Technology is transforming lives - health care reform is transforming medicine. Telemedicine can help achieve the triple aim by harnessing technology to deliver new models of healthcare. Technology and telemedicine is rapidly evolving. From e-mail and internet, we incorporated electronic health records enabling PHI to be shared securely globally. E-prescribing and patient-provider communication portals improve patient care and provider engagement. Video visits enable virtual consultations. Remote surgeries, tele-monitoring of cardiac vital signs, community-based wearable technology and smartphone apps exemplify the evolving role of technology in medicine. Telemedicine confers opportunities for healthcare consumers and providers to transform PM&R practice. Navigating telemedicine possibilities within PM&R requires knowledge of current technology and insights to the future of this field. As healthcare systems explore telemedicine opportunities, PM&R needs to align to innovate the delivery of services. Physiatrists require training in the use and application of health care technology and developing CME is essential for PM&R Residents and Attendings. Telemedicine medico-legal concerns and billing issues must be addressed. Physiatrists must justify the cost of new technologies. Novel research opportunities exist to support the transformative opportunities within telemedicine. And new career opportunities open within telemedicine for technologically-oriented Physiatrists.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the transformative potential telemedicine can have on current and future PM&R practice and appreciate the existing and future challenges to developing and integrating a PM&R telemedicine practice.
  • Develop a dialogue between Physiatry and Departmental / Hospital Leadership to support telemedicine integration into Physiatric practice while understanding budgetary, billing and medico-legal implications of a telemedicine practice.
  • Integrate telemedicine education and training into PMR Residency and Physiatric continuing education including career opportunities in PM&R telemedicine and outline research opportunities for PM&R in telemedicine.