Healthcare providers are actively pursuing telemedicine advancements despite reimbursement and regulatory challenges, according to a new survey of senior healthcare executives released by law firm Foley & Lardner.

“The reimbursement landscape is already changing, and there are many viable options for getting compensated for practicing telemedicine,” said Larry Vernaglia, chair of Foley’s Health Care Practice. “The smartest thing organizations can do now is to continue developing programs, and be ready for the law to catch up—because it will.”

The survey asked senior executives of for-profit and non-profit healthcare providers about the future of telemedicine and how their organizations are navigating regulatory and reimbursement hurdles, as well as other barriers to widespread adoption of telemedicine.

Key findings of the survey include:

*Nine out of 10 report that their organizations have already begun developing or implementing a telemedicine program

*84 percent say that offering meaningful telemedicine services will be central to the success of their organizations

*The majority of respondents already offer remote patient monitoring services (64 percent), store and forward technology (54 percent) and real-time interaction capabilities (52 percent).

They were less confident about telemedicine’s imminent adoption, primarily due to reimbursement issues. Regulators and insurers have made it challenging to get paid for medicine practiced outside of traditional interactions.

*41 percent of respondents said they do not get reimbursed at all for telemedicine services

*21 percent reported receiving lower rates from managed care companies for telemedicine than for in-person care

*Nearly half (48 percent) expressed concern about educating physicians on telemedicine as a credible avenue for care

Foley distributed the 2014 Telemedicine Survey to healthcare executives throughout the United States in September and October 2014. The survey was completed by 57 executives, the majority of whom are C-level executives from for-profit and nonprofit care providers, including hospitals, home health organizations and physician group practices.

The report is available here.

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