You have no doubt heard about telemedicine, also called telehealth, in the news lately. But how much do you really know about this healthcare delivery option? We first discussed telemedicine as an option for self-insured employers in our Feb. 2015 issue. In this issue, we share why it continues to be a popular healthcare trend with no signs of slowing down:
- According to the American Telemedicine Association, 15 million people used telemedicine in 2014, up 50% from the year before. Convenience, innovation and offering a personalized health care experience are three key reasons the association claims it is gaining popularity among today’s consumers.
- An online survey of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers was conducted by the Harris Poll in 2015 on behalf of American Well®, a telehealth company. The survey discovered that 64 percent of Americans are willing to have doctor visits via video telehealth. The researchers found that consumers believed that live video visits were more accurate than phone or email alone.
- It has been shown that telemedicine can be especially effective in managing patients with chronic conditions, which often require daily monitoring and management interventions.
- Healthcare reform is driving advancements in telemedicine, according to a survey conducted in 2014. The survey summary said that because of the shift in financial and payment incentives under the ACA, providers are taking on more responsibility and greater share of the risk for keeping their patients healthy. This means that both providers and employers are rewarded when they have a healthcare delivery option, such as telemedicine, that is both cost-effective and provides more patient engagement. Studies show that when consumers have multiple touchpoints and higher engagement with their doctors, they report higher patient satisfaction.
- In recent years, retail clinics like Walgreens’ Take Care clinic and CVS’ Minute Clinic, have been incorporating telemedicine into their menu of services. In 2011, as part of a pilot program, Rite Aid was the first of its type to offer telemedicine for their retail health clinics. Walgreens has since bought out Rite Aid in 2015. The increased usage of these clinics and telemedicine are showing that consumers are willing to use non-traditional health care delivery options if it means they can receive quality care while saving money.
If you are interested in discussing telemedicine as a health care option for your company or client, contact your Pinnacle account manager today!