New ATA President Tuckson calls telehealth mainstream (video)

Newly installed American Telemedicine Association President Dr. Reed Tuckson wants to tell the world that telehealth is no longer just an adjunct technology on the fringes of the healthcare industry. “What we are doing is at the heart of America’s transformation in healthcare,” Tuckson said Tuesday in Los Angeles at the ATA’s annual meeting. “We […]

Newly installed American Telemedicine Association President Dr. Reed Tuckson wants to tell the world that telehealth is no longer just an adjunct technology on the fringes of the healthcare industry.

“What we are doing is at the heart of America’s transformation in healthcare,” Tuckson said Tuesday in Los Angeles at the ATA’s annual meeting. “We are celebrating that we are mainstream,” he said, adding, “We are not going to be on the periphery anymore. We are center core.”

Tuckson, a Sandy Springs, Ga.-based healthcare consultant and former, longtime chief of medical affairs for UnitedHealth Group, said that there will be 800,000 online consultations in the U.S. this year, and that is just one element of the world of telemedicine.

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In what effectively was his inaugural address, Tuckson outlined areas of focus for his one-year term as ATA president, saying, “We will be relentless on five things”:

  1. Promoting access to care through telemedicine, including pushing for expansion of broadband, addressing the persistent issue of interstate licensure of physicians and looking for ways to remove what Tuckson called “artificial practice barriers.”
  2. Value. “Obviously, value is the order of the day,” Tuckson said.
  3. Reimbursement. “We have to make the case for the ROI,” he said.
  4. Telemedicine assisting clinical trials. “We realize our field is becoming essential for the nation’s clinical research enterprise,” Tuckson said. He called this a tremendous business opportunity for telehealth companies.
  5. Engagement with the healthcare industry. “Your association will communicate relentlessly with every stakeholder,” Tuckson promised.

He discussed these ideas further in an interview with MedCity News soon after his address.