Telemedicine Trends to Watch for in 2018

December 18, 2017

Telemedicine, implemented in the 1990’s, continues to change the way health services are delivered. This is not surprising when telemedicine has proven that it brings high quality and mobile solutions to rural areas where such care can be scarce. It overcomes the challenges of medical staff shortages, geographical distance between doctor and patient, and improves the patient’s access to timely care by the right provider.

Telemedicine has already changed the health care landscape, and will continue to do so in 2018.

Telemedicine will have an Explosive Growth

The telemedicine services field is positioned to grow very rapidly, with an anticipated 7 million patient users. The global telemedicine market is also anticipated to show rapid growth.

Large Employers’ Acceptance of Telemedicine

  • In a recent Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey, 96% of all large employers will make telehealth services available in states where it is allowed.
  • 56% plan to offer telehealth for behavioral health services.
  • Telehealth utilization is rising, with nearly 20% of employers seeing employee utilization of 8% or higher.

Telemedicine is Improving ROI

  • Helps lower costs associated with non-emergent emergency department utilization.
  • Reducing fragmentation by preserving primary care relationships, or establishing new ones.
  • Telehealth replaces higher-cost care settings, primarily urgent care and emergency rooms. The net cost savings are about $200 per visit.

Telehealth Recognized as an Employee Perk

  • In a time when employee health benefits are being cut, employees see telemedicine as an added modern and convenient health care benefit.

Positive Impact on Patients and Health Care Organizations

  • Providing health care to rural areas reduced 30-day hospital readmission rates by 40% for patients with heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, stroke, and joint replacement at the University of Virginia (UVA).
  • Provides an easier way to provide follow-up care for many patients.

Behavioral and Mental Health Services Need Only a Therapist and a Camera

  • Providing a simple telehealth platform to extend counseling programs to consumers hundreds of miles from the nearest clinic.
  • Connecting with remote patients still requires HIPAA compliance standards be maintained by telemedicine companies.

Urban ER Services Programs Can Save Money

  • Telemedicine is providing an 80% reduction in unnecessary emergency visits in major metropolitan areas.

Convenience, Convenience… Did I Mention Convenience?

  • People in major metropolitan areas find it difficult to fit a doctor’s office visit into their busy schedules. Whether it is because they can’t take time off from work, struggle with child care, picking the kids up from athletic practice, or other reasons, telehealth services are being used more frequently in populated areas.

Fewer Emergency Room Visits

  • By providing easier access to care, patients get treatable ailments addressed before they progress to the point of requiring an ER visit in both rural and urban areas.

Promotes Better Partnerships Between Patients and Health Care Providers

  • Providers can reach out to patients to offer reminders and assistance, creating a true partnership in health care.

Better Staffing Practices and Cost Savings

  • Health care providers can offer specialists, 24/7/365 through telemedicine for a fraction of the cost of having a live doctor on site. This is because the hourly cost of the telemedicine physician is spread out over several hospitals.

Parents are Watching and Participating More and More

  • 64% of those surveyed say they plan to use telemedicine within the next year for common childhood conditions such as fever and respiratory ailments, and well-child visits.
  • Parents awareness of telemedicine services has increased by 88%.
  • Parents are willing to use telemedicine to handle routine visits or preliminary care, saving the parent a potentially unnecessary trip to the doctor’s office or ER.

Awareness of Telemedicine is Increasing, and So is Use

  • Use of online doctors’ visits has grown by 125%, and is expected to continue to rise.

Can Telemedicine Benefit You?

Getting patients to feel comfortable with telemedicine is a behavioral change. As more patients become aware of the benefits of telemedicine, they are adopting it into their lifestyle. It is becoming clear that a good part of health care services can, and will be rendered using technology instead of a face-to-face office or ER visit. This change is occurring now in medicine, just as it already has done in retail, finance, and entertainment.

If you are a hospital or other health care facility, and would like to know more about telemedicine, contact TeleMed2U at 855-446-TM2U (8628) for more information.