You may be asking yourself: Telemedicine? What’s telemedicine?
Telemedicine is any “medicine” done via “tele”communications technology − a phone, a webcam, etc. Simply put, it’s diagnosing and treating patients remotely.
As such, telemedicine or telehealth has been happening for years. It’s not really a different kind of health care, it’s just delivered in a different way than in person.
In the past, telemedicine may have been as simple as calling your doctor to listen to your cough. You can still do that of course, but these days, sophisticated telemedicine programs offer things like 24/7/365 access to board-certified doctors from anywhere in the world, prescriptions, medical record management, and more.
According to Troy Parks of the American Medical Association, “Telemedicine can speed diagnoses, increase access to care for remote populations, reduce health care costs and even relieve physician shortages.”
Parks recently covered the 2017 AMA State Legislative Strategy Conference, which brought together experts to discuss the future of telemedicine, and found several emerging trends:
1. Telemedicine is focusing on delivering care as close to patients’ homes as possible. Doing so helps ease health provider shortages and patient access issues.
2. Telemedicine is being more widely embraced by health care providers and consumers, and moving from “phase 1.0” − where urgent care was its primary use − to “phase 2.0,” where telemedicine’s true job of chronic care management can take place.
3. Telemedicine is improving through technology and partnerships within the health care community. As it does, it’s becoming a must-have technology, not just a nice accessory to a benefits plan.
For Parks’ entire article, see “Where telemedicine has been, where it’s headed.”
If you’d like even more information on this topic, or to talk about adding a telemedicine component to your employee benefits plan, please contact us.