Lawmakers at the State House heard testimony on a bill Wednesday that would pave the way for an expansion of telemedicine in New Hampshire.
Senate bill 258 would add primary care physicians and pediatricians to the list of doctors in New Hampshire who can bill Medicaid and private insurers for telemedicine.
Pediatrician Kristin Johnson told a committee of House lawmakers that she's already had success launching a telemedicine program in collaboration with a school nurse in Exeter. She even gave the lawmakers a demonstration of the technology that allows her to examine patients from afar.
“It's very simple, just put the end on and you stick it in your ear and it walks you through how to get a good ear exam on your child or on yourself,” said Johnson. “It's amazing.”
Telemedicine—connecting patients and doctors through video conferencing—is a fast-growing trend in health care.
Dr. Kevin Curtis, who oversees telemedicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, says they've conducted roughly 25,000 telemedicine visits since their program launched in 2012. He says he expects that number to continue to grow exponentially.
“Right now we are at that steep part of the curve where it is exploding,” said Curtis.
The bill has so far encountered little opposition at the State House.