Telehealth: The Future of Health Care
In the midst of a global pandemic, millions of people have experienced telehealth with a virtual exam for the first time this year. Health care delivery is big business, and telemedicine offers more than a safe and convenient experience for patients. Liberty Advisor Group reviews how at its core, telehealth is a rewarding resource utilization play.
Health care delivery is big business, and telemedicine offers more than a safe and convenient experience for patients
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In April of 2020, Forrester estimated that over 1 billion telehealth virtual “visits” would be completed by the end of the year, with 900 million or more directly tied to the fight against COVID-19. Additionally, the paradigm shift is expected to grow past the point of crisis to the tune of $155B by the year 2027 (Grand View Research).
For quick consults, follow-ups, and visual screenings, virtual exams make sense. Patients can schedule their appointments with more flexibility and save the trip (and all the waiting) of an office visit, and health care providers can see more patients in the same amount of time, without possible exposure to COVID-19. Since doctor payroll is usually fixed, optimizing the doctor’s time and completing more exams per day reduces the overall cost per exam.
When a telehealth platform is in place, especially one with on-demand resource matching capabilities, doctors can be cross-utilized between locations or expand vital access to care in locations and times that were not previously possible.
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One historical challenge to remote medicine’s success has been a lack of standardization in the industry. To all of our benefits, a consortium of technologists, software companies, equipment manufacturers, insurers, etc. (largely all unaffiliated) are working toward a common goal to integrate together, drastically reducing the barriers to entry.
On the technology front, telehealth no longer requires breakthrough invention and is mostly an integration effort of commercially available technology.
We also see much greater acceptance by patients and doctors alike because of a shift in behavior associated with the COVID-19 outbreak.
The climate ahead is unpredictable, but we can get into position to ride the next wave. Patients and consumers alike will continue to seek out convenience and demand more, and our challenge is to harness that change behind the scenes to grow the bottom line.
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