Telemedicine: The Answer to Many of Health Care’s Current Questions
July 10, 2018
At WeCounsel, we believe telehealth solutions and telemedicine software platforms are the future of health care in many ways. As it turns out, we’re not the only ones with this mindset. According to The Wall Street Journal, telemedicine products provide more than just additional benefits. They’re changing the game completely.
If you’ve been paying attention to the health care industry in recent years you’re probably familiar with the rising costs, long wait times, and general inefficiencies associated with many areas of it. While these are all things the telemedicine software platforms help to alleviate, there is more to it than everyday inconveniences.
Telemedicine software platforms are also helping programs like Doctors Without Borders provide valuable assistance to people in places like Nigeria and South Sudan where health care conditions are sparse.
As the article points out, these new innovative techniques are being utilized right here in our own country as well. Many health care systems are adopting “hospitals without beds” type scenarios where they can provide remote support for intensive-care units, emergency rooms, and other programs. In one of these such programs, they saw a 35% decrease in patients’ average length of stay and 30% fewer deaths than anticipated.
“It’s almost like being at the bedside—I can’t shock a patient [restart his heart with electrical paddles], but I can give an order to the nurses there,” says Vinaya Sermadevi, a critical-care specialist.
It’s no surprise then that telehealth devices and services are expected to reach $4.5 billion in 2018 globally, up from $440.6 million in 2013. The number of patients using telehealth software platforms is expected to grow to seven million in 2018, up from 350,000 in 2013.
Despite all the benefits and positive outlook, telehealth technologies still have a ways to go before becoming universally accepted among the masses and healthcare professionals. The article also cites a survey of 500 tech-savvy consumers by HealthMine, which found that 39% of people had never heard of telemedicine, and of those who haven’t used it, 42% said they preferred in-person doctor visits. In another poll of 1,500 family doctors, only 15% had used it in their practices. Fortunately, 90% said they would it if were appropriately reimbursed.
It should come as no surprise that most healthcare professionals would be open to new innovations and advancements, especially when it comes to costs. It is estimated that telemedicine platforms could potentially deliver more than $6 billion a year in healthcare savings to U.S. companies.
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