Nebraska looking at ways to encourage telehealth services

From the Observer:

Nebraska lawmakers are once again looking for ways to expand so-called telehealth services throughout the state to address a shortage of specialized health care providers and an aging rural population.

Telehealth services are flourishing nationwide, allowing doctors and patients to connect through webcams and smartphones. But advocates say the technology still faces substantial obstacles that have kept it from spreading faster in Nebraska.

One senator has launched a legislative study of the technology that will begin in earnest later this month. Sen. Merv Riepe of Ralston said he wants to learn how other states are adopting the technology and what Nebraska can do to make it easier, safer and more effective.

The unanswered questions include how doctors are reimbursed when using telehealth, the cost of using the technology and liability when something goes wrong.

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