The adoption of telemedicine offers a unique opportunity for insurance companies, or commercial payers, to deliver healthcare conveniently and inexpensively to their members, resulting in healthier and happier members. The increased speed of access along with better convenience also improves one’s perception of healthcare and increases knowledge and understanding. This in turn reduces the future burden on the healthcare system as patients become better able to manage their own healthcare. High deductible plans within the United States are helping to drive adoption.
In addition, telemedicine allows patients with chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure, diabetes, hypertension and mental health conditions to be monitored remotely. The subsequent reduction in demand on the in-patient healthcare system will allow insurance companies to better invest in emerging technologies for healthcare; increasing efficiency and capacity. It will also allow companies to provide the same level of care to all their members while reducing staffing costs. Additional benefits could include providing 24-hour access-to-care for people with mobility issues and for those in remote locations.
The ROI for companies willing to proactively adopt telemedicine for their members as well as for their employees is substantial. Its use will dramatically change, for the better, the way healthcare is viewed and consumed.
Improved Access to Primary & Specialty Care
Patients in rural or remote areas benefit from quicker and more convenient specialist access. In the U.S., for every 100,000 rural patients, there are only 43 specialists available. These patients endure longer appointment commutes and have trouble accessing lifesaving consultations for specific diseases or chronic care plans. Telemedicine offers better access to more specialists. You can refer your patients to the specific physicians they need, regardless of location.
Increased Patient Engagement
When patients are committed to their own healthcare goals, it leads to lower costs and improved health. Engaging your patients through telemedicine can help them maintain appointments and care schedules. Increased engagement initiatives can also curb obesity rates and tobacco use by helping you to encourage your patients’ healthy lifestyle choices. Not only do virtual visits reassure patients that their doctors are available and involved in their care, it makes it much easier for them to reach out with questions, report early warning signs, and make a follow-up appointment to make sure they’re on track. Telemedicine offers patient-centered approaches, such as improved timeliness of care. This is critical to quality patient care. Patients can address healthcare issues quickly with real-time urgent care consultations and learn about treatment options within minutes. A new study shows that telemedicine patients score lower for depression, anxiety, and stress, and have 38% fewer hospital admissions.