth services.
Some have called for a telehealth rebranding of sorts, positing that the name suggests care at a distance, which implies poorer quality. Daschle's alliance, for instance, is using the term "connected care." While a change in semantics may help gain traction in Washington, the real value lies in the message and, ultimately, the patient's care experience.
In the hospital world, where "telehealth" is still the word of choice, many organizations are sending a strong, clear message about how remote and electronic services can benefit patients.
Swedish Medical Center, which offers telehealth services for EEG, gastroenterology, ICU, interpreters, movement disorders, neurology, neurosurgery, sleep, spine, and stroke care, launched its TeleICU in 2004, becoming the first hospital to do so in Washington state.