WASHINGTON, April 30 (UPI) -- Full integration of telemedicine services is an essential element in establishing meaningful use of computerized medical records, U.S. officials say.
Jonathan Linkous, chief executive officer of the American Telemedicine Association, said electronic medical records and related health information technologies lead to greater provider and payer administrative efficiencies.
More importantly, electronic medical records are a vehicle for improving healthcare quality, increasing access and reducing costs, Linkous said.
"Electronic records and information technology systems mean little to the healthcare consumer if they aren't integrated into the delivery of actual patient services," Linkous said in a statement. "The government has its own definition, but for patients, 'meaningful use' means telemedicine."
A survey of healthcare consumers by Deloitte found 55 percent wanted to communicate with their doctors by e-mail, while 68 percent were interested in remote monitoring devices that allow self-monitoring of their condition and electronic reporting of results to their physician, Linkous said.