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Save Time, Money With Telehealth

posted by Brodie Dychinco, Cambia

on January 3, 2017

Most of us are familiar with the phrase “time is money.” It’s especially true for health care. While health care professionals, policymakers, and consumers may disagree on the intricacies of the health care industry, we can all agree that a patient’s time is valuable.

As the health care industry continues to adapt and strengthen the quality of services and patient experience, technology has become a great factor in making health care easier for people. With the introduction of telehealth, people have access to new ways of receiving care without ever leaving work, school, or their home. Telehealth doesn’t just save time spent traveling to and from an appointment or waiting in the doctor’s office, it also saves money – for patients and for the health care system.

The benefits of telehealth are reaching patients in rural areas and city dwellers as well. “Roughly 15 million people in the United States received health care that included telemedicine in 2014,” says Jonathan Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association. “That is expected to grow to an estimated 20 million this year.”

While work is underway to ensure more people nationwide have access to telehealth, a major hurdle to overcome is patient education. Most people don’t know that 70 percent of physician visits and 40 percent of hospital emergency room visits back in 2013 could have been handled by a phone call.

We need to share the benefits of telehealth. According to a survey, only 6 percent of patients who have used telehealth didn’t perceive any benefits over in-person visits. So, let’s be honest, a 94 percent success ratio is incredible and is better than most options when considering ways to deliver patient care.

According to a trend watch study conducted by the American Hospital Association:

  • 74 percent of U.S. consumers would use telehealth services;
  • 76 percent of patients prioritize access to care over the need for human interactions with their health care providers;
  • 70 percent of patients are comfortable communicating with their health care providers via text, e-mail or video, in lieu of seeing them in person; and
  • 30 percent of patients already use computers or mobile devices to check for medical or diagnostic information.

These data points may leave you scratching your head and wondering how you’ve never used or maybe even heard of telehealth before. That’s to be expected with something that has experienced massive growth in such a short amount of time. What’s important now is that you educate yourself. Businesses and individuals can check with their health insurance company to determine whether telehealth is right for them.

Brodie Dychinco is Cambia Health Solutions General Manager of Convenient Care.