In a Politico opinion piece, Randal Milch -- executive vice president of public policy and general counsel for Verizon -- writes that some of the best strategies to address health care cost and access issues "lie in the anytime-anywhere nature of high-speed broadband networks, which have engendered a host of devices and applications that both empower consumers to take greater control of their own health care and increase efficiencies in health care provision."
Milch notes that some of the technologies that engage consumers in their health include:
- Video consultations with physicians;
- Mobile applications to improve diet and fitness;
- Biometric devices for home health monitoring; and
- Personal health tracking tools.
Despite their advantages, many personal health technologies are "hemmed in by state borders and legacy rules," Milch writes. For example, he notes that state regulations often prohibit doctors from providing telehealth services to patients in other states.
Milch writes, "The outdated legal barriers to solutions like [telehealth] hurt those who need care the most," including disadvantaged populations and rural communities.
According to Milch, Congress should reduce barriers to telehealth by allowing state-licensed Medicare physicians to obtain a special telehealth license that permits them to treat patients throughout the U.S.
He concludes that "both federal and state governments must work together to remove regulatory barriers so that all Americans will benefit from new opportunities for digital care delivery" (Milch, Politico, 1/24).