California health leaders and lawmakers said a bill recently signed into law will launch the state into a new phase of high tech health care.
California doctors can already connect to patients remotely through video conferencing, email or phone calls. But sponsors of the Telehealth Advancement Act of 2011 say the new law will remove barriers to health technology.
Steve Barrow of the California State Rural Health Association says that could save lives. “Many types of cancers and other types of illnesses now can be quickly gotten to within a very short amount of time with telehealth when a face to face is not available to that patient,” said Barrow.
Starting next year, the new law will eliminate paperwork, expand definitions and allow for easier medical reimbursements for telehealth.
Co-author of the bill, Democratic Assemblymember and Doctor Richard Pan says state regulation needed to be brought up to date with health innovation. “We are now removing those barriers to sustaining those types of advances that we are making here in California to improve the quality of care,” said Pan.
Supporters say the new law will create thousands of jobs and save Medi-Cal more than a billion dollars a year.