Chicago, IL – When you think of telehealth, you probably think of the big-name providers like Aetna, Cigna, and Humana.
That’s not the only reason you’re likely to hear about telehealth providers, though.
Telehealth is a term that refers to any service that is managed by a telehealth provider.
This can be a big deal if you’re in the market for a new medical device, such as a pacemaker, a heart monitor, or a colonoscopy.
TeleHealth providers also manage the healthcare information in patients’ medical records.
While there’s a lot of variation in how telehealth services are delivered, a tele health provider is typically a big part of your healthcare provider network, said Scott Johnson, president of the Illinois Telehealth Association (ITAA).
Telehealth providers are in the middle of a revolution.
“We’re seeing a lot more telehealth today,” Johnson said.
“They’re not necessarily new.
They’re just now starting to have their day in the sun.”
Telehealth has a long history.
Back in the late 1800s, telehealth was a booming business in New York City.
It helped people in need get their medical care.
It was also a way to stay in contact with family and friends who could help them during difficult times.
Telehealth companies have grown rapidly in recent years, Johnson said, adding that the healthcare landscape is changing as people move away from traditional medical providers.
“People are using telehealth more and more,” Johnson told CBS News.
“It’s becoming more important than ever.
We’ve seen the growth of telemedicine.”
The ITAA was formed in 2010 and represents about 1,000 telehealth companies across the United States.
Today, it represents about 70 percent of all telehealth operators in the United State, Johnson explained.
TeleHealth providers use software called telehealth analytics to manage their patients’ healthcare records.
They collect a lot on patients and their healthcare, which can be very useful in diagnosing a problem, he added.
“I’m always trying to find out what is the best way to diagnose something,” Johnson noted.
Johnson said his telehealth experience has taught him that it’s important to have a well-organized healthcare system.
The ITAA has teamed up with other healthcare groups in Illinois to work with telehealth businesses to ensure that they have a clear understanding of how they’re billing and receiving their patients.
“We’re trying to make sure that the business is operating in a way that we can support the telehealth business and make sure the health care provider is receiving the payment that they need to make,” Johnson explained, adding he hopes to have more tele health providers in Illinois by the end of this year.
“The health care industry needs to be ready for telehealth,” he said.
The ITIA has a number of different programs to help health care providers manage telehealth.
One program, which the ITAA calls the Health and Health Services Technology (HST) Education Program, offers telehealth education classes in Illinois.
Students learn how to manage tele health through a variety of resources, including the Illinois State Telehealth Code of Ethics, the Health Care Provider Manual, and other health information and reporting.
“If I’m going to be a tele healer and I need a pacifier, I’m not going to get it at the end,” said one of the students, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal.
“That’s not a good way to manage the business.
If I’m gonna be a health care practitioner and I want to diagnose an illness, I don’t want to get that prescription from a doctor who has a lot to lose.”
Another program, the Illinois Health Telehealth Network, offers a 24-hour hotline that telehealth users can call for assistance.
That service is operated by the Illinois Public Interest Research Group (IPIRG).
The Illinois telehealth network has a database of about 2,500 doctors, nurses, and others who have been trained in telehealth and are eligible to provide telehealth care.
Those professionals are trained to provide healthcare information to consumers through telehealth applications, and to administer telehealth programs to those who want to enroll in tele health programs.
Johnson added that the ITIA also is trying to increase the availability of tele health information through its Healthcare Access and Capacity Development (HACDC) program.
That program, launched in 2018, is designed to provide access to tele health services through a web-based portal and an online registration process.
While the ITAAAA is a member of the Health Access Network, it’s not involved in HACDC, Johnson noted, explaining that HACD is the state’s largest telehealth program and is managed jointly by the State Health Service Commission (SHSC) and the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (IDSF).
The IASA is also partnering with other stakeholders to create a framework for