Effective use of telemedicine can increase access to health care, reduce health disparities, and create efficiencies in health care delivery. Telemedicine is generally considered as a viable means of delivering health care remotely through the use of communication technologies. Telemedicine can bridge the gaps of distance and health care disparity. Although telemedicine is well established, a number of technology and policy challenges need to be resolved before its full potential can be realized.
Telemedicine is an important strategy for Maryland to embrace for its cost reduction benefits and to improve access and delivery of health care services. Both providers and consumers can benefit from telemedicine. Consumers can experience expanded access to providers, faster and more convenient treatment, better continuity of care, reduction of lost work time and travel costs, and the ability to remain with support networks. Providers can experience instant access to other providers, a reduction of medical errors, an increase in efficiency with reduced travel and research times, and enhanced educational opportunities.
Telemedicine Task Force
In October 2010, the Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene requested the Telemedicine Task Force (task force) to establish advisory groups to further expand its expertise and make recommendations to the Health Quality and Cost Council. The groups established by the task force consisted of the Clinical, Technology Solutions and Standards and Financial and Business Model Advisory Groups. The MHCC led the Telemedicine Technology Solutions and Standards and the Financial and Business Model groups. The Task Force reported the advisory groups’ recommendations to the Maryland Quality and Cost Council in December of 2011 and the recommendations were sent to the State Legislature. The recommendations may be found here: Telemedicine Recommendations: A report prepared for the Maryland Quality and Cost Council
The recommendations resulted in Senate Bill 781, Health Insurance - Coverage for Services Delivered through Telemedicine, which was passed by the General Assembly during the 2012 legislative session and signed into law by Governor Martin O'Malley in May 2012. The law requires, among other things, certain insurers, nonprofit health service plans, and health maintenance organizations to provide coverage for health care services delivered through telemedicine.
Last Updated: February 20, 2013