Telemedicine of the Future

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A closer look at telemedicine a largely untapped healthcare strategy

 

Between the lower overall health costs, reduced absenteeism and time away from work, the benefits of telemedicine are immense.

Telemedicine Essentially is when healthcare providers, use electronic communications to diagnose and treat patients via electronic communications.

 

These electronic communications come in a variety of formats such as, photos, text message, phone calls, videos, specialized apps and a number of other tools to facilitate electronic communication between a patient and a doctor.

While telemedicine isn’t a new approach, it has gained a lot traction in the last half decade for a variety of reasons.

One of the biggest obstacles to telemedicine in the past was the fact that most states didn’t require insurance companies to cover the option. Presently, private insurers in about 22 States and the District of Columbia are required to cover this option in the same way they cover in-person healthcare visits.

 

Improved technology and access has made this practice much more efficient and effective, and gives one a sense of why this strategy is becoming more popular with employers today.

How popular? According to National Telemedicine Service Amwell, around 20% currently offer telemedicine services, and more than 60% said they will be doing so within the next two years.

 

A number of significant telemedicine benefits does translates to other positives such as :

* Reduced absenteeism (employees aren’t missing work for appointments and tests),

* Fewer hospital stays and admissions,

* A decrease travel time to and from doctor’s visits,

* Increased appointment compliance (workers are more likely to stick to telemedicine appointments then in-person visits) and

* A prime selling point: The low cost for employees and employers.

According to an Amwell’s Executive, here’s how charges of an average telemedicine visit compares to other traditional medical visit.

* $95 to $140 per visit (average charge for urgent-care clinic visit)

* $750 and up (average charge for ER visit), and

* $49 (average charge for telemedicine visit).

 

The present crusade in the national healthcare industry to control and cut cost, coupled with the concern for quality not been compromise, telemedicine while holding great hope in the delivery of services for the future still faces it challenges.

 

Whats The Difference Between Telemedicine And Telehealth

 

With the interrelated fields of mobile health, digital health, health IT, telemedicine all constantly changing with new developments, it’s sometimes difficult to pin down a definition for these terms. In much of the healthcare industry, the terms “telehealth” and “telemedicine” are often used interchangeably.

Telehealth may involve more general health services, like public health services, whereas telemedicine is a specific kind of telehealth that involves a clinician providing some kind of medical services.

 

Here are a couple quick examples:

Telehealth:

*A public health app that alerts the public of a disease outbreak

*A video-conferencing platform for medical education

Telemedicine:

* A mobile app that lets physicians treat their patients remotely via video-chat

*A software solution that lets primary care providers send patient photos of a rash or mole to a dermatologist at another location for quick diagnosis

 

As the field of telehealth continues to expand and change, these terms are likely to change and encompass even more health services.

 

Article Courtesy: HRbenefitsalert.com
By Jared Bilski

 

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