Modern healthcare can spark furious debates when it comes to chronic disease treatment, congressional bills or care delivery models. But almost everyone agrees on one thing: our current system has severe problems. According to a Gallup poll, 70 percent of Americans say healthcare “is in a state of crisis.”
Many patients lack access to care. Medical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy. Providers are so burned out by exhaustive documentation requirements that they have little time to focus on their patients. Hospitals are pressured to improve care outcomes while lowering operational costs.
That’s why we wrote our new ebook: “Why Telemedicine, Why Now?” to explain why so many patients and providers are turning to telehealth for relief from an overstressed, under-delivering system.
The Rapid Rise of Virtual Health
Telemedicine is expanding. Virtual care services have grown by 44 percent over the past five years, with a total market revenue of $2 billion in 2018.
The demand is likely to skyrocket. Millennial and Generation Z patients are seeking providers who offer virtual services. At the other generational end, the “graying of America” means United States will have 78 million people who are 65 and older by 2035 – outnumbering children. Demographic studies suggest Europe’s economy will slide into crisis as its workforce shrinks and the elderly demand more expensive health care services. Elderly patients often find it difficult to attend in-office appointments but need frequent care, which makes virtual health a convenient delivery model to care for them.
These are just a few of the dynamics and challenges our white paper examines. It also traces the clinical evolution of the telehealth industry and demonstrates telemedicine’s advantages such as:
- Bringing medical expertise to underserved communities
- Fostering collaboration and deeper insights across the continuum of care
- Smarter capacity management
- Reducing healthcare’s carbon footprint
- Better chronic disease management
- And more
Reducing the Financial Burden of Healthcare
“Why Telemedicine, Why Now?” also takes a critical look at healthcare costs and the ways telemedicine can alleviate the current burden shouldered by providers, patients and payers. U.S. healthcare spending reached $3.5 trillion in 2017 – and Americans paid $365.5 billion out of pocket.
Those are extreme numbers. But telemedicine can lower patient spending, reduce healthcare costs and drive provider revenue in many ways, such as:
- Reducing no-show appointments
- Eliminating patient childcare and transportation costs for appointments
- Boosting downstream referrals, patient retention and patient acquisition
- Helping oversaturated or dispersed clinics see more patients
- Reducing the need for medical air transport, which can run $25,000 or more per flight
Embracing the Inevitable
Once or twice a week at GlobalMed we hear another customer story of how telehealth has opened the door to more accessible and cost-effective care. Sometimes a private practice clinician lets us know telemedicine has boosted her productivity and lets her spend more time with her family at night. Other times we hear about a patient who received life-changing immediate care after a stroke or heart attack. Last week it was a group of specialty providers who are now able to bring focused expertise to rural areas with provider shortages.
There’s no doubt that telemedicine has changed the world of healthcare. That’s going to continue.
As our CTO Shannon Murphy said recently, “I believe we won’t recognize healthcare delivery in 10 years.” This is telemedicine’s moment and we’re proud to be on the front lines.