According to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), telemedicine is a big benefit to rural hospitals, if only they could figure out how to reimburse for the services.

Using telestroke care as a study point, the researchers discovered that rural hospitals implementing telehealth services see higher care outcomes and a bigger benefit to patients. However, the financial obstacles of telemedicine equipment and reimbursement can be too great to overcome at some facilities, leading to less equity and higher mortality rates in rural patients.

The writers of this JAMA paper offer a solution that will allow more rural hospitals to use telehealth; the reimbursements can go to the hospital and its emergency department, not the remote specialist using the hospital’s telehealth equipment.

SOURCE: JAMA Health Forum, The Rural Blog