Legislatively the use of telemedicine may move forward since New York State Senator Sue Serino www.nysenate.gov/senators/sue-serino sponsored a bill passed in March in the N.Y. Senate with the potential to dramatically increase access to healthcare for seniors living in senior living residences.
Currently in New York, patients must be located at licensed facilities when they receive telehealth and/or telemedicine services but specifically leaves out senior living facilities. State Senator Serino’s bill (S 4285) amends the public health law to add assisted living facilities, adult homes, continuing care retirement communities, and other senior living facilities within the state to ensure that individuals in those facilities have access to telehealth services.
In addition, at the University of Buffalo (UAB) www.buffalo.edu, researchers are collaborating with the University of Kansas Medical Center www.kumc.edu on a $1.9 million grant from NIH www.nih.gov to test a family-based treatment for childhood obesity using innovative technologies to include telemedicine.
Mark S. Faith Associate Chair of the Department of Counseling at the School of Educational Psychology at UAB along with other researchers, will test a family-based treatment for childhood obesity using innovative technology to allow study participants to be treated in their homes.
The five year study involves 144 rural families and includes second to fourth grade children living in rural Kansas. The trial will use telemedicine and cyberspace to link children and their families to treatment they would normally receive in an office or in school.
Children participating must be overweight or obese, with a body mass index falling between the 85th and 99th percentile. Each family receives about 25 hours of intervention over eight months including 14 technology sessions, behavioral assignments, and accompanying homework.
The study will also include quality control for a comparison group which will receive similar information, newsletters, and other instructions on healthy behavioral changes, such as how to make smart shopping decisions and how to be active during the day.