Website       Who We Are       HTRC Services       Funding       Billing & Reimbursement
July 2016     
HTRC's monthly telehealth bulletin

Heartland Telehealth Resource Center is here to meet your telehealth needs. We are a government-sponsored organization serving Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, with a wide range of services, and many of them are free. Email us at or call us at 877-643-HTRC.
mHealth's role in Missouri's war on melanoma

Melanoma is a deadly disease, but detecting it early saves lives. If treated early, melanoma  has a 5-year survival rate of 95%. Unfortunately, many people lack access to a dermatologist, making the early detection of melanoma challenging, but mHealth offers a solution.

Programs such as Show-Me-ECHO are making progress by using dermatology specialists to remotely train and mentor primary care providers in rural areas. After participating in the ECHO, providers are better equipped to screen and detect melanoma. A key component of Show-Me-ECHO is to have the specialist team review real-life case studies presented by the providers. This was challenging for the dermatology ECHO because unlike other ECHOs, the dermatology ECHO is reliant on photos but providers had no effective way of sharing de-identified photos with the ECHO team. To resolve this dilemma, Show-Me-ECHO has created the Dermatology ECHO App.

The app works by enabling providers to use their smartphones to take HIPPA compliant pictures of patients' skin conditions. The photos are automatically transferred to the secure Missouri Dermatology Image Database (MDID) where they can be accessed by the Missouri Telehealth Network and used as case studies in upcoming dermatology ECHOs.   

Want to learn more about Show-me ECHO from the comfort of your own office? Tune into the free Show-me ECHO 101 Webinar to learn everything you need to know about the ECHO program and participate in a Q&A with the Missouri Telehealth Network. The next webinar will be on July 21 from 12 noon - 1 p.m. 

On the third Thursday of every month the TRCs present a topic of current interest in telehealth. This month, leaders from the University of Mississippi Medical Center will discuss their Remote Patient Monitoring and diabetes project. 

August 8th  

This webinar is hosted by the Office of Primary Care & Rural Health, and will highlight a variety of resources available to rural health facilities. Janine Gracy, the project director for the Heartland Telehealth Resource Center will be a guest speaker. 

August 13 - 

Norman, Okla.


In the ever-evolving healthcare sector, change is around every bend. Navigate industry developments and learn what drives success in today's environment at the 5th annual EXPLORE Healthcare Summit. EXPLORE is a comprehensive, regional conference that provides medical professionals and administrators with valuable insight regarding the future of medicine.  With continuing education credits, insightful breakout sessions, nationally renowned keynote speakers and more, EXPLORE is an industry-leading event that you will not want to miss.


Introducing KanTel, telehealth advisory board in Kansas

Kansas telehealth has a new champion - a newly formed advisory group striving to make telehealth more accessible to residents and providers in the state.

The advisory board, known as KanTel, grew out of a need for telehealth experts and legislatures to work together towards improving telehealth adoption in Kansas. The group hopes to serve as a resource for government agencies and plans to advocate for telehealth legislation.

KanTel is a diverse group of legislators, hospital staff and other telemedicine related organizations from all regions of the state. The first priority of KanTel is to focus on achieving reimbursement and insurance parity, as well as connecting those interested in using telehealth via a web-based platform for collaboration.

The idea behind telehealth parity is that it puts telehealth reimbursement on an equal playing field with in-person reimbursement. Medicare already practices telehealth parity in all 50 states, but when it comes to private insurance, states are responsible for determining parity regulations. The majority of states now have telehealth parity laws, and if KanTel succeeds, Kansas may soon join this group.
Expansion of Telehealth to Allied Health Practices in Oklahoma 

Allied health professionals like speech language pathologists (SLP); occupational and physical therapists; and dietitians are increasingly incorporating telehealth into their practice. Last month, the Telehealth Alliance of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Chapter of HIMSS held an allied health forum to discuss the current status and barriers influencing telehealth adoption among these professionals.
"There are a number of opportunities for doctors and nurses to be reimbursed for their services over telehealth technology, said HTRC's Cynthia Scheideman-Miller, one of the event organizers, "but there are fewer opportunities for allied health professionals. Many services provided by allied health professionals can be provided remotely, with the right set up and training. The forum allowed open frank discussion as the beginning of the path to promote the utilization of telehealth in rural Oklahoma, where there is a shortage of some allied health services."
The group weighed the pros and cons of telemedicine for each of the specialty areas, identifying increased access, reduced travel time and improved continuity of care for patients as significant benefits. They agreed that telehealth can facilitate a seamless transition between providers and facilities. 


AMA taking steps to ensure quality of telemedicine startups

During last month's annual  American Medical Association (AMA) meeting, CEO James L. Madara, M.D. focused much of his keynote speech on emerging healthcare technologies and telemedicine.

"Today we have really remarkable tools - robotic surgery, new forms of radiation treatment, targeted biologics, and we live in a time of rapid development in the digital world - telemedicine as an example."

Madara went on to express skepticism over the rapid influx of telemedicine services. "Appearing in disguise among these positive products are other digital so-called advancements that don't have an appropriate evidence base, or just don't work that well - or actually impede care, confuse patients, and waste our time."

Madara called these products the "digital snake oil of the early 21st century."

While Madara's remarks will likely face criticism, some research is finding that not all telemedicine programs are created equal. A recently published study in  JAMA Dermatology demonstrated that some telemedicine programs are doing a poor job of accurately diagnosing dermatology patients. The Missouri Telehealth Network's Dr. Karen Edison was one of the researchers involved in the study.

The study involved 62, "secret shopper" dermatology cases spread out over 16 different telemedicine apps. The cases consisted of actors pretending to be patients, equipped with a fictional "medical history" and stock photos depicting their conditions.
Project ECHO

Project ECHO is a program using telemedicine to revolutionize medical education and improve access to specialty care. Project ECHO, which was developed by the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, works by connecting primary care clinicians with specialist teams via videoconference.  Each specialty area has its own ECHO, such as autism or chronic pain. ECHO teams meet regularly to hear cases from providers and make recommendations.

Heartland Telehealth Resource Center | | 
 4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway   Fairway, KS 66205