The Impact of Virtual Doctor Visits and Telemedicine
One area of great impact for electronic collaboration is the market of eHealth, or telemedicine. As the digital revolution upends dozens of traditional business models and market segments, from publishing to transportation to banking, it now sets its sights on transforming the way we receive our health care.
It seems the whole industry is trying to figure out ways to reduce costs while simultaneously increasing the level of care. Electronic collaboration is a major component to most eHealth roll-outs, and may have the most immediate impact on both costs and patient well-being.
Compunetix videoconferencing Sales Manager, Antonio Capodieci and his telemedicine point-man, Account Manager, Alvaro Cruz, were recently quoted in a TribLive article on this very subject. The article, “Do virtual doctor visits save you money?” by Trib writer Ben Schmitt, explores this very issue involving costs and overall patient care. Both Antonio and Alvaro work with Compunetix customers to deliver videoconferencing-based telemedicine solutions, based on the EVERGREEN MCU.
The Trib article highlighted local reaction to a study published recently in the medical journal Health Affairs. This study, which drew some conclusions from a RAND study that looked at data from a pool of 300,000 patients in CA over a two-year period, determined that the costs of care delivered via telemedicine were much lower on a per-session basis. However, it also concluded that the convenience of telemedicine services resulted in an increase in usage, possibly inflating costs.
Obviously, this has sparked some discussion within the industry. If the per-session costs are less, and the ease of use convinces more people to accept care, isn’t that a worthwhile goal? However, it must also be noted that the increased number of sessions overall can result in rising healthcare costs over time.
How do you feel about where these new trends in healthcare delivery are leading us?