Wireless health care should be part of national health reform discussions, American Telemedicine Association CEO Jon Linkous said in an interview with Mobihealthnews.
"We have to be inclusive and expansive when we look at the ways we do health care," Linkous said, adding, "We have to design a health care system or our approach to providing health care that enables and takes advantage of these new technologies."
He said, "Other fields like banking and entertainment ... have not only taken advantage of these technologies but ... have gone after them to make their industry much more consumer-focused and consumer-driven. In health care, we are just starting to grapple with that."
Linkous said that "the single fastest growing medical device we have in this country is probably the iPhone."
He added, "The thing that is really transformative about what we are involved in is that we are moving outside of the clinic, outside of the hospital and even outside of the physicians' offices to putting health care into the hands of consumers."
Linkous said ATA is "intimately involved" in regulatory issues related to telemedicine. He said, "We are working with all five committees on the Hill that are working on health reform right now."
"Many legislators love the technology, while regulators are wary of it because the budget office thinks this new technology is just going to bust the budget if everyone has access to health care," he said.
Linkous said, "What I have seen in Washington and other parts of the country is that there are two types of people: the health care people, who are kind of interested, and you have the techies, who are pushing broadband policy and ... they want to know what needs to be done to get (telemedicine) out the door."
According to Linkous, the "health care people are just cautious because telemedicine can be very threatening." He noted that telemedicine would increase competition and potentially could take business away from some physicians (Dolan, Mobihealthnews, 8/25).