How exactly Telemedicine can help patients & save $6bn per year?

The term “telemedicine” is used for the practice that allows doctors and patients have an appointment via a computer or phone. Such meetings usually take place via online messengers such as Skype.

It’s widely believed that the opportunity of meeting doctors for virtual consultations will be expanding access to proper healthcare and make services cheaper for patients.

Virtual care is not only a game changer for individuals who struggle to get access to proper healthcare, but according to experts it also helps in reducing emergency room costs for the healthcare providers. This is because it allows doctors to see more patients in a given period of time. What’s more, through telemedicine, physicians can also provide individuals in need of long-term medical assistance with comprehensive home care remotely without any hitch.

The chairperson of University of Pittsburgh Schools of Health Sciences’ department of neurology Dr. Lawrence R. Wechsler said that he believes that telemedicine can be extremely helpful in treating stroke. Dr. Wechsler is the VP of telemedicine services. This method will allow patients to get connected to expert physicians sitting several miles away from the hospital in his or her area and receive the right treatment within minutes. As we all know, timely interventions might reduce the chances of developing stroke-induced disabilities significantly.

You can reduce your insurance costs by opting for telemedicine. According to estimates offered by Towers Watson, a human resources consultancy, using telemedicine will allow companies buying coverage for their employees to save as much as $6 billion per year.

You must be wondering whether these virtual healthcare services are sustainable. Experts have already urged the US states to tag telemedicine as a reimbursable healthcare service for making it a sustainable model.

Matt Levi, the director of CHI Franciscan’s virtual health services, informed that a large share of the services offered by them has held back slightly due to insufficient reimbursement. CHI Franciscan has been offering telemedicine services since the past few years.

Recent reports suggest that while many insurers and healthcare providers are encouraging people to use video consultations for getting the right treatment from expert doctors, there are traditional corners in the medical world where telemedicine is facing serious pushback.

However, the good news is that the number of healthcare providers offering telemedicine services is increasing at a pretty healthy rate. What’s more fascinating is that these services are becoming accessible to both rural and urban populations.


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  • I live in a country where you see a pharmacist for minor illnesses, and can buy antibiotics for about $1. It’s America’s nanny state approach to medicine that makes it so expensive.

  • You know, the logic of telemedicine sounds good, but as a health care reviewer – telemedicine is often, MORE expensive when it comes to speciality care. And I know there have been efforts to come up with standards, for example for resolution of transmission image, and that is not usually by Skype. It would be nice were that the case, but my experience is that it providers specializing in telemed are more expensive not less. Also, there remains a huge segment of the medical establishment that is resisitive to telemedicine – at least in psychiatry and I’d bet in other areas, unless this is a for-profit. Even with the recovery act Meaningful Use incentives (and pentalities for those who don’t go electronic), many small providers are lagging. Some haven’t sought a way of receiving messages from their patients.
    This is all contrary to logic – for it should be less expensive for the service, and more lucrative for the provider to do telemed, because s/he can bill for more patient contacts in a given period of time.
    But you also have many who have concerns, both real and imagined, about the medical-legal issues relates to accuracy of diagnosis and risk for malpractice suit when the inevitable medical mishap occurs. There is no doubt that in vivo exams are, in court, the gold standard for quality of care.
    There is hope on the horizon, but it’s not all here right now. Not just as easy as turning on the computer.
    Heck, many providers struggle with electronic health record implementation.