We Need Your Insights on Telehealth and Telemedicine

October 11, 2016 • By

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Last Updated: August 19, 2021

60thblog-oct-11What is the National Disability Forum?

The National Disability Forum is an open conversation where members of the public, community leaders, and Social Security employees come together to talk about the disability programs. Social Security uses these meetings to listen to you and your community leaders so we can learn what’s important to you.

Your input is important to Social Security. We use what we learn from you and your community to improve our rules and policies to help people with disabilities. The National Disability Forum does not replace Social Security’s normal rule-making process, but it does help us hear from you before we make any new rules. Learn more about the National Disability Forum here.

Our Next National Disability Forum will Focus on Telehealth and Telemedicine

Telehealth includes a variety of ways to use video and other technology to enhance healthcare and related information delivery.  Telemedicine involves clinical services provided by interactive communication, most commonly a video, between a patient and a practitioner at different locations.

We want to learn more about telehealth and telemedicine to determine if there are ways to use them to advance our disability programs.

What can you do?

You can help us by considering the following questions:

  • How can we use telemedicine or telehealth in the claims procedure to better serve individuals with disabilities?
  • How can telemedicine or telehealth help speed our decision-making process at all levels?
  • How else might we use telemedicine or telehealth to improve the administration of our programs, and what factors should we consider?

You can share your insights on these question by posting right here on our blog or at our IdeaScale online tool, or by registering to attend the forum on October 27. Social Security is here to help secure today and tomorrow, and together we can strengthen our disability programs.


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About the Author

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications


  1. Yinnie J.

    I not sure I understand this too well and don’t know if the software I’m running will handle it what I don’t know is up to a year ago I was still driving and had no problem getting to my Drs. I don’t drive anymore and am disabled and transportation is about nil, thank goodness my Drs.and hospital are not more than 2 miles except for 2 that are 20 miles where I used to live And I pay $20.00 per hour when I have to see them. I’m sure there will be a lot of changes after elections no matter who wins I pray we can all live through it.

  2. Tanja M.

    My psychiatrist and I use a combination of phone calls, via mobile cell phones, texts, emails and face-to-face office visits to communicate with each other. This has been very beneficial, to me as a client, and, I imagine, it makes my doctor’s job easier, due to the fact that she doesn’t have to try to work me into her appointment schedule. I was a regular client, using office-only visits, for several years prior to our current telehealth arrangement. When my husband’s work, in the construction industry, made moving from one side of the state, where we lived at that time, to other side, we had to travel for 3 hours to get to her office and often drove even longer to get back to our home. When he went to work out of state, I asked if telehealth was a possibility and we developed our current arrangement. Which has worked well for us, especially now, because we recently relocated to another state, have moved twice in 4 months, and trying to find a local psychiatrist with openings for new patients means getting on a waiting list, and we might have moved on by the time my name comes up, given my husband’s field of employment. But, I was an established client. I can’t guarantee our arrangement would work for everyone, clients or doctors, and we had a great rapport with one another before we started talking and texting each other.

  3. Cecilia h.

    I believe that telemedicine consultations are more effective. The information the patient is giving the dr. Is entered into the system immediately which is something i realky liked. Any errors can be corrected as well.very quickly.i have had several of these treatment consultations and they are just as effective as a face to face one thank you.

  4. Mike M.

    Telemedicine & telehealth has its efficiencies, but I think it must also be used rationally and with foresight to avoid its usage and fraud by EITHER a patient OR a prescribing doctor. A telephonic diagnosis is based solely on explanation by the patient and not a physical examination of the patient, which makes the medical evaluation subject to fraud & abuse. I think an elaborate plan should be devised to avoid such misuse & abuse by both parties (doctors & patients). The plan should include the specific types of diagnoses or procedures that would be accepted for telemedicine appraisal. The plan should start with minimal procedure appraisals, and strategy should be periodically re-evaluated for quality of appraisal and quality of procedure result, until the next phase of rollout (additional procedure appraisals, etc.,) would be added to the list of “acceptable telemedicine appraisal types).

  5. Christopher G.

    At every turn, please keep in mind The Great Ball Of Data. It only exists in theory…but the closer to reality it becomes, the more reliable and more effective becomes any task that relies on stored data. There should be ONE Great Ball of Data, and if at any point a system requires a user to re-enter a name, a number, doctors info, prescriptions, diagnoses…that act creates a SECOND COPY of the data, unconnected to the great ball, and by introducing another opportunity for data to be mis-spelled or entered incorrectly, is the acid that eats away at the integrity of the data. PLEASE, look for opportunities to save people the trouble and risk of re-entering information that’s already online — LINK to the EXISTING DATA whenever possible, and make sure that systems do this BY DEFAULT.

    YES we must be mindful of privacy issues, yes, if medical information is online it’s at risk of being stolen, and yes, if there’s one great ball of data that means the whole thing can be hacked. So, let’s work on security practices (teaching people good password habits is far & away the most effective), and on systemic data-redundancy. But we shouldn’t confuse the two (data privacy vs data integrity) as related issues.

    This is ALL magic. I LOVE magic. We must practice being responsible magicians. Keep up the great work!

  6. P W.

    19th century thoughts are not needed as the future is in your children’s children who will probably readily endorse the digital age. Speaking of Affordable Care, it was passed by Congress and everyone should read the whole Act before commenting. Its unfortunate that there are people who have not planned for long term illness nor expected to be in situations outlined in prior posts , as well as those who choose to live in rural areas. However. you cannot blame the SS administration for poor outcomes as a result of your benefits. The newer generations to come will eventually figure out the best route. After all is said and done, the future looks bright and there are more and more people reaching 100 years of age due to modern medicine.

  7. Becky L.

    If there were more incentives for doctors to do more with less, this might address the poly-pharmacy issues.

  8. Becky L.

    The New Hour on PBS ran a special on Polypharmacy


    Doctors are over prescribing trying to get their cut or increase revenue in many cases, regardless of the customers needs. This needs to somehow be monitored better than it is by insurance companies if doctors are not going to reign themselves in on this issue.

  9. Elisa


  10. Dragonldy

    Have seen where some private /employees insurance companies offering this for insured. Cost is higher $49.00 I know for my husbands company.
    As a former medical professional, I have many serious concerns about this feature. 1st, you have an UNKNOWN PATIENT being treated by ” subjective ” information thereby putting the licence MD. at an incresed risk & I am HIGHLY AGAINST THIS! The system needs COMMON SENSE CHANGES! You have people that are not able to get the medication they need due you cost, OR, limits placed, & reality is WE CAN’T TAKE OTHER MEDS YOU WANT US TO AS ALLERGIC, CANNOT AFFORD WHAT WORKS, & THEN have to see specialist every 3 months, even though they cannot do anything else for us, YET, WE have to pay ANOTHER CO-PAY because of mismanagement in past. There are Dr.so, that STILL try to get away with fraud -(I personally call them out & report it). The idea is OK, BUT NOT REALISTIC, SAFE, HAS ADDITIONAL COST THAT WE CANNOT AFFORD!
    Hands on is a must!, you cannot hear breath sounds, get accurate information (asthma, pneumonia),should individual have infection (strep, ear, utility etc.), YOU CANNOT SEE , IF issues with cardiac output, ( CHF, pedal edema, urine output), & depending on areas ability to not only access the service, but I too concerned about computer understanding, additional cost, and security.
    What about the people who have vision, dexterity issues? Unfortunately, the day of home visits by Dr. gone, yet this “FEATURE” putting the physician at risk for “missing” issue that would be observed OBJECTIVELY and addressed.
    This plan relies on too much “SUBJECTIVE ” information, MD CANNOT THROUGHLY ASSESS THE PATIENT & I FEEL THAT HOME VISITS BE BETTER for the patient and the system! Technology was not something we were raised with, WE WERE RAISED WITH COMMON SENSE!
    HIGHLY AGAINST THIS AS I FEEL THAT THE PATIENT IS NOT THOROUGHLY ASSESSED as NO HANDS ON, BUT, what the patient feels is the URGENT CONCERN addressed, BUT, the subtle beginning Signs & Symptoms of SEVERE LIFE THREATENING ISSUES TOO HIGH RISK to place on DR. / Patient.
    We need Dr’s.that do not have their hands tied by the system on medication, treatments, have the ability to provide the care, medication each patient requires & HOME VISITS!

    • Elisa

      Dragonldy, I agree with everything you have said. Couldn’t have done or said it better myself. I worked as an Coder/Insurance specialist, before coming disabled. There is no way a doctor can assess a patient and get 3 out of 5 needed issues covered over the net. I see mal-pact. wrote all over this ideal.

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